Storage Optimization Made Easy with IBM Real-time Compression and Easy Tier

Posted by Mark Rabin

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1/24/14 11:00 AM

Statistics about disk storage growth are everywhere. 

Depending on who you're talking to you might hear “Global disk storage is growing 40 percent per year” or “Enterprise disk demand is increasing by 50 percent per year.”  Well in the real world of our clients the number may not be quite that high, but it is certainly growing in the double digits.  While the cost of technology keeps dropping, the cost of storage is still increasing as capacity growth demands exceed price reductions.  And the energy costs of storage are not to be discounted.  To get a clear idea of cost start with the price of the disk drive, add in housing the drive (in a storage array or SAN), then add maintenance, energy costs to run and cool the drive, and it adds up quickly.  The fully loaded cost of a disk drive could be around $1,500 to more than $3,000 per drive over a 3 year period. 


What if you could store three to five times as much data on each disk drive? 

In an environment with 25 TB of data, that could produce a savings of 25 to 50 percent in the total cost of storage.  What if you could place your high volume data on fast disk and then automatically move it to high-capacity, more cost efficient disk when that data is not in high demand?  That could further reduce the disk drive requirement by 20 percent or more.  Combine the two and most environments could reduce their disk drive footprint by close to 60 percent!  This is exactly what IBM delivered in their RealTime Compression and Easy Tier technologies in the mid-market V5000 and V7000 Storage Area Networks.  IBM has installed thousands of these IBM SANs with great success.  The ease-of-use of these technologies means that our clients do not need a full time SAN administrator to benefit from the significant cost savings of a much denser storage strategy with high optimization.

Unlike deduplication technologies, RealTime Compression allows the data to be compressed in-line within the storage device with nominal impact on performance.  Not only can unstructured data, like email and office documents, be compressed; but database tables with low to moderate activity can also be compressed with no negative impact on performance.  EasyTier automatically places data on disk or SSDs to match the I/O demands being placed on the data.  In most environments, data reaches a point where it is no longer accessed on a regular basis.  EasyTier moves inactive data to higher-density, lower cost disk drives automatically to reduce the cost of keeping that data online.  If the data is later accessed frequently, EasyTier moves it back to high-speed disk to provide good performance.

Now combine RealTime Compression with EasyTier and you can maintain large data archives on far less disk, with little or no impact to performance, at far lower cost, with no administrative overhead.  That is a Win-Win-Win! 

Obviously I believe this technology can be greatly beneficial, so if you have further interest or questions TamGroup can help you quantify the cost-benefit of this new disk technology as well as help you understand the direct cost savings you can realize. Just visit our contact page and let us know you’d like more information!

For a visual overview of the technology and its benefits the following videos may be helpful:


And for those of you interested in a more in-depth technical overview of the technology here you go:

Implementing IBM Easy Tier with IBM Real-time Compression


Topics: Core Infrastructure, IBM