2.026: what's in a name – ds8700
Back in April, Dave Graham had a little fun with V-Max and a couple of other products that share the same name. I got a good chuckle from his post at the time, so I thought I might recreate his idea in support (!) of today's DS8700 announcement by IBM.
In no particular order, here are several namesakes of IBM's latest enterprise-class storage wanna-bee:
DS-8700 High-speed lockstitch sewing machine
Dongsen's website description for the DS-8700 starts off with "A new generation model designed for a quiet and smooth performance," a statement that pretty much confirms that this isn't your typical storage product. And not surprisingly, there's also a knock-off version of the DS-8700 from DASU, marketed as the DS8700 (without the hyphen – how clever).
Same exact model number, with just enough visual differentiation to sidestep any legal concerns…
Servo DS 8700 G Digital-Super Graupner
The description of this clever little device could perhaps be mistaken as referencing a storage product, although it might be some sort of self-propelled device (extremely fast; high torque; robust gearbox; works with all gyro systems):
Upon closer inspection, you realize that it's a servo for controlling the tail rotor for model helicopters, and not a mobile storage platform.
dallas semiconductor ds8700
This one had me chuckling.
Like IBM's DS8000 series, the Dallas Semiconductor microprocessor programming adapter model DS8700 is (already) obsolete, though you can still find a few laying around in various second-hand stores (Google search here). I couldn't find a picture, but I bet if we all click on a few of the links in that search the component liquidators may well interpret these as a sudden resurgence of interest!
Kinda the inverse of insider trading, if you catch my drift
This one is my favorite, though: "especially for fishermen and hunters," with a compelling description:
- Available in 2 sizes
- See-Thru window graphics. You can see out. No one can see in.
- Only the designs and sizes displayed are available. No customizing of these designs.
- Generally ships in 2 business days.
- Easy to install high quality graphics
Makes you want to run to the telephone to call your IBM rep and order up a bunch, don't it?
the ibm ds-8700
There's not a lot more to say about IBM's DS8700 announcement today. A routine upgrade of processors from P5+ to P6's, a small increase in cache memory, elimination of ESCON and a switch from RIO-G to PCIe Gen 2 as the processor/IO interconnect, consolidation into a single platform that can be configured 2-way or 4-way (I'm not sure if that's a field upgradable option, though).
Sure, there are the usual claims of 50% improvement in total IOPS over the DS8300 Turbo and a 150% increase in back-end bandwidth (MB/s). And my personal favorite was the claims of "up to 2.5x performance for distinct applications."
Somehow I doubt that "distinct" is synonymous with "real world."
Or even "commonplace," for that matter.
But running the claimed numbers against observed performance in both OLTP and DSS workloads on the DS8300, and the DS8700 still falls far short of competing with the DMX4, much less V-Max.
And if indeed all this claimed performance is real, then why is the new DS8700 still limited to a maximum of only 1024 disk drives? And why no mention of Flash drives? You'd think IBM would be whooping it up if all this performance translated into meaningful value for Flash drive deployments! And the lack of any reference to Flash drive improvements over the DS8300 implies that the system is still limited to using the older STEC 73GB and 146GB drives, while DMX4 and V-Max both support the newer 200GB and 400GB drives.
CORRECTION: IBM did indeed mention flash drives in their launch materials (I just missed it). Still limited to the smaller capacity drives, as I noted above. And the 8700 is limited to a max of 256 SSDs, no RAID 6 or RAID 10. Meanwhile, V-Max supports 200GB and 400GB flash drives, has no practical limit on the number of (you can RPQ up to 2300 or so if you'd like), and you can use any RAID protection type you prefer.
Most interesting to me was that there has been no mention of anything FAST-like for the DS8K, nor any real evidence of integration of Flash into the platform at all. This silence while Master Scientist Barry Whyte is literally gushing over on his blog about the fact that the SVC is getting native SAS flash capacity to use as a local mirror to virtualized storage. Given the relative silence from DS8K land, perhaps IBM has finally shifted its focus (and its "blue dollars") away from the aged old DS8K line and over to the Intel-powered SVC?
I'll bet that's why BarryW is so obviously enthusiastic these days!
But if IBM is investing in Flash only for the SVC platform, then the DS8700 must be part of an exit strategy…a final little speed-bump to tide things over just one more tech refresh cycle.
(Probably not even interesting enough for the DASU gang to want to clone it!)