Is IBM XIV still relevant?

November 23, 2009 – 7:52 pm
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That is a question I get asked quite a bit and based on discussions in other blogs and twitter tweets; it appears that Im not alone.

A little over a year ago I did a blog post about IBM and XIV, now seems like a good time to revisit, look back and look forward.

Is IBM XIV still relevant?

Given the time, money as well as effort IBM has poured into promoting and generating awareness around XIV, it must be relevant to someone.

IBM recently released another round of momentum news, customer testimonials and product enhancements while making a point that there are now over 1,000 XIV systems installed around the world. 1,000 systems installed (regardless of if revenue or trial) in the just under 2 years since IBM bought XIV would be a triumph for most startups.

However for a major player with the resources of IBM, I would have expected the number of installed systems to be more in the 5,000 to perhaps 10,000 systems when looking at the progress of Dell (EqualLogic), HP (LeftHand) or others.

Now granted, XIV is not IBMs only storage solution focus as there is the high-end DS8000 series, mid-range DS5000/DS4000/DS3000, NAS based N-Series, SVC for SAN virtualization, DR550 for archiving not to mention the TS series of virtual tape systems (VTS) and virtual tape libraries (VTLs) including the Diligent based technologies.

Ok, fair enough, good job for IBM in placing 1,000 XIV systems in just under two years.

Another trend I regularly see is that of an approach of if you are not on the XIV bandwagon, that is not in love with their message, then you are against it with no room in between.

However, are these successes at the expense of other IBM storage solutions being placed?

The reason I bring this up is in discussions, I regularly hear stories where XIVs competition is not only 3PAR, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, HDS, HP, NetApp or Sun among others, its also IBMs other products, those with five or six digit installed bases being targeted.

Im continually amazed when I talk with XIV prospects along with vars who have either not been told about other IBM products, or, provided with apples to oranges comparison as well as even FUD against its own solutions.

Does this mean that Im against XIV?

Die hard XIV believers will say yes to which I will respond, ok fine if that is what you believe.

However to everyone else, I also say look before you leap as well as checkout alternatives from others include IBM, not to mention being careful of the possible hangover from drinking too much cool aid.

To everyone else, give XIV a look; however as with any solution, do your due diligence, ask tough questions along with talking to others.

As to the long term future of XIV, given all of the money and marketing effort that has been put into it, I don’t see it going away near-term. However, Im still on the fence as to its long term future and if it might join other IBM storage solutions in the holding pen such as the DS6000.

Would I recommend XIV to IT customers?

What I tell those that I talk to is due your homework regarding XIV, ask tough questions including asking about other or alternative IBM products, where they fit and their caveats as you would do with any other vendor.

I do believe that IBM storage in general is still very relevant.

I think that IBM has some great storage and data management solutions.

I think that IBM needs to take the blinders off or at least take the ropes off, remove the fences and let their teams and vars sell the whole solution set letting the customer decide perhaps in the course growing their storage business instead of helping their competitors.

Is IBM XIV still relevant?

Bottom line, I probably wont be getting any holiday cards from many IBM or XIV folks along with some of their die hard supporters, however it is what it is and I have said what I have to say for now while continuing to listening as well as following the progress of the solution.

Ultimately you will be the judge of if XIV is still relevant, cast your vote here.

Here are some additional resource links:

https://www-304.ibm.com/partnerworld/wps/pub/overview/B8S0A
http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/sg247659.html
http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/storage/disk/xiv/
https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/InsideSystemStorage/entry/ibm_acquires_xiv?lang=en

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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