IBM unveiled its new “Elastic Storage” technology which it claims offers "unprecedented performance, infinite scale, and is capable of reducing storage costs up to 90 percent by automatically moving data onto the most economical storage device."
The patented storage software is aimed the most data-intensive applications, such as seismic data processing, risk management and financial analysis, weather modeling, and scientific research. The software automatically manages data locally and globally, providing breakthrough speed in data access, easier administration and the ability to scale technology infrastructures quickly and more cost-effectively as data volumes expand. In addition, these advances can work with any company’s storage systems to provide automated and virtualized storage.
IBM said the architectural limits of its Elastic Storage stretch into the thousands of “yottabytes.” A yottabyte is one billion petabytes, or the equivalent of a data center the size of one million city blocks, which would fill the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. IBM Research has demonstrated that Elastic Storage can successfully scan 10 billion files on a single cluster in just 43 minutes. Elastic Storage builds on IBM’s global file system software. It exploits server-side Flash for up to six times increase in performance than with standard SAS disks. Elastic Storage virtualizes the storage allowing multiple systems and applications to share common pools of storage. It also automatically and intelligently moves data to the most strategic and economic storage system available.
Versions of the technology were used for the Jeopardy! television match between IBM's Watson and two former Jeopardy! champions. For the show, IBM’s Watson had access to 200 million pages of structured and unstructured data, including the full text of Wikipedia. By using Elastic Storage capabilities, around five terabytes of Watson’s “knowledge” (or 200 million pages of data) were loaded in only minutes into the computer’s memory.
IBM plans to make Elastic Storage software available as an IBM SoftLayer cloud service later this year.
“Digital information is growing at such a rapid rate and in such dramatic volumes that traditional storage systems used to house and manage it will eventually run out of runway,” said Tom Rosamilia, Senior Vice President, IBM Systems and Technology Group. “Our technology offers the advances in speed, scalability and cost savings that clients require to operate in a world where data is the basis of competitive advantage.”