XIV's storage system, Nextra, was based on a grid of standard hardware components. Nextra's self-healing, self-tuning, and dynamic scaling capabilities gave IBM new technology to address the growing requirements for high-performance storage for digital archives, digital media, and Web 2.0 applications.
IBM released its first version of the XIV Storage System in August 2008. Since that time, IBM said it has shipped more than 4,500 XIV systems.
At the time of its release, some criticized the XIV storage system, saying it lacked high-end features and was targeted at a very narrow group of users. For example, IBM's literature on the XIV didn't specify whether it really had a clustered controller design that offered more than two active controllers on a storage volume and synchronized the cache across all active controllers. The XIV came in only one configuration with 180 SATA drives, had no data replication capabilities and couldn't tier data across multiple drive types.
Cancilla said the XIV has a grid architecture to allow performance to grow as disks are added, and he said the simple configuration of the array was designed to make set up and management simpler. "Granted, when we came out with it, people called it a tier 1.5 instead of a tier 1 array," he said. "But now it is a tier 1."
While the array still does not migrate data across multiple disk types based on performance needs, it can scale from 27TB of capacity to 161TB. IBM has also added the ability to perform nondisruptive code updates, data snapshot capabilities and synchronous and asynchronous replication.
"So we've delivered all the replication capabilities that customers demanded," Cancilla said. "In the future, we'll talk about the ability to allow asynchronous replication between prior generations of the XIV and this generation. We'll deliver that in Q1 2012."
The XIV Gen.3 has a list price of around $2 million with a one-year warranty and will begin shipping in volume Sept. 8.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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