IBM Mass Lab invents and grows with IBM XIV as storage backbone

Published on 31-Jan-2013

"We trust IBM XIV to manage our data because it doesn’t require any excuses. The system is rock-solid and offers incredible ease of administration at a low TCO—all features that make XIV an excellent choice for IBM’s customers and for ourselves." - Joseph Grace, IBM Mass Campus Storage Lead

Customer:
IBM Mass Lab

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
Enabling Business Flexibility, High Availability , Virtualization

Overview

The IBM Mass Lab was opened in 2010 to help support dramatic growth in IBM's software business, providing software developers with the high levels of computing power and storage capacity required to develop innovative software products. Based at sites in Littleton and Westford, Massachusetts, the IBM Mass Lab is IBM’s largest software development lab in North America.

Business need:
With IBM XIV at the heart of its storage landscape, IBM Mass Lab is supporting software developers in the design and delivery of first-of-a-kind solutions. The XIV’s unique architecture and GUI are designed to simplify storage administration, enabling the lab’s two-person storage team to easily manage massive data volumes.

Solution:
IBM Mass Lab selected the IBM® XIV® Storage System to form the backbone of its storage environment. The lab is using 27 IBM XIV systems to manage nearly 5 PB of data.

Benefits:
Exceptional self-optimized performance and reliability, combined with outstanding IBM XIV manageability, enables a team of two to maintain 24/7 availability for vast data volumes, and at comparatively low TCO.

Case Study

“Our software developers are extremely computer savvy and won’t accept anything less than the best,” says Joseph Grace, IBM Mass Campus Storage Lead. “We trust IBM XIV to manage our data because it doesn’t require any excuses. The system is rock-solid and offers incredible ease of administration at a low TCO—these are all features that make XIV an excellent choice for IBM’s customers and for ourselves.”

With IBM XIV Storage Systems at the heart of its storage landscape, IBM Mass Lab is supporting software developers in the design and delivery of first-of-a-kind solutions. The XIV’s unique architecture and GUI are designed to simplify storage administration, enabling the lab’s two-person storage team to easily manage massive data volumes.

Supporting strong business growth
IBM’s software business is constantly expanding, both through acquisitions and organic growth. In 2011, software revenues totaled some $7.6 billion (more than 25 percent of total revenue), with revenues from middleware reaching $5.2 billion.

The IBM Mass Lab was opened in 2010 to help support this dramatic growth, providing software developers with the high levels of computing power and storage capacity required to develop innovative software products. Based at sites in Littleton and Westford, Massachusetts, the IBM Mass Lab is IBM’s largest software development lab in North America.

Developers at IBM Mass Lab are working to create software that manages some of the world's most complex process and infrastructure problems, and have demanding requirements for system performance and reliability.

Joseph Grace explains: “Our users tackle complex projects and often work to tight deadlines. When they need more resources, they need them fast and can’t afford to be held back by system delays or errors. This means that we need to react quickly to user demands and keep performance at optimum levels, without constantly working to fine-tune our systems.”

As IBM continues to broaden its software portfolio, the administration team at Mass Lab needs the flexibility to cope with an ever-growing demand for increased storage capacity. Speed is also a top priority, especially when it comes to new acquisitions: storage administrators often have little warning when IBM acquires a new software company and must quickly scale up capacity with minimal planning.

Total storage solution
To meet these performance and scalability objectives, IBM Mass Lab relies on the leading capabilities of the IBM XIV Storage System, which forms the backbone of its comprehensive storage environment. The software development lab currently manages some 6 PB of data across 150 storage units, including IBM XIV, IBM System Storage DS3000, DS4000 and DS5000 arrays and IBM Storwize® V7000.

IBM XIV is used to manage the majority of this vast storage landscape, with 27 IBM XIV systems handling storage for approximately 4.5 to 5 PB of data. IBM Mass Lab has four more of the latest generation IBM XIV systems on order and plans to add between three and four new systems per quarter to keep pace with demand.

“IBM XIV only makes up a fraction of the total number of machines in our storage infrastructure, but its outstanding capacity means that we can use it to manage the bulk of our data,” notes Joseph Grace. “The solution allows us to scale up seamlessly by simply adding system modules.”

Reducing operational complexity
IBM XIV is designed for easy administration, with no tiers to manage and a highly automated, intuitive approach to storage management.

“From day one, we immediately saw the value in how easy IBM XIV is to administer,” notes Joseph Grace. “The system consistently delivers faultless performance—we can put XIV behind any of our systems and never have to worry about it. It just takes all of the complexity out of managing our storage, and that’s the kind of thing that we really appreciate as a small administration team.”

High performance with no tuning
The XIV Storage System features a massively parallel grid architecture, which provides uniform allocation of system resources at all times. This enables Mass Lab to deliver consistently high performance to all applications—with no hotspots and no need for manual tuning.

“One of the key features of IBM XIV is that it requires no fine-tuning to maintain performance levels: everything is highly optimized right out of the box,” states Joseph Grace. “The virtualized storage architecture also means that there no need to allocate physical drives or assign RAID levels. XIV does all the work for us and keeps everything completely protected.”

IBM XIV also helps to deliver the highest levels of availability and reliability with advanced data protection and recovery tools. High redundancy and automatic self-healing capabilities ensure that critical systems are kept up and running at all times, with minimal need for human intervention.

“Software builds are a 24/7 process, so downtime is not an option for us,” remarks Joseph Grace. “IBM XIV provides maximum availability for all of our data. Even if a disk fails, there is no impact on operations—the system automatically rebalances the data without any impact on performance.”

Supporting innovation
With IBM XIV supporting the smooth running of operations at IBM Mass Lab, development teams can work more quickly and efficiently to design new software.

Joseph Grace concludes: “Our software developers require truly exceptional levels of performance and availability—IBM XIV is instrumental in enabling us to achieve this. As a small team we come under a lot of pressure, and XIV massively helps to ease this burden. With IBM XIV we can handle whatever the development teams throw at us, and help them to keep the focus on delivering innovative, quality software.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Storage: DS4000, Storage: DS5000, Storage: Storwize V7000, Storage: XIV, Storage: XIV Gen3

Software:
DB2 for Linux, DB2 for AIX, DB2 for HP/UX, AIX, System Storage SAN Volume Controller, IBM Notes

Operating system:
AIX, HP-UX, Linux

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America January 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, AIX, DB2, Lotus, Storwize, System Storage, and XIV are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.