IBM Storwize V7000

The new Storwize V7000 is IBM’s first mid-range storage virtualisation platform that’s entirely its own creation. It brings together the best bits from its SVC software plus its XIV and DS8000 products. We put it through its paces to see if this really is a perfect marriage.

We also found IBM's iSCSI implementation isn't perfect. When you declare iSCSI hosts, their full IQN must be entered manually as the V7000 can't detect logged in hosts itself. Furthermore, it isn't even aware of when an iSCSI host is attached to a virtual volume so always flags their state as offline. This has no effect on the hosts as only the volumes they are mapped to will be accessible.

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We also found IP SAN performance below par. Using a Dell PowerEdge R515 as an iSCSI host, we saw the Iometer utility report a raw read rate of only 84MB/s. At this price we would have expected to see speeds in the region of 105-110MB/s

We created an MPIO load balanced link and saw read speeds climb to just 161MB/s Dell's EqualLogic PS6000XV IP SAN appliance achieved 235MB/s over an MPIO link.

Testing over the lab's FC SAN was far less problematic as providing your FC hosts are switched, the V7000 will identify their World Wide Port Names (WWPNs) and make them available for selection. During this process you can also elect to map them to a volume using the same wizard.

FC SAN speeds weren't an issue either and we tested this with the same Dell server equipped with an LSI 4Gbit/s FC card. Iometer reported an impressive raw read throughput of 360MB/s which is what we expect to see for a 4Gbit/s FC connection.

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We weren't impressed with IBM's IP SAN support as it underperforms and would probably benefit from the inclusion of 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the controllers. That aside, the V7000 delivers a lot of valuable storage features as standard, is extremely easy to deploy, offers high levels of redundancy and has impressive expansion potential.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

The asking price initially looks high, but the V7000 includes a lot of storage features as standard that other vendors will charge extra for. We also found it extremely easy to deploy in the lab and capable of delivering top performance for FC SANs. However, we weren’t overly impressed with IBM’s IP SAN implementation as iSCSI speeds over single and MPIO links were below expectations. We'd think carefully before buying.

Chassis: 2U rack Storage: 24 hot-swap 2.5in drive bays Drives: 22 x 300GB 10K 6Gbit/s SAS SFF HDDs, 2 x 300GB STEC SSDs RAID: 2 controllers supporting RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 and10, hot-swap and hot-standby SAS Ports: 2 x 6Gbit/s per controller FC Ports: 4 x 8Gbit/s per controller Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet management/iSCSI ports per controller Power: 2 x 764W hot-plug supplies Management: Web browser

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