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IBM FlashSystem OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

IBM FlashSystem is #2 ranked solution in top Modular SAN (Storage Area Network) tools, #3 ranked solution in top NAS tools, and #8 ranked solution in best All-Flash Storage Arrays. PeerSpot users give IBM FlashSystem an average rating of 8.4 out of 10. IBM FlashSystem is most commonly compared to Dell PowerStore: IBM FlashSystem vs Dell PowerStore. IBM FlashSystem is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 57% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 23% of all views.
IBM FlashSystem Buyer's Guide

Download the IBM FlashSystem Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2022

What is IBM FlashSystem?

IBM FlashSystem products are enterprise computer data storage systems that store data on flash memory chips. Unlike storage systems that use standard solid-state drives, IBM FlashSystem products incorporate custom hardware based on technology from the 2012 acquisition of Texas Memory Systems. This hardware provides performance, reliability, and efficiency benefits versus competitive offerings.

IBM FlashSystem was previously known as IBM Storwize.

IBM FlashSystem Customers

Celero, Friedhelm Loh Group, Clarks, Mingkang Natregro Health Food Group, Sofia, Etisalat Fights Fraud, UF Health Shands Hospital, Generali, Elecon Engineering Company Limited, Ventiv , Technology, CPFL Energia, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., SciQuest, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Paddy Power, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Interconnect Services, Severstal

IP-Only AB, PVU Group GmbH

IBM FlashSystem Video

IBM FlashSystem Pricing Advice

What users are saying about IBM FlashSystem pricing:
  • "The cost is pretty high in terms of licensing. We pay at least $100,000 USD in licensing fees for the storage."
  • "The integration is already included in the license cost of IBM FlashSystem. The integration is very easy. You get the IBM storage core with all software, firmware, and upgrades. EMC provides the features in the box, but they are not free for customers. There is a licensing cost for features. We have yearly licensing, but IBM has also provided a new option where you pay as you go. They provide a big box, and I pay, for example, for 10 terabytes. If I exceed 10 terabytes, IBM will charge for the new storage after 10 terabytes. It is a good opportunity in the market for using the storage as a cloud and paying as you go."
  • "They've been much more aggressive in the last five, six years than they were before that."
  • "The pricing may be a bit higher than other brands. If you compare the IBM FlashSystems in midrange with Dell EMC in midrange, IBM costs a bit more, but I prefer IBM because it has more specs that I can benefit from."
  • "Among IBM, Dell EMC, and Pure Storage, IBM is the cheapest. The price is also based on our location, the size of our entity, and our regular annual purchases from them. We are a very big IBM customer, so we normally get very high discounts. We are not a big customer of Pure Storage. We don't buy that much from Pure Storage per year. Everything is included in the price. There is no extra license for different functions."
  • IBM FlashSystem Reviews

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    Cloud Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Reliable and easy to configure with simple data migration capabilities
    Pros and Cons
    • "It's a mature product. It's like a BMW that evolves consistently."
    • "It is slightly more expensive, however, it all depends on your supplier."

    What is our primary use case?

    We used the solution exclusively for block storage. Over time, it added compression features and now even NVMe

    It's perfectly suited for an on-premise solution or for providing a base for cloud solutions, VMware workloads, IBM i-series, IBM AIX, IBM Power, Linux, and Windows compute. In other words, the complete server stack. It is something others actually can't offer. All of this can be operated from within the same solution. 

    It definitely has a strong plus in environments where you actually have such different server solutions in place.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It's a really reliable, powerful platform. It's a mature product. It's like a BMW that evolves consistently. 

    There is no need to change or buy another company's solution. It came with storage virtualization and options to move/migrate volumes around and migrates easily even before you actually have svMotion on VMware. 

    It can be stretched. There is a Site Recovery Adapter. It has backup integration using flash copies. You can build a disaster recovery solution around it. IBM has its famous Redbooks where you can enter in the best practices. You name it, they've got it!

    What is most valuable?

    It offers separate IO Modules for connectivity additions, for compression to offload the CPU. 

    It offers storage virtualization to ease migrations. You can build storage clusters and migrate data and easily configure partner relationships. 

    The solution offers excellent performance! Flashcopies come in handy with backup solution integrations. The site recovery adapter for VMware Site recovery manager integration is great. Everything is working like a charm. 

