Why External Storage Makes Dollars and Sense for IBM i

IBM i can make use of internal disk in your Power system or external disk through a SAN.  For years, IBM i shops have relied on internal storage because of the simplicity and the cost savings.  As time marches on, we have to reconsider our approach to things and see if what once was a good fit makes sense now.

External storage offers a ton of value. 


With features like FlashCopy, hardware replication, and Easy Tier, you can implement a solution that reduces your downtime and improves the efficiency of your data processing—resulting in actual savings for your business.

Converged Storage

With an internal disk on IBM i, you can’t share the disk amongst other platforms. With an IBM FlashSystem, you have the opportunity to have a single platform for all your storage needs.  The single user interface simplifies management.  Easy Tier automatically manages your data efficiently, moving hot data to faster storage and storing long-term data on a slower, less expensive disk.

IBM FlashSystems use software-defined storage with Spectrum Virtualize. With a single interface, you can manage and maintain all of your storage.  You can even manage disparate storage on another provider’s SAN, such as HP or Dell. Bringing all your storage under one solution saves your administrators time.

According to a recent Forrester report, “The Total Economic Impact of IBM Spectrum Virtualize“, the benefits of implementing software-defined storage saves your business money. Customers who implemented Spectrum Virtualize to consolidate their storage achieved a 60% reduction in administration efforts. That’s a lot of time that can be put to use in ways that benefit your business and help it grow.

Data Reduction

Data is king, but having too much data can be expensive. Depending on your environment, adding disk can be a relatively easy task, adding a drive, for example. Or it can be more complicated and costly when you need to add expansion units before you can add drives. Better utilization of disk space means you spend less. According to the Forrester Report on Spectrum Virtualize, companies achieved a 33% improvement in utilization by reducing their data on an average of 3:1.

Not only does the solution positively improve your current disk utilization. It also provides you with the ability to save money in the future. With the average amount of storage growth at 15% per year, companies that implement Spectrum Virtualize are seeing a 6% growth. These companies are saving on storage growth year after year. That’s a significant saving for your business.

Significantly reduce downtime

Today’s world is always connected, and having your systems available when your customers’ need something is critical. Downtime affects worker productivity, and potentially you can lose business and maybe even customers over it. From backup windows to maintenance downtime or a complete high availability solution FlashSystems offers a 98% reduction in RPO. That’s huge.

Remote Mirror can allow you to have an exact copy of your system in a second location. Using FlashCopy, you can backup your entire system in minutes, not hours. All without affecting the users.  The Flash Copy quiesces the system and flushes the memory to be written to disk. That copy is sent to the second SAN for backup and high availability.  All of these things lead you to significantly reduced downtime.


Encryption needs to take place where data is stored and when it is in flight. To encrypt your IBM i data at rest, you need either a software solution or a hardware solution. FlashSystems supports encryption at rest, unlike internal disk.  This alone could be a good enough reason to consider external storage for companies with any sensitive data. It is the reason we have seen many companies move to external storage.

We all understand the need to protect our data from nefarious people. They can steal your data. Without encryption at rest, the data on your disks could be exposed if someone had the disks. With encryption at rest, the disks are encrypted, and if you take the disk, all you have is a paperweight. It’s an added layer of protection for your data.

It makes business sense

Companies who rely on IBM i should consider the ROI of external storage. At the end of the day, your job is to support the business and provide quality service to the end-users. Infrastructure that requires you to spend more time managing the environment gives you less time for innovation. Freeing up resources to work on projects that can positively impact the bottom line can be a real win for IT.

Reducing the amount of data you store on disks results in tangible savings that are easier to demonstrate. Having the ability to compress the data you keep will provide future savings storage growth. If you don’t have to account for double-digit storage growth, you can start to save dollars.

Saving hours of downtime a year can increase profitability and make you look good in an Executive meeting. Reducing backup windows to minutes and getting your data offsite quickly helps protect your most important asset, your data.

Data protection is a serious topic, especially in today’s world, where Ransomware attacks are growing exponentially by the day. IBM FlashSystems can help you protect your data with encryption and use FlashCopy to take point-in-time backups and give you a solid recovery point if ever needed.

Add all of these things together, and external storage really does save you dollars and makes sense.

More from this month:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *