IBM’s Spectrum brand, in use for numerous IBM products since 2015, is set to disappear and be replaced by the more descriptive IBM Storage. The move comes as part of a wider strategy for storage services in which it will now aim for greater product integration without the need for customers to assemble diverse hardware modules.
“The challenge is to reduce the number of products in our storage catalogue, in favour of all-in-one solutions that will be easier to buy and to sell into managed services by integrators,” said Denis Kennelly, general manager of storage at IBM.
The first product in this new push will be Storage Defender, a backup appliance aimed at combatting ransomware, planned for summer release. Storage Defender combines file and virtual machine backup from Spectrum Protect, object storage backup software from Cohesity’s DataProtect, and container storage management from Spectrum Fusion, all in a flash-equipped FlashSystem storage array.
The plan is also to integrate the results of the open source Velero backup project for Kubernetes, which is heavily supported by Red Hat.
IBM said that Storage Defender will lean heavily on AI monitoring of storage equipment activity to detect things like disk errors and the presence of malware, as well as to alert administrators.
“It acts, more precisely, to detect risks on storage arrays in production and not just those that store backups,” said Brent Ellis, an analyst with Forrester Research. “With that kind of vision of events it becomes possible to use snapshots to recover operations with the briefest delay.”
“In summary, you won’t have separate systems for surveillance of cyber security and for backup,” said Christophe Bertrand of analyst ESG. “IBM is proposing a cyber-surveillance system that prevents data theft and looks after restoration in case it is destroyed.” He noted that the appliance comes with a console that can be used by cyber security and backup admins.
Multiple technologies in a single console
Analysts have applauded the integration of a number of technologies that previously would have existed in different forms of storage and would have to have been bought separately. Now, FlashSystem arrays can deal with backup and be used for production workloads – and that will include storage for containerised applications, thanks to Fusion.
“It’s quite a judicious move to bundle Cohesity into the product because it radically simplifies backup,” said Ellis. “Previously, IBM sold three products: Spectrum Protect for on-site file backup, Spectrum Protect Plus for virtual machines, and Spectrum Protect Plus Online for data in the cloud. Now, everything will be dealt with from one console.”
The new offer will also comprise Storage for Data & AI and Storage for Hybrid Cloud. The first of those will use storage from Ceph Storage for block, file and object, and IBM Storage Scale (previously Spectrum Scale) to share file and object storage over the network. The Storage Scale System, previously known as Elastic Storage System, will provide the storage hardware underpinnings.
For Hybrid Cloud, there will be hyper-converged infrastructure dedicated to Kubernetes. That will run OpenShift for compute and Fusion for storage. In this configuration, the Fusion console will optimise sharing of resources between applications, and also migrate containers as simply as possible.