    I've used it in a banking environment in combination with VMware Site Recovery Manager and Site Recovery Adapter (SRA) - a wonderful combination. It saves you headaches building a recovery plan. Most of all, it works.

    What needs improvement?

    IBM's solution has come a long way and has had different milestones/features have been introduced. I would position the 7200 in the upper midrange class as it has lots of features - more than, for example, EMC Unity/VNXe. It doesn't lack anything, really. One could argue that NAS or S3 is not available to it, but I prefer other types of storage optimised for that job.

    It is slightly more expensive, however, it all depends on your supplier. Licenses are volume-based. Larger companies with more TB usually are better off as the price per TB decreases the bigger you go. I would definitely recommend this platform!

    Buyer's Guide
    IBM FlashSystem
    September 2022
    Learn what your peers think about IBM FlashSystem. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
    635,162 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've known the predecessors of the IBM Flashsystem, being the Storwize 7200 (Gen 1 to 3) and SVC Front End Servers, from the time they were running on code 6.2 way back in 2011.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have never ever had an incident with it making the infra go on its knees, nor did we have any datacorruption ever.

    All storage solutions have bugs and all have their correctives that might not address an issue on the first occurance or under all circumstances. When the system is stressed and under some specific (nonetheless rare) conditions , the developped code might trigger a reboot of a controller node  to avoid data corruption. A system with 2 controllers is resilient enough on its own and a reboot of a node to prevent e.g. cache merge problems or alike is not harmfull.

    To me, the need to evict a controller node and warm boot it is actually intentionally a safety precaution that avoids data corruption, something we all want to stay out as much as possible. It's as reliable as any other product in that respect. All solutions that I know off like DELL EMC Unity, Fujitsue DX-series or 3PAR Storeserv respond in the same manner to avoid datacorruption. I've seen it the most on the SVC (code 7.1/7.2 around 2012/2013  , but not on the  Storewize v7000 Gen1 to Gen2+ solutions, though I have to admit they all had about 40 to 50% of the load of the SVC.

     

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    You can build clusters with it and IO Groups.

    How are customer service and support?

    IBM is able to deliver a support organization with well-trained people. IBM's redpieces/papers and solutions designs are published and offer real references. You can develop your own skills and become an expert or fallback on IBM Supreme Support if you feel less comfortable. 

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We used IBM FastT/DS Storage (LSI Logic) with/without IBM SVC and IBM v7000 Gen1/Gen2/Gen3, shifting from legacy/traditional storage to storage virtualization.

    How was the initial setup?

    It's quite intuitive. I always enjoyed that, whatever operation you initiated on its Webvinterface, it generated the command, and you actually see which command is being executed. I love it! It surely helps you get acquainted with the product. The setup with many modules and ports requires some design, as on any midrange solution. You get a nice template to initiate it and off you go.

    What about the implementation team?

    I've done it myself after all the experience I've had. 

    What was our ROI?

    At the end of the lifecycle, the migrations and options you have mean that it doesn't require several storage solutions if you have mixed server solutions like Mainframe, i-Series, AIX, IBM PowerPC, VMware, Desktop Virtualisation, et cetera.

    Also, the superb integration with VMware SRM and its Site Recovery Adapter makes it a seamless solution to make your infra resilient.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It's not as expensive as HPE Storeserv, however, it is more expensive than Netapp FAS or Dell Compellent

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at the Netapp FAS all-flash series, Dell Compellent, HPE StoreServ (7200/7400, 8200/8400, and 10500), and Dell EMC VNXe/Unity

    What other advice do I have?

    It's a more complete solution and really up to mixed infrastructure and resiliency and has a lot to offer on scalability too

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Hybrid Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Other
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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    PeerSpot user
    Savera-Menezes - PeerSpot reviewer
    Head of IT Infrastructure at a insurance company with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Good performance, energy efficient with a small form factor, helpful support
    Pros and Cons
    • "The performance is very good and we use this product to enhance our core system."
    • "This product lacks some of the options we wanted. For example, expansion was difficult and it required a lot of patching to be done."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use IBM FlashSystem as part of our core system to enhance performance.

    How has it helped my organization?

    This product will improve your performance and it has helped us with that.

    Also, in prior systems where we had mechanical drives, there would have been at least a couple of drive failures. With this solution, no drive failures have been experienced so far.

