IBM stakes claim on storage leadership

New strategy based on three years of R&D and acquistions intended to put IBM in lead of storage market

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By  Mark Sutton in Montpellier Published  September 8, 2008

IBM announced today its largest ever launch for hardware, software and services, with a renewed focus on the storage sector.

The company’s storage division announced over 30 new products and services from IBM’s Systems and Technology Group, based on a three year, $2 billion investment in storage technologies.

Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM System Storage said that although the company had lost focus on storage technology in previous years, the new announcements marked a “big bet” for IBM, which had been the focus for over 2,500 IBM researchers and resulted in seven acquisitions.

The new strategy is directed at tackling the growth in the amount of data and the mobility of data, energy costs and intensive users, according to IBM. The company predicts that the information footprint of the average individual – the amount of data connected to each person through all sources, including official records like healthcare and government ID, and personal data like retail preferences and entertainment – is set to go from 1TB per year to 16TB by 2020.

Managing this growth in data requires a focus on three areas, IBM says. They include Internet scale availability, to match the huge volumes of data which are being generated and to be able to store and deliver that data wherever it is needed; consolidation and retention of data, for more efficient management of information, and improved security of data.

The new storage strategy includes the launch of new enterprise-level disk storage systems developed from the acquisition of XIV; new mid-range storage systems, storage virtualization software, highly scalable scale out files services (SOFS), data de-duplication, data protection and restore, high density tape libraries, enhanced compliance offerings, encryption key management and remote managed infrastructure services.

Monshaw told an audience of press and analysts in Montpellier, France, that the company had seen the growing complexity and demands of storage in the early part of the decade, and had developed its strategy from there. IBM’s acquisition of XIV, Diligent, Cognos, Arsenal, FilesX and NovusCG were a key part of the strategy.

“The world is re-tooling its underlying IT infrastructure in a dramatic shift away from a decades old client/server model to a radically more efficient Internet-style architecture. This requires different thinking and new capabilities, which we are significantly addressing in this information infrastructure launch, with our investments going forward and how IBM will do business with our clients,” said Monshaw.

There is no bigger opportunity for our clients than to unlock the value they have in their data centres and help them create smart, innovative offerings. IBM is the only company in the world – not HP, not EMC, not Sun – with decades of research, industry knowledge and market leadership to make this a reality with our clients,” he added.

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