IBM i External Storage Solutions

Running external SAN storage underneath your IBM Power servers and IBM i OS can deliver big value, greater flexibility, added resiliency, and additional functionality.


IBM FlashSystem Storage

IBM FlashSystem storage is built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize, the backbone of advanced functionality across the entire line of IBM’s FlashSystem portfolio. Separating storage from your hardware or CPU opens new capabilities that provide added efficiency, resiliency, security, and scalability.


Our team of IBM FlashSystem Storage engineers and administrators can deliver a wide range of services focused on getting the most out of IBM i and External Storage.

  • IBM FlashSystem sizing and procurement
  • Installation of external IBM FlashSystem Storage
  • Migration from Internal IBM Storage to external SAN storage
  • Migration from older SAN storage to IBM FlashSystem storage
  • Full System FlashCopy Implementation and configuration
  • Full System Replication (SAN to SAN) Implementation and configuration
  • Encryption at rest Implementation and configuration
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Featured Webinar

External Storage for IBM i —
Resilient, Flexible, and Fast

In this session we will dive into the benefits of external storage for IBM i and how IBM’s storage portfolio complements the demands
of IBM i shops of all sizes.

Recorded on January 25, 2022
Presented by Richie Palma

Richie Palmieri
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Why External Storage Makes Dollars and Sense for IBM i

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Podcast Episode:

The New FlashSystem 5200:
Features and Functions to Know

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On Demand Webinar
Benefits of External Storage for Your IBM i
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With External Storage, IBM i shops can take advantage of:

Encryption at rest

  • Protects the organization from the physical theft of the file system storage devices 
  • Helps to satisfy information security or regulatory requirements
  • No encryption in flight.


  • Rapidly perform a point-in-time copy of one or more storage volumes
  • Volumes can remain online and active while you create consistent copies of the data sets
  • Common Use Cases:
    • Flash out a copy of your production environment to perform a full point in time backup
    • Flash out a copy of production for application development and testing
    • Flash out a copy of your data for analytics & data mining
    • Creating copies of production data sets for quality assurance

Thin Provisioning

  • Thin provisioning says to only allocate a specified amount of disk initially
  • Gives virtual allocations instead of hard allocation
  • Storage is allocated on demand based on needs
  • IBM i sees the created size at all times and does not know that the disk does not have the full capacity at creation time

SAN to SAN Replication

  • Offloading replication to SAN
  • Block level replication of data. (Make “SAN A” look exactly like “SAN B”)
  • Data that has not made it to storage is not replicated

DRAID – Distributed RAID

  • Capacity is included in the group rather than being a separate drive, so all drives contribute to the overall performance of the RAID group
  • Enables all drives to contribute to performance, while Traditional RAID does not!
  • 5-10X faster rebuild times compared to Traditional RAID
  • RAID expansion makes using small, or large capacity drives easier, and more affordable. You can non-disruptively grow existing RAID groups by 1-12 drives at a time.

Storage upgrades are painless with External Storage virtualization

  • Uses Spectrum Virtualize external storage virtualization and transparent data migration
  • Allows new SAN to virtualize the existing SANs storage underneath it
  • Data in current pool (existing SAN) can be moved to new storage pool (New SAN) while workload on IBM Power continues to run

Migration from Internal to External Storage

Moving to SAN is much simpler than you might think:


For IBM i shops, once you have all your storage on SAN, migrations are as simple as moving a couple of fiber cables and IPL’ing the server. This will require a very small outage but is strait forward and carries a low risk. 


Because IBM i manages its storage so well, we can use it to our advantage when moving from internal disk to external SAN storage.  All we have to do is connect the SAN and provision LUNs to IBM i.  Then we tell IBM i that we want it to drain all the storage from the internal drives and move it to the external drives. This can be done on the fly while operations continue to run.  


Once we get all the data migrated to external storage, all that remains on internal storage is the load source.  This is the only part that requires an outage. Once moved, you are entirely running on external IBM SAN storage and have all the advanced functionality of IBM’s robust storage portfolio.  

Sign up for a External Storage Sizing Consultation

What storage option is right for you? We can help.