    Compare to our previous system, space utilization has definitely been reduced. Our old system used two racks, whereas this solution sits in a single rack and initially took up 2Us. Post-upgrade, it is 8Us but even so, compared to what we had, it is a considerable energy saving. Also, when we upgraded, it helped us to mitigate a lot of our legacy issues present with the old hardware.

    What is most valuable?

    The performance is very good and we use this product to enhance our core system.

    The reliability is better than it is with mechanical drives.

    This is a compact system, and it has a lot of pieces built into it. For everything is included for us to be able to replicate to a DR site. 

    What needs improvement?

    This product lacks some of the options we wanted. For example, expansion was difficult and it required a lot of patching to be done. It's not a seamless process because you need to do multiple modifications or alterations. There is a lot of effort required by the customer in order to expand the hardware.

    Further expansion of our model is not feasible. As new models are released, expansion becomes difficult and you have to switch to a new model when you want to upgrade. This means that you have to migrate data between models. We want something where you can use for at least five years, where you can expand the hardware without the inconvenience of changing models. Ideally, the operating system and other applications would not be affected when expanding.

    It would be helpful if the solution had built-in safeguards against security threats and malware, such as ransomware. Anything that can be utilized to enhance data integrity would be helpful. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working with IBM FlashSystem for three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability of the IBM FlashSystem is excellent.

    There was no downtime when we patched the system, which is good because we wouldn't want our core system to go down.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    In our experience, scalability is not very easy. This may depend on our systems so it might not be universally true but definitely, for us, scalability was a problem. IBM came out with a newer version and told us that "To scale, you'll have to either switch over to a new version or buy an additional controller."

    So, scalability on that particular model was not feasible. There may be better models but the model that we purchased was not easily scaled.

    We have 800 users and there are four engineers who manage our IT products.

    We do not plan on expanding our use of this product in the future because our plan includes moving to the cloud.

    How are customer service and support?

    The IBM technical support is excellent. When we had a hardware issue, they were able to fix it within the SLA period. They have back-to-back support for resolving any hardware problems.

    When it comes to managing hardware, they're excellent.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We have worked with systems from Dell and HPE and we have found that more maintenance and patching needs to be done on products by those vendors, as compared to IBM.

    This is important to consider because if you don't have a high-availability system then you are going to end up with downtime when patches are implemented.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was complex because we had to move a lot of data from our old system to the new one. It wasn't difficult because of the hardware, but rather, due to our pre-existing setup. The fact that we had to migrate a lot of data was the source of the complexity.

    It took at least one and a half years because we had to deploy while the system was still running. At the same time, the deployment was dependent on the systems that we had running. This is why it took so long to complete.

    What about the implementation team?

    An integrator assisted us with our deployment and our experience with them was excellent. They've been supportive and they successfully helped us to migrate all of our data.

    What was our ROI?

    This product is part of our core systems, and we have definitely seen a return on investment.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The cost is pretty high in terms of licensing. We pay at least $100,000 USD in licensing fees for the storage. We have multiple types of storage, not only flash. We have the older versions of other storage and other versions of IBM flash as well.

    In addition, we have a maintenance contract for this product when the warranty support period expires.

    What other advice do I have?

    This is definitely a product I can recommend based on its performance and reliability. I don't know whether it is cost-effective compared to other similar products because we are an IBM shop from end to end. We chose IBM because the products have been well suited for our setup, and the performance and reliability are excellent.

    I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    IBM FlashSystem
    September 2022
    Learn what your peers think about IBM FlashSystem. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
    635,162 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Ahmed Zaki - PeerSpot reviewer
    Infrastructure Architect Supervisor; Solution Delivery Supervisor at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Simple licensing, good performance, and easy to use and administer
    Pros and Cons
    • "Most of the features for the reduction in data compression are useful. It is also very easy to use and administer. Its performance is also good."
    • "They can include Amazon file system S3 protocol in the upcoming releases. It is a cloud file system. IBM FlashSystem doesn't have this feature in the box for high-end or mid-range. We have got requests for this from customers because we need to use S3 for EDI application storage. At the beginning of every year, IBM releases firmware. When I find any bugs in the firmware during the year, I am unable to find any information from IBM regarding the bug. I need to open a ticket, and the IBM engineering team makes a patch only for me. This patch is not public. By creating a customized patch for a client, they don't really solve the issue for everyone. If multiple users have the same bug, IBM should upload the patch on the official website so that we can download it. IBM FlashSystem has a monitoring tool in the box, but it is not advanced. I need a more advanced tool for more advanced equations and monitoring. All top three storage vendors, that is, EMC, IBM, and Pure Storage, don't have a powerful monitoring tool. To monitor our box to show the statistics for I/Os and latency, I need to pay for extra software. The built-in monitoring storage is not mature enough to handle all requests and generate all reports that I need. They can include the functionality to stretch a cluster natively without using any additional boxes. In addition, there are some features that EMC has integrated with the box. These features are not available in IBM FlashSystem."

