Big Blue said Tuesday it will invest more than $1 billion in its storage software products over the next five years. IBM will use the money to fund research and development in the areas of new cloud storage software, object storage and open-standard technologies.
Its first move in the fresh initiative toward hybrid cloud coverage will be a new software package called IBM Spectrum Storage. The product lets customers use a single dashboard to manage massive amounts of information across existing storage infrastructure, including data centers and the cloud. IBM said it will spend about $200 million a year in the next five years on developing new storage offerings.
IBM said Spectrum Storage unlocks the potential of data and can increase a business’s agility. According to the company, it does this and simplifies migration to new workloads by:
- Simplifying and integrating storage management and data protection across traditional and new applications
- Delivering scalability with high performance for analytics, big data, social and mobile
- Unifying silos to deliver data without borders with built-in hybrid cloud support
- Optimizing data economics with intelligent data tiering, from Flash to tape and cloud
- Building on open architectures supporting industry standards, including OpenStack and Hadoop
Spectrum Storage is, among other things, the software layer for IBM’s high-end storage appliance, XIV. That product is meant for companies that have big data storage needs and high-end requirements.
At the same time, though, XIV is designed for companies that are in the process of moving to the cloud, serving as the in-house cloud while supporting the standards used by public storage cloud infrastructures.
We reached out Dan Kusnetzky, founder and chief analyst at Kusnetzky Group, who told us that heavy investment of this sort into cloud storage technology is a clear signal that IBM sees that storage sector as the future.
"Storage software, specifically storage virtualization software, is the foundation of both on-premise and off-premise -- read cloud -- computing strategies," said Kusnetzky. "Since IBM clearly sees that creating software-defined data centers, cloud computing infrastructure and even big data analytics relies heavily on intelligent storage systems, this level of investment is a requirement for the company to address the market opportunity they are targeting."
Companies on Board
Big Blue seems hopeful that Spectrum Storage will not just be a front end for XIV, but also a staple of the data centers of big enterprises as those systems start to move to hybrid cloud architectures, with a mixture of traditional on-premises storage systems, scalable in-house clouds, and public clouds.
IBM Spectrum Accelerate, which is part of Spectrum Storage, is already being used on 100,000 servers around the world, according to IBM. It is being tested by Netflix, China State Grid, and City of Hope National Medical Center, among other customers. Sales of Spectrum Storage offerings will be reported for IBM’s software division.