IBM is now tackling blockchain storage. It is doing so through reference architectures that include flash arrays, scale-out file systems, cloud object storage and data protection.
The IBM Storage Solutions for IBM Blockchain were among the latest set of reference architectures — IBM calls them blueprints — launched by the vendor. These blueprints are designed to help IT organizations and channel partners speed deployments of container- and cloud-based applications through pretested and validated configurations of hardware and software. IBM also added blueprints for analytics and private cloud deployments.
The IBM blockchain storage infrastructure plan includes the vendor’s NVMe-based FlashSystem 9100 and LinuxOne Rockhopper II hardware, as well as Spectrum Virtualize, Spectrum Copy Data Management and Spectrum Protect Plus software. FlashSystem 9100’s data-at-rest encryption can secure both on-chain and off-chain data, said Eric Herzog, chief marketing officer and vice president of worldwide storage channels at IBM.
Chris Kanthan, a storage research manager at IDC, said the speedy NVMe-based flash arrays would also help to address the performance challenges with blockchain deployments. Kanthan said IBM is laying the groundwork for blockchain adoption, which he said increased in 2018 after languishing for years.
“Blockchain tends to get lumped into cryptocurrencies, but it’s far from that,” Steve McDowell, a senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, wrote in an email. “Enterprises are using the technology to provide transparent, traceable transactions in everything from healthcare to accounting and supply chain management.”
Other storage products in IBM Storage Solutions for IBM Blockchain include Spectrum Virtualize, Spectrum Scale file storage, IBM Cloud Object Storage, Spectrum Protect Plus backup software and Spectrum Copy Data Management.
McDowell said he views the IBM blockchain storage design as a “huge step forward” for the finance and healthcare industries, where IBM has a strong presence. He said finance and healthcare IT shops may not have a lot of experience in emerging technologies, and the IBM Storage Solutions for IBM Blockchain blueprints offer the chance for a “quick start to get a solution integrated and deployed with a minimal learning curve.”
The new IBM Storage Solution for Analytics gives customers the option to use the NVMe-based FlashSystem 9100 in a pretested configuration with the IBM Cloud Private for Data offering, which the vendor’s data and AI division introduced in 2018.