    What is most valuable?

    Most of the features for the reduction in data compression are useful. 

    It is also very easy to use and administer. Its performance is also good.

    What needs improvement?

    They can include Amazon file system S3 protocol in the upcoming releases. It is a cloud file system. IBM FlashSystem doesn't have this feature in the box for high-end or mid-range. We have got requests for this from customers because we need to use S3 for EDI application storage. 

    At the beginning of every year, IBM releases firmware. When I find any bugs in the firmware during the year, I am unable to find any information from IBM regarding the bug. I need to open a ticket, and the IBM engineering team makes a patch only for me. This patch is not public. By creating a customized patch for a client, they don't really solve the issue for everyone. If multiple users have the same bug, IBM should upload the patch on the official website so that we can download it.

    IBM FlashSystem has a monitoring tool in the box, but it is not advanced. I need a more advanced tool for more advanced equations and monitoring. All top three storage vendors, that is, EMC, IBM, and Pure Storage, don't have a powerful monitoring tool. To monitor our box to show the statistics for I/Os and latency, I need to pay for extra software. The built-in monitoring storage is not mature enough to handle all requests and generate all reports that I need.

    They can include the functionality to stretch a cluster natively without using any additional boxes. In addition, there are some features that EMC has integrated with the box. These features are not available in IBM FlashSystem.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using this solution for six years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is stable. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is scalable. All projects in my company use the IBM FlashSystem. I am working on high-end storage, not mid-range. I can scale out or scale up. IBM has introduced FlashSystem 9200 to the market in which I can scale SAS disk, NVMe disk, and SSCM disk. I have three options on one box, which are not available with EMC or Pure Storage.

    You can also scale out storage in EMC. In Pure Storage, there are issues in scaling. Pure Storage has different boxes like X70, X90, X50, and if I need to scale or upgrade the box, I need to change our controllers. Every Pure Storage box has limited capacity, whereas, for IBM storage, the capacity of the box is not limited.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The response of technical support is good.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have used NetApp storage and EMC storage. NetApp storage is very poor and bad. EMC is a good competitor of IBM in the market now, and in terms of the number of customers, EMC is number one. User Interface is the main big difference between IBM and EMC. IBM FlashSystem is very easy and friendly comparatively. EMC is very complicated. 

    EMC is also closed, whereas IBM FlashSystem is very open. It provides a lot of communication over the internet for administrating and implementing the storage. I am working on a customer project that has EMC storage, and the customer daily complains regarding EMC Unity or XtremIO.

    IBM is integrated with the different operating systems by a native operating system multipath. EMC works with PowerPath multipath. Until recently, EMC didn't have these features in the box, and you had to pay for a multipath license. In new technology and operating system versions of EMC, a separate multipath license is not required.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very easy.

    What about the implementation team?

    I implemented it. I have experience of ten years in implementing IBM storage. It is very easy to implement. 

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The integration is already included in the license cost of IBM FlashSystem. The integration is very easy. You get the IBM storage core with all software, firmware, and upgrades. EMC provides the features in the box, but they are not free for customers. There is a licensing cost for features.

    We have yearly licensing, but IBM has also provided a new option where you pay as you go. They provide a big box, and I pay, for example, for 10 terabytes. If I exceed 10 terabytes, IBM will charge for the new storage after 10 terabytes. It is a good opportunity in the market for using the storage as a cloud and paying as you go. 

    What other advice do I have?

    I work only on high-end storage. Before recommending a solution, I need to know about the workload, that is, application workload, backup workload, and database workload. IBM provides a free workload script that can be applied to any environment, such as Windows, Unix, or Linux. I need to see the I/O performance, and after which, I can provide the best solution for a customer from Pure Storage, EMC, or IBM. 

