IBM Software + SanDisk Hardware

One of SanDisk's InfiniFlash BoardsIn a joint press release, SanDisk and IBM announced support for each other’s products.  The IBM Spectrum Scale filesystem will support SanDisk’s InfiniFlash all-flash array to provide a high-capacity high-speed software-defined storage system.

At first glance this may seem a little odd, since IBM sells its own all-flash array, the FlashSystem, which became an IBM product line when the company acquired Texas Memory Systems (TMS) back in 2012.  That is not the case, though.  IBM has been validating that its Spectrum Storage products will work with just about any storage type that its customers may want to use.  Rather than narrowing this software’s support to only IBM storage systems, IBM is showing that Spectrum Scale is flexible enough to work with a multitude of solutions, supporting InfiniFlash the same as it does other internal server capacity and other external storage in the form of JBODs (“Just a Bunch of Disks”) or JBOFs (“Just a Bunch of Flash”).

In this case IBM has worked with SanDisk to validate that its Spectrum Scale storage management software works with InfiniFlash, just as it does with those many other storage solutions.

In the announcement IBM explains that its Spectrum Storage products can manage yottabytes of data on over 300 different storage device types (both IBM and non-IBM) to give the software the broadest hardware interoperability  in the industry.  The company recently announced a $1 billion investment in continuing software-defined storage (SDS) development to ensure that its SDS offerings will continue to evolve and attract interest and partners for years to come. The Spectrum Storage family fits under the SDS umbrella.

So, yes, IBM does make a flash array that competes with the SanDisk product, but no, it is not a surprise to see IBM validating that Spectrum Scale works with competing hardware.

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Jim Handy
Objective Analysis
SSD Market Research
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