IBM Streamlines Configurations of IBM FlashSystem Storage, Plans Anomaly Detection

IBM will offer fewer configurations of FlashSystem, but is promising two-day delivery.

Jeffrey Schwartz

April 20, 2023

3 Min Read
IBM FlashSystem 7300

IBM seeks to boost its enterprise flash storage business by offering 15% discounts off the list price of its IBM FlashSystem 5 and 7 families. The promotion, which runs until the end of June, comes as IBM is moving to make its FlashSystem line more appealing for existing partners. IBM also is hoping it will attract new partners.

According to Sam Werner, IBM’s VP of storage product management, the IBM FlashSystem 5 and 7 are sold primarily through the channel. Werner said IBM hadn’t suffered the extent of supply chain disruptions that other hardware manufacturers have faced.

Further, IBM is taking additional steps to deliver all FlashSystem orders within two business days. The company has streamlined its FlashSystem configurations through three core areas: storage controller performance and capacity, number of drives and each drive’s size.


IBM’s Sam Werner

“From the time we get a firm order on our FlashSystems, it’s our objective to ship systems within two days,” Werner told Channel Futures. “And we can do that because of the standardized parts and configs. It also allows us to streamline our inventory more, with better execution.”

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Cost Advantage?

Most IBM flash systems come with the company’s core flash modules using drives developed by IBM, according to Werner.

“That gives us a cost advantage,” he said. “It should also give us performance advantages.”

Werner said IBM still offers industry-standard drive options and various configurations but has reduced the overall number.

“For example, we had over 20 different power cables to choose from,” he said. “We have standardized that down to a few that are our most common.”

Customers can still request custom configurations, but Werner said some could take weeks rather than the standard two days.

“If you stay within our standard configurations and standard parts, then we’ll give you the two-day shipping,” he said.


Pund-IT’s Charles King

“This seems like a solid strategy both in simplifying ordering for customers and streamlining the production process,” said industry analyst Charles King of Pund-IT. “IBM has enough experience to know the common requirements for specific enterprise workloads. This should be good for both customers and the company.”

New IBM FlashSystem Software to Detect Anomalies

An update to the IBM FlashSystem software promises improved cyber resiliency with new inline data corruption detection capabilities. Using AI and machine learning services, the IBM FlashSystem software will be able to detect, in near real-time, changes that might indicate a threat or a potential ransomware attack.

When the software detects anomalies, the administrator receives an alert of a potential attack. Werner noted that the anomalies could merely indicate a change in the application’s behavior or changes made to the application that could impact the storage environment, but the primary purpose is to detect attacks.

“We’re running AI within the array that’s looking at data entropy,” Werner said.

IBM plans to release the software update in June. It will be backward-compatible with previous FlashSystem storage. But a forthcoming feature that will provide detection with its next generation of drives, will only work on that new hardware. Look for IBM’s new drives to ship later this year.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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