    I would rate IBM FlashSystem a nine out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    PeerSpot user
    Director Technical at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Reliable protection that is easy to scale with no limitations
    Pros and Cons
    • "Over the years, it has become increasingly user-friendly."
    • "The customer's expectations are what they get on the cloud, they're expecting even in the on-premises deployments, going forward."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are solution providers. We deploy solutions around VMware. Typically we deploy data protection, and disaster recovery of workloads in the cloud, and on-premises.

    If I need to know about a platform or the base platform on which I'm working, I try to read up on their model. We are also storage integrators and solution providers.

    The primary use case is for storage, enterprise workloads, and databases.

    What is most valuable?

    The V5000, and the V7000, both are equally good.

    Over the years, it has become increasingly user-friendly.

    What needs improvement?

    There is always room for improvement, but IBM is less interested in on-premise storage or on-premises solutions going forward. 

    They're highly focused on the cloud. I don't see IBM being a very major player, the way that they used to be because they are moving away from this and are trying to move all their customers to the cloud.

    Nothing really comes to mind for needing improvement. Some years ago, there would have been an answer to what could be better about this product, but nowadays, virtually all of the companies are meeting all of the features.

    More and more, we would like to see how it's easier for the solutions to be bought by the customer more on a pay-per-use basis. That is certainly an improvement.

    The customer's expectations are what they get on the cloud, they're expecting even in the on-premises deployments, going forward. 

    They want to pay-per-use and not own and get stuck with what they're buying. 

    They want flexibility.

    IBM does that in a few products, but then more and more you see the business model changing towards that. We'd like to see that in all IBM products.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been a services and deployment company for more than 30 years.

    We've worked across the board with the various solutions across various vendors.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's very, very stable, and we have never had issues.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It's extremely scalable. There are no limitations, because of the profile of the customers they work with. 

    Most of their boxes are highly scalable to meet that requirement and the scaling is pretty straightforward. 

    There's no rip and replace. It's a very scalable tool.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Previously, I had experience with Hitachi SAN.

    The suitability of either solution depends on the use case. If you talk about modular storage virtually from any company, they will have solutions which more or less do the same thing. 

    There will be a competing model at each bracket of requirements. When you talk about storage hardware, you can't really say which is better, or which is worse. 

    You can talk about reliability and support, or you can talk about how good it is in a particular geography. But, this is not like Mercedes Benz is a good car and the Fiat is not, it doesn't work like that.

    How was the initial setup?

    We find the initial setup to be fairly straightforward because we understand the technology.

    We do this as service delivery, so we understand that we have trained ourselves in it.

    It can take half a day to get the initial things up and running.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    In today's world, nothing is reasonable because the customer's budgets are thinking on a daily basis. 

    They've been much more aggressive in the last five or six years than they were before that.

    They are more realistic.

    What other advice do I have?

    My basic advice is to work with partners who really understand what they're talking about. Anybody who sells one of these boxes doesn't necessarily have the capability to supply or support them. Be very clear that you're dealing with organizations that have the experience to actually deploy and support you. 

    That would be what is critical. Because it's not something that we just rack it up and switch it on and it works. There are many things involved. 

    Also, initially, before purchasing, the sizing is very critical. There has to be enough time spent on performance metrics, analyzing the workload requirements, and things like that.

    Before the purchase and after the purchase and the deployment, there needs to be quite a bit of involvement. This is why I would advise the customer to work with partners of IBM or Hitachi. 

    Whoever you're talking about, and who has experience. Not somebody who just comes and says, "I'll do anything, and for the price, I'll give you the best deal." 

    The best deal is not always the best deal. 

    Once you buy it and it doesn't work for you, ultimately you are paying more.

    I would rate IBM XIV and eight out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
    PeerSpot user
    Moahmed Nabil - PeerSpot reviewer
    Infrastructure Solutions Architect at areebah
    Real User
    Top 20
    Easy to use and configure
    Pros and Cons
    • "One of the most valuable features is that it's very easy to use and configure. It used to be more difficult, but now it's almost flawless."
    • "The pricing could be improved, but I think it's getting better and better with each version. IBM needs to implement NAS storage again, as this is a big flaw. Dell EMC is very good at this and if you compared them based on NAS storage, Dell EMC would win right away. IBM's solution for NAS storage is very complicated. We don't have a storage box that provides file sharing from itself, we have to put software on it and go through a whole complicated process. It should be simplified."

