IBM System Storage N series FlexCache Software

Accelerate access to large datastores and simplify management of tiered storage

Highlights

Applications, like those for movie rendering, electronic design automation, seismic data analysis and financial simulation, use large server farms to process data. But, multiple compute nodes reading the same dataset can result in storage bottlenecks. An IBM System Storage™ N series solution with FlexCache™ automatically adapts to changing usage patterns to help eliminate bottlenecks

Speed data access across Wide Area Networks

In a distributed global enterprise, it can be difficult to be sure what data will be needed in which location. Many companies rely on replication to ensure that important datasets are available in multiple locations. Although this works well in many situations, it can be expensive in terms of infrastructure and administration costs. Delays can occur while people wait for the latest data to be replicated, and there is always the chance that work will be performed or decisions made without access to the latest information.

An IBM System Storage N series solution with FlexCache software helps address these issues. Once a file is read across the WAN into a local FlexCache volume, you can access it repeatedly at the speed of your local LAN. This works particularly well for distributed organisations involved in application development and testing in which read performance is far more important than write performance. It also works well in organisations in which users work from a variety of dispersed locations. Such users can get accelerated access to their home directories and other files no matter where they happen to be.

Using an IBM N series system with FlexCache software for remote caching, there’s no replication to manage because only the data that is actually needed gets transferred, helping reduce bandwidth costs.

Simplifying tiered storage

Tiered storage can help to reduce storage costs by storing older or infrequently accessed data on less expensive storage while maintaining a smaller pool of expensive, high-performance disks for active data. The difficulty, however, is developing policies and procedures to ensure that the right data is on the right storage at the right time.

An IBM N series system with FlexCache software can offer an alternative for environments in which read performance is the critical factor. FlexCache software can help make it easier to implement a "reverse" tiered storage architecture in which all data resides permanently on less expensive SATA disks. An N series caching systems with high-performance Fibre Channel disks dynamically stores the active working set as determined by actual usage.

For example, a media repository may contain many large audio and video files. It’s almost impossible to know which files will be frequently accessed, day to day. With An N series system using FlexCache software, the active files are automatically cached on high-performance storage for quick access and maximum efficiency without any tedious monitoring and management. As access patterns shift, older files time out of the cache and new hot files take their place.

Improve business operations

IBM N series FlexCache software is designed to address some of the most difficult data access and data management problems. If storage infrastructure suffers from frequent read bottlenecks, if there is the need to efficiently support remote access, or if there is a need for tiered storage that can automatically adjust to changing usage patterns, then FlexCache software is an ideal solution.

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