When IBM announced its acquisition of XIV in late 2007, the Wikibon Peer Incite Meeting on the topic was one of the most well-attended at that point in our history. The reasons were simple:
- XIV is Moshe’s company; and Moshe is a God in the storage business;
- IBM is a potential sleeping giant in storage.
The questions we received from the Wikibon community related to the positioning of XIV– 1) Was it really about cloud storage? 2) What would IBM do with XIV? 3) Would it drive XIV across its portfolio and eventually replace DS8000 with XIV? 4) Would IBM aggressively market and sell XIV and give XIV the latitude to compete aggressively in the marketplace?
Thus far the answers to these questions are: 1) not really; 2) ride it hard; 3) not yet; 4) yes.
To me, today’s XIV announcement comes down to two words: PROOF POINTS. Here’s what IBM provided:
- IBM has installed more than 1,000 XIV’s at customers sites. These are revenue ships. Arrays.
- Fidelity was announced as XIV’s 1,000th customer.
- IBM has 450 XIV customers across multiple industry sectors.
- 70% of XIV’s are attached to non-IBM servers.
- IBM announced six reference customers: VCU Medical Center, Navisite, Leumi Bank, Deutsche, Joong Ang Ilbo and Gerber Scientific.
- IBM claims it has dozens of customers with more than ten XIV’s.
- IBM announced it has 250 VMware accounts.
- IBM executed on several new tactical product improvements such as Instant Space Reclamation, Asynch Mirroring and a non-disruptive code load capability among other improvements.
Are these proof points overwhelming impressive? No. Do they have substance? Absolutely. Perhaps we should expect more from IBM but in primary storage, IBM hasn’t been an innovator in the past decade or so and XIV has tremendous promise. XIV is innovative, cost effective, offers performance that’s good enough for many workloads and its been designed by an incredibly focused and intelligent team.
IBM in my mind has joined the ranks of the Tier 1.5 virtualization players and while it has a ways to go to get to 3PAR’s maturity level and degree of market validation, it offers substantial benefits in simplicity and TCO that warrant customer attention.
Bottom Line: XIV is making progress and my bet is it will continue to grow steadily and become IBM’s flagship storage array.