    What is our primary use case?

    The general use cases depend on the size of a company. I work with the commercial sector, the FlashSystem 5000 and its different models. It suits the small to medium, or SME, companies. The FlashSystem 9200 goes mainly to big enterprises, like banking or governmental sectors. The 7200 plays sometimes in SME and sometimes in bigger enterprises. 

    What is most valuable?

    One of the most valuable features is that it's very easy to use and configure. It used to be more difficult, but now it's almost flawless. 

    What needs improvement?

    The pricing could be improved, but I think it's getting better and better with each version. 

    IBM needs to implement NAS storage again, as this is a big flaw. Dell EMC is very good at this and if you compared them based on NAS storage, Dell EMC would win right away. IBM's solution for NAS storage is very complicated. We don't have a storage box that provides file sharing from itself, we have to put software on it and go through a whole complicated process. It should be simplified. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working with IBM FlashSystem for around seven years. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's really stable, and many customers have experienced this as well. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It's easy to scale, but it depends on the model. The 5100 is obsolete, but the 5200 has line expansions, up to two controllers, and can scale out both ways. The 7000 and 9000 can scale to 20 expansions and four controllers. It's very scalable, both horizontal and vertical. 

    How are customer service and support?

    I believe the second line and third line are very responsive here. It depends on the customer's warranty level, if it's 9x5—it can't be like 24x7, which is immediately. 

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    IBM has some features that don't exist in other brands. External virtualization, for example—Dell EMC has the same feature, but it's applied differently. IBM's approach is to make it usable in many different scenarios so that the customer can work with multiple vendors under the IBM controller. Dell EMC can't do that. The external virtualization stacks with Dell EMC, and the features stack to every box. If I have a main box with high specs and I virtualize another box with minimum specs, that means I'm stuck with the minimum specs. With IBM, if I'm working with the virtualization engine with higher specs, I get the benefits from these higher specs, even if the virtualized box has minimum specs.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is very straightforward and user-friendly. The FlashSystem 5000 can be deployed in around 20 to 30 minutes, but it depends on the number of volumes and the tools we set up afterward. On average, it can be installed and initiated within an hour, including microcode updating. If you calculate from the time I begin unpacking to the time I start to configure volumes, it will not exceed around 45 minutes. 

    What about the implementation team?

    I implemented myself. 

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The pricing may be a bit higher than other brands. If you compare the IBM FlashSystems in midrange with Dell EMC in midrange, IBM costs a bit more, but I prefer IBM because it has more specs that I can benefit from. 

    Two years ago, we had all features installed in the midrange box without any need for extra licensing. However, lately we have features like Easy Tier and FlashCopy, which need extra licensing. We can purchase it with the box or afterward, and it's a smooth process. 

    What other advice do I have?

    In my experience, IBM doesn't need maintenance at all. Every year, there is a microcode update to get a new feature or fix a bug, but I know some customers who have had the box for more than five or six years without updating it and it still runs well. 

    To anyone who's looking into implementing IBM FlashSystem, I would advise you to read the instructions on the box. If you follow the instructions, implementation will be very smooth and easy, even if you're not a professional. 

    I would rate this product a ten out of ten. 

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    PeerSpot user
    Storemgr67 - PeerSpot reviewer
    Storage Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    Good compression and deduplication features, good price, and stable
    Pros and Cons
    • "The compression and deduplication features are the most valuable."
    • "They can improve its initial configuration. The initial configuration is currently very difficult. There are multiple choices or alternative ways to configure based on the use case and what you are targeting out of the device, that is, more capacity or more performance. These multiple alternatives cause a lot of confusion. They should increase the processing part of the nodes. Currently, you can cluster up to eight nodes. From my experience and the workload that I am facing in my environment currently, I would like to see either a bigger or stronger node or a larger number of nodes that can be clustered together. We formally communicated to them that we need to see either this or that, and they are working on something."

    What is our primary use case?

    It is block storage. We basically use it for the storage units.

    What is most valuable?

    The compression and deduplication features are the most valuable. 

    What needs improvement?

    They can improve its initial configuration. The initial configuration is currently very difficult. There are multiple choices or alternative ways to configure based on the use case and what you are targeting out of the device, that is, more capacity or more performance. These multiple alternatives cause a lot of confusion.

