IBM’s Unified Management Interface Puts Them in the Lead for Software Defined Storage

October 21st, 2015
Steve Adil
Disk Products Manager

IBM’s GUI paves the way for a vastly improved management paradigm, and it positions organizations to take advantage of Software Defined Storage.

What’s the hardest part of managing an array from either a provisioning or day to day management perspective? The management GUI! Some technologies take a degree to learn, and require dozens of steps to complete certain tasks. Then you’re done, and it’s time to work on another technology from your vendor of choice. Guess what? A different GUI that works differently!

Maddening. And, when vendors try to follow industry trends and join things together to make it seamless for the customer, many times they just give you a “manager of managers” to hide the complexity. Much better to eliminate it altogether.

When IBM introduced XIV, it came with a revolutionary design that provided easy setup and provisioning. This was partly due to the hardware design – free of RAID construction and heavily virtualized – and partly due to an award winning GUI. Very Apple-like, the GUI organized the main tasks in eight icons docked to the left of the screen. Hover over an icon and it expanded; click on it and see what the icon offered.

Very few steps are required to provision or manage XIV. Customers found that it took less than a day to master all that the GUI offered.

IBM saw an opportunity to leverage the popularity of this GUI, and worked over several years to broaden its reach. All IBM storage products now use a similar GUI.

Here are some examples of different IBM products and their respective GUI interfaces, beginning with the Enterprise-class IBM DS8000:

The GUI for the all-flash V9000 product:



And for the entry level V3700:

Similar GUI interfaces are used for IBM’s TPC for Data Replication, SRM software, scale-out NAS and even their tape products.

The most powerful aspect of this unified approach to element management is that when providing customers with the option of a Software Defined Storage deployment methodology, the management layer becomes crucial. IBM has this aspect of SDS locked up; it is far easier to layer a policy engine over a unified management platform than it is to integrate it into a “manger of managers” infrastructure. The user experience is far more graceful, quick to learn and predictable. The implementation is far less problematic and error prone.

Mainline has experience in discussing the Software Defined Storage landscape, and is experienced in selling and supporting products from all of the major vendors, as well as many solution-specific vendors. Allow us to come to your office and show you how our expertise can lead you to a highly developed, efficient and effective storage infrastructure.

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