What do storage systems do in the pharmacy?
Storage systems in the pharmacy
Pharmacy = high prices
Storage systems and pharmacies actually have more in common than you might initially think. Both exist, at least to some extent, in a regulated market environment. In the cliché, a pharmacy is primarily considered expensive. The same applies to IBM when it comes to IT solutions.
Admittedly, this cliché is not entirely undeserved, since IBM has been producing mainframes and midrange systems technology for decades, which are associated with a certain price level due to high quality requirements and deep integration of hardware and software.
Regarding storage systems, however, this set of beliefs exists unjustly. This is not only because IBM invented the hard disk (in 1956 – model IBM 350) and thus has a slight development edge over all market rivals. It is mainly due to the fact that IBM is continuously making very high research and development efforts in this technology area. As a result, new technologies can generally be launched before all competitors and produced more quickly and at lower cost. Transparent failover in the entry-level segment, Storage Class Memory modules in professional SAN storage systems or NVMe-based systems on just one rack unit (1U) are just a few examples.
Process steps of Research & Development
This is one of the reasons why IBM has been offering storage systems with industry-leading technology at an extremely attractive price level for many years. We can report this from our very own experience, as we have recently implemented numerous storage projects for organizations in a wide range of industries, where we were often competed with IBM against various solutions from other vendors. With “pharmacy prices” we would typically have had no chance.
Data is the new oil
Data is the driver of digital transformation. Whether ERP applications, big data analyses or machine learning: data-driven business processes are becoming increasingly important.
This is associated with a rapidly growing volume of data, which poses new challenges for the storage concepts and storage strategies of companies and other organizations. Availability and speed are essential and the decisive success factors for digital process sequences.
Storage systems with high performance, large capacities and an attractive TCO (total cost of ownership) are essential to “mine” the new treasure. All-flash arrays meet these requirements particularly well. On the one hand, they enable the management of increasing data volumes. On the other hand, the technology is an important component of an agile and flexible IT infrastructure in the environment of today.
Pump system for data - the new oil
Buy storage with open eyes
Keep your eyes open
Choose wisely when deciding on all-flash storage: Not all flash is the same! The modules used in the various systems often differ significantly in terms of capacity, performance and endurance.
This can explain large price differences, among other things. Many vendors use SSDs (Solid State Drives). Devices with these drives should actually be called all-SSD arrays, but they are often advertised as all-flash arrays. This is inaccurate, misleading, technically wrong – and can lead to unpleasant surprises in practical use. Low-priced offers, that look reasonable at first glance, often only provide a limited level of performance. For example, SSD systems are considerably slower than all-flash arrays in terms of response times. Therefore, you should check carefully before buying whether flash memory modules are actually installed in the planned all-flash array – and not SSDs.
In the NVMe-based systems, for example, IBM also offers – in addition to industry-standard SSDs and Storage Class Memory (SCM) disks – the self-developed FlashCore Modules (FCM). These modules not only offer particularly low latency times, but are also designed for enormous endurance and also offer data compression without any performance penalty for the overall system due to the FPGA chips integrated in the data path.
IBM FlashCore Module
Since the market launch of the IBM FlashCore modules (now in the 3rd generation), there has not been a single failure due to reaching the write capacity threshold – with any customer. This is unique in the flash market. With share of 90% of IBM Flash capacities installed in 2020, the quality and reliability of this technology speaks for itself and is highly recommended. IBM FlashCore modules are available up to a native capacity of 38.4TB per module, while allowing up to 115TB per module of logical storage capacity to be used. This enables unprecedented data density and significantly saves space, especially for larger data volumes.
Availability is the winning hand
Single storage systems at IBM are consistently designed for an availability of 99.9999%. Almost all IBM FlashSystem storage systems can perform the “HyperSwap”, a synchronous data mirroring with transparent failover between two systems, for even better resilience. Under certain circumstances, IBM even guarantees an availability of 100%.
A winning hand
In addition, to implement geo-redundant disaster recovery scenarios, further data replication to a third site can be performed, running asynchronously. IBM FlashSystem arrays can serve a wide variety of deployments, whether supporting bare-metal servers, virtualized environments or container platforms – or all at the same time. All models offer a native container storage interface for Red Hat OpenShift as the foundation of new workloads and an integration capability with Ansible for managment and automation.
Commercially it just makes sense
Friendship ends when it comes to money. This is where the true professionals have to prove themselves. Today, professional buyers look far beyond simple acquisition costs – and this is precisely where IBM’s FlashSystem models, in addition to their outstanding technical capabilities, play to their strengths and impressively dismiss the rumor of the “pharmacy of IT” into the realm of fairy tales and myths.
IBM FlashSystem storage systems consistently offer
- low acquisition costs,
- inexpensive maintenance renewals,
- few operating costs (space footprint, power consumption, cooling requirements), and
- high service levels (SLAs) for maintenance services, including guaranteed repair within 24 hours in case of defects – for some systems even within 6 hours.
Piggy bank is well filled
The ability to transparently expand the internal storage with cloud resources and to monitor and permanently optimize the data systems using artificial intelligence means that hybrid cloud scenarios can be implemented in addition to pure “on premise” use at the organization’s own location. “Future-proof” is already built in.
In our assessment, IBM is the market’s technology leader AND price leader at the same time with the FlashSystem storages. We can therefore confidently confirm that storage systems absolutely belong to this “pharmacy”!
The blue boat is gaining an edge
Further details and background information on the current series of IBM storage systems and on the individual models – IBM FlashSystem 5015 – IBM FlashSystem 5045 – IBM FlashSystem 5200 – IBM FlashSystem 7300 – IBM FlashSystem 9500 – are compiled here (only available in German – should you require this information in English, please get in touch).
By: Jan Dittel
– Pharmacy board with storage systems: Marco2811 / stock.adobe.com und ibm.com (edited)
– Steps of research & development: j-mel / stock.adobe.com
– Oil pump: pickup / stock.adobe.com (edited)
– Eyes: ssstocker / stock.adobe.com (edited)
– IBM FlashCore Module: ibm.com
– Cards: Kasia Biel / stock.adobe.com
– Piggy bank: Rattanachat / stock.adobe.com (edited)
– Boats: fotomek / stock.adobe.com
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