    They should increase the processing part of the nodes. Currently, you can cluster up to eight nodes. From my experience and the workload that I am facing in my environment currently, I would like to see either a bigger or stronger node or a larger number of nodes that can be clustered together. We formally communicated to them that we need to see either this or that, and they are working on something.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using this solution for 14 to 15 months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    If you set it up correctly, it is very stable. After we configured it correctly, we didn't have any issues. I didn't have any issues after the first week of the configuration.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We haven't scaled it yet, but based on the documentation and specification, it is actually scalable.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I have been in touch with IBM support, and I did it a lot. Normally, they respond within an acceptable time with a sufficiently detailed answer. Around 90% of the time, you will get the answer straight back. In some rare cases, you need to ask them more. You send them a mail asking to clarify something or get more details about how to do a specific task, but normally, they provide a satisfactory answer.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We are a very large bank, and we have a lot of storage devices from multiple vendors. We have devices from Dell EMC, NetApp, and Pure Storage. Every product has its advantages and disadvantages. 

    If you are targeting functionality, we get the most functionality from IBM FlashSystem, and then from Pure Storage, and then from Dell EMC boxes. If you are targeting performance, then Dell EMC will come first, then IBM FlashSystem, and then Pure Storage. If you are targeting compression deduplication that will generate more capacity, then Pure Storage will come at number one, IBM FlashSystem will come at number two, and Dell EMC will come at number three.

    How was the initial setup?

    Its initial configuration is difficult. We went through the books and manuals, but we didn't do it correctly. Therefore, we had to start again from scratch. It took two or three attempts to do it correctly. 

    What about the implementation team?

    We implemented it on our own. My team is managing all of the storage devices that we have, and there are six of us. IBM is responsible for its maintenance.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Among IBM, Dell EMC, and Pure Storage, IBM is the cheapest. The price is also based on our location, the size of our entity, and our regular annual purchases from them. We are a very big IBM customer, so we normally get very high discounts. We are not a big customer of Pure Storage. We don't buy that much from Pure Storage per year.

    Everything is included in the price. There is no extra license for different functions.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would advise others to get somebody to do it for you. Don't do it yourself, or read the book carefully. Our implementation was complicated, so we ended up doing it multiple times. Other colleagues I know in other institutes have much smaller systems than the one we bought. They implemented it in four hours. So, for complex and big implementations, either get an expert to do it for you or read the documentation multiple times before you start, which we didn't.

    I would rate IBM FlashSystem an eight out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    Ghulam Mustafa - PeerSpot reviewer
    BT Area Champion/Trainer at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Reliable and robust with good scalability
    Pros and Cons
    • "The power systems are very reliable if you are running 24/7 operations. For ongoing mission-critical applications, it's the best solution."
    • "IBM should improve its data reduction development."

    What is our primary use case?

    We are living in IBM FlashSystem. We have more than eight flash storage devices deployed in our environment for different kinds of workloads such as applications, core systems, core banking applications, et cetera. 

    What is most valuable?

    Overall, the product is good. 

    We've been using it for the last five years, and we haven't had any issues at all. 

    The power systems are very reliable if you are running 24/7 operations. For ongoing mission-critical applications, it's the best solution. 

    We have been using the V9000 storage for the last five years. It's been very reliable. It's robust from a redundancy and reliability point of view. 

    What needs improvement?

    Recently, we deployed SS9100. At the core level that is deployed on that storage, it is not stable. We had an incident not too long ago. Both controllers rebooted simultaneously, within 15 seconds. There was some threshold value defined in the core level, and the system exceeded that threshold value. 

    We logged the case to IBM. IBM did internal checks, which we deployed. The permanent fix will be available in the first quarter of 2021. It seems to be an issue on IBM's side. Obviously, we were surprised by how both controllers rebooted. We faced downtime on our applications and on our services. 

    The issue which we had recently faced relates to the core level. It should be first tested at IBM labs and then introduced for general release.

    IBM should improve its data reduction development.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    Overall, I have 14 years of experience in implementing enterprise solutions, and also managing them. We've been using IBM Flash Storage for the last five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    While the 9000 series has been robust and reliable, the SS9100 hasn't been so stable. IBM is currently working on a patch that should be out soon to handle the issues we've had.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The solution is quite scalable. A company can expand it if they need to.

