For Storage end users, the advent of the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) protocol simply validates the vision and engineering objectives IBM has pursued for decades.

IBM FlashCore® technology and its precursors have been providing ultra-low latency data storage for over 30 years. More recently, IBM solutions such as the Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) and the new IBM zHyperLink™ technology demonstrate that there has been plenty of IBM focus on ultra-low latency storage.

And starting last year, IBM has regularly been announcing significant innovation and development within the NVMe arena itself:
May 2017: IBM announced its NVMe strategy based on optimizing the entire storage system stack, from applications requiring the data to flash technology to store it.
December 2017: IBM exhibited a technology preview and demonstration with the integration of IBM POWER9 Systems and IBM FlashSystem 900 using NVMe over InfiniBand.
February 2018: IBM will announce NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-F) capabilities for IBM FlashSystem 900, IBM Spectrum Accelerate, and IBM Spectrum Virtualize families.

The bottom line: IBM is committed to providing end-to-end support for NVMe, to prepare our customers for the future.

Effective today you can start taking advantage of IBM NVMe capabilities. You can deploy our storage systems today with the confidence that support for the new protocol is already engineered into them, or will be enabled by software upgrades soon to be released:
• Today, IBM is announcing availability this quarter for NVMe-oF for Infiniband for specifically designed IBM FlashSystem 900 all-flash arrays.
• IBM FlashSystem A9000/A9000R, IBM FlashSystem V9000, IBM Storwize V7000, IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC), and IBM FlashSystem 900 are already hardware-ready for NVMe over Fibre Channel, with full new capabilities to be later unlocked by software.
• IBM FlashSystem V9000, IBM Storwize V7000, and IBM SVC are already hardware-ready for NVMe over Ethernet, again with significant additional capabilities soon to be unlocked by our software-defined storage enhancements.

There’s a powerful reason by NVMe-based technologies and solutions are attracting so much attention these days – better business. The latest FutureScape study just released from leading analyst firm IDC states: “With the speed of business proceeding at a rapid pace, real-time analysis and response will become a necessary capability… By 2020, 60–70% of Fortune 2000 companies will have at least one mission-critical workload that leverages real-time big data analytics…

The study goes on to note that leveraging real-time analytics will provide enterprises with unprecedented capabilities to spot new market opportunities and drive deeper understanding of how to take advantage of them. NVMe helps technologies used in real-time analytics such as Apache Spark, SAP HANA, and NoSQL data stores more fully exploit the microsecond latency provided by all-flash arrays. It reduces I/O overhead between CPUs and storage, resulting in performance improvements compared to previous interfaces such as SCSI that were originally developed for use with far slower hard disk drives.

“The day that NVMe-oF storage is launched by a major vendor, without compromises in management functionality, will be a historic day in storage. Users will experience a step-change in performance, directly addressing the IO and throughput issues that are almost pervasive in major datacenters” Nick Sundby, IDC Consulting Director, European Storage

The IBM strategy for ultra-low latency storage solutions and for NVMe in particular is clear – provide IBM Storage customers with the widest range of solutions possible to help them modernize and transform their IT infrastructures and their businesses.

It’s a strategy of performance. And we’ve already been moving toward it for years. To learn more, visit https://www.ibm.com/storage/flash.

For complete information about the IBM Storage announcements on February 20, see our blog.

IBM developerWorks: IBM DS8880 zHyperLinks gives low latency access to storage, April 2017
IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Enterprise Infrastructure 2018 Predictions, October 2017, IDC #US43137417
NVMe over Fibre Channel for Dummies, Wiley Brand Brocade special edition 2017 ISBN: 978-1-119-39970-4

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