IBM Storage: More Data

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IBM is announcing more then 30 new or upgraded products or services that are the result of a $2 billion investment over the last three years involving thousands of IBM researchers and eight acquisitions of data storage start-ups. Even as the economy slows and businesses move to slash spending on computers and network gear, sales of storage will continue to spiral -- at least until someone invents a way for companies to stop collecting so much data, analysts say.

IBM Storage: Squeezing In More Data

"At some level IBM is announcing the latest, greatest versions of products that have been around quite a while," said Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT Research. It is also showing off really interesting next-generation capabilities."

Seeking to show it can cut the costs of storing massive amounts of data, IBM is demonstrating new technology from its January acquisition of XIV using solid-state memory instead of disk-drives or magnetic tape now used to store data.

The transition from disk drives to flash-memory has begun to occur in consumer electronics, but IBM's announcement suggests that solid state storage -- memory with no moving parts -- is becoming cost effective in big business storage.

"This is the industry's first stab at big solid state storage," Ryder said. "If you don't have spindles and disks, you have no parts to fail and you can use less power."

And it is incorporating the latest data "deduplication" technology that eliminates the need to keep many copies of the same information, a move that promises to help customers save vastly more information in the same amount of office space.

Making use of software and hardware it acquired by buying Diligent Technologies in April, IBM said the deduplication technology can reduced redundant data by up to 25 to 1.

Deduplication joins storage virtualization, another technique that IBM and it rivals are promoting to increase the usage of existing storage equipment while making it easier to manage and cutting energy usage.

Companies are running out of room in existing data centers to store these growing piles of information.

IBM is offering a high-density tape storage library system that uses robotic arms to locate and read archival data tapes that holds three times more cartridges in the same floor space. Businesses can store up to three petabytes, or quadrillion bits, of data in 10 square feet of floor space, it said.

To secure this data, the company also is offering systems with automatic data encryption that take advantage of disk supplier Seagate Technology's (STX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) encrypted hard drives.

This article was originally published on 2008-09-08
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