    We are a financial institution with two million customers. This is the storage we use behind all of our solutions.

    While we don't plan to expand usage in the near future, we have recently acquired new storage solutions for an upcoming upgrade.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have experience with a variety of other solutions. On storage, I have experience with IBM FlashSystem, IBM block storage, Dell EMC, block storage VMAX, VNX5600, and unified storage. Also, I have experience with Huawei storage, like Dorado and OceanStor. I've also worked on HPE Enterprise Virtual Array.

    If you're talking about flash storage, we have FlashSystem IBM V9000, SS910091, 9200. On cloud storage, we have VMAX 10K, 20K. On unified storage, we have VNX5600 EMC.

    We required a homogenous environment that's end to end. We chose to use IBM. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is not overly complex. IBM makes the process very smooth. It's very straightforward and quite easy to accomplish. A company shouldn't have any issues with the setup process.

    What about the implementation team?

    A company could benefit from bringing on a reseller or consultant. They could help with the process.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    When we procure enterprise storage solutions, the license is always be bundled with the deal. There are different licenses for encryption, replication, deduplication, data reduction pools, et cetera, and all should be included in one bundle when we buy a new solution. It's part of that deal.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are a customer and end-user.

    We are using the V9000, and currently, we have deployed SS9100.

    This is a financial Institute. As per regulatory compliance, we cannot share our customer data. We keep our confidential customer data on the cloud that is deployed on-premises.

    Overall, we have been happy with the solution. I would rate it at a nine out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    Abdullah Mahmood - PeerSpot reviewer
    Network and System Administrator at TWD Technologies Ltd.
    Real User
    Top 10
    User-friendly with good documentation and the capability to scale
    Pros and Cons
    • "We've found the solution to be very stable so far."
    • "The design is a little old-fashioned and could be updated. The rack is very primitive and designed in an older style."

    What is our primary use case?

    The solution is primarily a file infrastructure. It contains all the virtual machines for our company.

    What is most valuable?

    The solution is still new to us and needs to be explored more.

    The documentation is excellent so far. 

    The solution uses all flash. The connection to the server is a fiber connection. It's very fast. 

    The possibility of expanding is very good. It offers very good flexibility.

    The price point is pretty decent. 

    The product is user-friendly. The setup process is easy.

    We've found the solution to be very stable so far.

    What needs improvement?

    We need to spend more time with the solution in order to detect any shortcomings. So far, we haven't really seen any.

    The design is a little old-fashioned and could be updated. The rack is very primitive and designed in an older style. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've only been using the solution for two months. It hasn't been that long just yet. It could be maybe less than that, as we just recently installed it and we decided to go for it about three months back. About one and a half months ago the implementation was completed and we started using it.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability of the solution is very good. We haven't detected any bugs or glitches. it doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The solution has the potential to scale quite well. If a company needs to expand it, it can.

    However, it is a hardware, and you do need to take scaling into account early on. We can grow with the hardware we have and put on new drives, et cetera.

    We have approximately 200 employees, and anyone that's connected to the network, those files are stored on this particular solution. Therefore, even if they aren't aware they are using the product, they, in fact, are.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Personally, I haven't directly dealt with technical support. That said, apparently, it looks like it is quite good. The support is proactive. My system is already connected to IBM tech centers. They can highlight predictive failures, for example. My assumption is that they are quite good, although I can't yet peak from personal experience.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We previously used Dell EqualLogic. We switched, as we had used it for close to six years and it needed to be replaced. Initially, we thought to replace it with another Dell EqualLogic product, however, after comparing different brands, we landed on this.  

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is definitely not complex. It's not difficult. They make it straightforward and user-friendly. A company should have no problems implementing it.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The price is quite good. We find it to be rather reasonable overall. When you compare it to other brands especially, the price is quite good.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did look at other solutions, including and updated Dell EqualLogic and HPE.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are just a customer and an end-user.

    We are using the latest version of the solution at this point.

    I'd recommend the solution. Everything is fiber from start to finish. I don't need to use a fiber switch. It's an expensive component. However, IBM says I don't need it and I can do I direct line from my own source. It's a supported solution. It's very good.

    I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten so far.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free IBM FlashSystem Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
    Updated: September 2022
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free IBM FlashSystem Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.