IBM System Storage N series with FlexVol and FlexClone


The Challenge: Storage systems can be costly and require complicated data management

The cost and complexity of architecting, implementing, and managing enterprise storage infrastructures can be substantial. And when the needs of the dynamic enterprise inevitably change—often quickly and even dramatically—static systems require reprovisioning, which causes disruption and increases management overhead and risk. To address this, IT organisations often must overprovision—allocating more storage resources than may actually be needed. This can prove to be very costly when these resources are not utilised, and overprovisioning often only offers temporary relief from inevitable expense and disruption. In comparison, the FlexVol™ function allows a system administrator to assign space to a user and then if the user needs it, more space can be dynamically reallocated from the pool of free space. This ability to virtualise and dynamically reallocate space allows for a more efficient use of storage space.

The tendency to rely upon overprovisioning is often compounded for operations that require replication of data processing environments and large data sets. For example, organisations that rely on large-scale simulations-for comprehensive testing, analysis, modeling, and so on—incur additional storage overhead and management costs to support these processes. Even the most robust and highly resourced static systems can be cumbersome and inflexible when handling multiple scenarios with extremely large data sets. As a result, organisations must settle for replicating just a percentage of the data, and this can limit the amount of testing and analyses that can be performed on a partial copy of the data set. The ability to virtualise and dynamically reallocate space can help provide relief from these limitations.

The solution: Virtualisation using IBM System Storage N series with FlexVol and FlexClone technology

IBM System Storage N series systems with FlexClone™ and FlexVol™ technologies enable new opportunities and ways for organisations to work and grapple with the challenges of increased overhead, management costs and data protection. IBM System Storage N series systems with FlexVol technology can help deliver solutions that support the sharing of free storage space. Using FlexVol technology, system administrators can dynamically assign storage space to a user from the available pool of storage resources based on that user's space requirements. Multiple flexible volumes can be created on a large pool of disks. This flexibility can help your organisation simplify operations, improve utilisation and efficiency, and make changes quickly.

FlexClone technology enables cloning-nearly instantaneous replication of data volumes and data sets requiring a minimal amount of additional storage space (8KB) at the time of creation. Each cloned volume is a transparent, virtual copy with pointers to the original data. As the data on the original copy changes, those changes are reflected in the FlexClone copy. The FlexClone copy can then be can used for essential enterprise operations, such as testing and bug fixing, platform and upgrade checks, multiple simulations against large data sets, remote office testing and staging while avoiding affecting the original data. FlexClone has the potential to provide substantial storage resource savings with minimal overhead. This means you can manage a wide range of data set variations that can inform and fuel your organisation's business and development objectives.

Feature Benefits
Single container for each data set
Share pools of physical disks among many data sets
Instant replication without requiring additional storage space at the time of creation
Manage more data set variations with less overhead


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Related links

Storage product guide

Browse the product guide comparing all of IBM System Storage® products