Re visiting if IBM XIV is still relevant with V7000

October 24, 2010 – 7:35 pm

Over the past couple of years I routinely get asked what I think of XIV by fans as well as foes in addition to many curious or neutral onlookers including XIV competitors, other analysts, media, bloggers, consultants as well as IBM customers, prospects, vars and business partners. Consequently I have done some blog posts about my thoughts and perspectives.

Its time again for what has turned out to be the third annual perspective or thoughts around IBM XIV and if it is still relevant as a result of the recent IBM V7000 (excuse me, I meant to say IBM Storwize V7000) storage system launch.

For those wanting to take a step back in time, here is an initial thought perspective about IBM and XIV storage from 2008, as well as the 2009 revisiting of XIV relevance post and the latest V7000 companion post found here.

What is the IBM V7000?

Here is a link to a companion post pertaining to the IBM V7000 that you will want to have a look at.

In a nut shell, the V7000 is a new storage system with built in storage virtualization or virtual storage if you prefer that leverages IBM developed software from its San Volume Controller (SVC), DS8000 enterprise system and others.

Unlike the SVC which is a gateway or appliance head that virtualizes various IBM and third party storage systems providing data movement, migration, copy, replication, snapshot and other agility or abstraction capabilities, the V7000 is a turnkey integrated solution.

By being a turnkey solution, the V7000 combines the functionality of the SVC as a basis for adding other IBM technologies including a GUI management tool similar to that found on XIV along with dedicated attached storage (e.g. SAS disk drives including fast, high capacity as well as SSD).

In other words, for those customer or prospects who liked XIV because of its management GUI interface, you may like the V7000.

For those who liked the functionality capabilities of the SVC however needed it to be a turnkey solution, you might like the V7000.

For those of you who did not like or competed with the SVC in the past, well, you know what to do.

BTW, for those who knew of Storwize the Data Footprint Reduction (DFR) vendor with real time compression that IBM recently acquired and renamed IBM Real time Compression, the V7000 does not contain any real time compression (yet).

What are my thoughts and perspectives?

In addition to the comments in the companion post found here, right now Im of the mind set that XIV does not fade away quietly into the sunset or take a timeout at the IBM technology rest and recuperation resort located on the beautiful someday isle.

The reason I think XIV will remain somewhat relevant for some time, (time to be determined of course) is that IBM has expended over the past two and half years significant resources to promote it. Those resources have included marketing time, messaging space and in some instances perhaps inadvertinly at the expense of other IBM storage solutions. Simiarly, a lot of time, money and effort have gone into business partner outreach to establish and keep XIV relevant with those commuities who in turn have gone to their customers to tell and sell the XIV story to some customers who have bought it.

Consequently or as a result of all of that investment, I would be surprised if IBM were simply to walk away from XIV at least near term.

What I do see as happening including some early indicators is that the V7000 (along with other IBM products) now will be getting equal billing, resources and promotional support. Weather this means the XIV division finally being assimilated into the mainstream IBM fold and on equal footing with other IBM products, or, that other IBM products being brought up to an elevated position of XIV is subject to interpretation and your own perception.

I expect to continue to see IBM teams and subsequently their distributors, vars and other business partners get more excited talking about the V7000 along with other IBM solutions. For example, SONAS for bulk, clustered and scale out NAS, DS8000 for high end, GMAS and Information Archive platforms as well as N and DS3K/DS4K/DS5K not to mentiuon the TS/TL backup and archive target platforms along with associated Tivoli software. Also, lets not forget about SVC among other IBM solutions including of course, XIV.

I would also not be surprised if some of the diehard XIV loyalist (e.g. sales and marketing reps that were faithful members of Moshe Yani army who appears to be MIA at IBM) pack up their bags and leave the IBM storage SANdbox in virtual protest. That is, refusing to be assimilated into the general IBM storage pool and thus leaving for Greener IT pastures elsewhere. Some will stick around discovering the opportunities associated with selling a broader more diverse product portfolio into their target accounts where they have spent time and resources to establish relationships or getting thier proverbial foot in the door.

Consequently, I think XIV remains somewhat relevant for now given all of the resources that IBM poured into it and relationships that their partner ecosystem also spent on establishing with the installed customer base.

However, I do think that the V7000 despite some confusion (here and here) around its recycled Storwize name that is built around the field proven SVC and other IBM technology has some legs. Those legs of the V7000 are both from a technology standpoint as well as a means to get the entire IBM systems and storage group energized to go out and compete with their primary nemesis (e.g. Dell, EMC, HP, HDS, NetApp and Oracle among others).

As has been the case for the past couple of years, lets see how this all plays out in a year or so from now. Meanwhile cast your vote or see the results of others as to if XIV remains relevant. Likewise, join in on the new poll below as to if the V7000 is now relevant or not.

Note: As with the ongoing is XIV relevant polling (above), for the new is the V7000 relevant polling (below) you are free to vote early, vote often, vote for those who cannot or that care not to vote.

Here are some links to read more about this and related topics:

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)
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