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Almost three decades ago, back in 1997, IBM announced the flagship 9337 Disk Array Subsystem, a rack-mount disk unit that offers 1,084 MB to 33.55 GB of DASD for the AS/400 9406 Models B, D, E, and F as well as AS/400 Advanced System Model. Back in the early ’80s, I engaged in a benchmark of the 9337 Disk Subsystem on an enterprise AS/400 against the EMC Symmetric system in Rochester, Minnesota. I also presented RAID technology at a local user group meeting, explaining how to protect the data on the 9337 storage for the AS/400 with RAID 5 technology.
We have come a long way in storage for the Power System. In addition to internal hard disk drives (HDDs), there are Solid State Drives (SSDs), Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) drives, and the external IBM FlashSystems with all NVMe storage option. Gone are the days when AS/400 internal storage was usually the first choice in achieving the best performance. This blog discusses various IBM storage options for POWER9 and highlights the cost difference of deploying different storage options on a FlashSystem fiber attached to a POWER9.
It’s not often that we hear the stories of a data center being destroyed, but it happens. If your backups remain onsite, or even worse — they stay in the tape library for a week before you remove them, then you are at risk if a disaster strikes. We actually had a customer who had a fire in their building. The tape was still in the tape drive. Pete’s advice was to cut the cable and grab the tape drive and run. This is not a good disaster recovery plan.
When I was a System Administrator in the early 1990s, my colleague and I took our backup tapes home to keep them offsite. I didn’t have a fireproof safe, I just had a box with tapes that I kept safe. On Friday night, the backup would run sometime after the JDE nightly process would finish and the tape would stay in the tape drive until Monday morning at 6 AM when one of us arrived. That tape stayed in the building all day until after work when it would leave with whoever had the early shift that week. We had a backup, we even took it offsite, but was it really the best solution? No. It was what we knew at the time.
I remember when I first got was introduced to IBM’s FlashCopy backup technology roughly 8 years ago. An IBM i engineer who started to embrace external storage for small to mid-sized IBM i shops said to me one day, “If we went with SAN storage, we could flash out a full backup of their whole LPAR in less than 15 seconds”. To which I responded, “Say what?! That doesn’t sound possible! It sounds like some Houdini magic or something”.
Being the guy that needs to know how everything works, I was launched into a quest to understand FlashCopy. Almost like a child running onto a new playground for the first time.
FlashCopy is typically used for Point in Time disk backups or creating a clone of a system or IASP for development, testing, reporting, or data mining purposes. We use FlashCopy mostly to make a copy of the disks for Point in Time backups to tape or VTL but Flashcopy is a tool you can get very creative with and drive some big-time value.
Think about these scenarios:
Most IBM i customers have an ERP package on their IBM Power server that runs their business. Typically, a small or mid-sized company can comfortably operate with one Power9 core activation, that provides a CPW of 13,125. The IBM Power9 model S914 has two processor options, a 4-core, and a 6-core. Which one do you get if you only need 1 core activation? The 4-core server is physically the same as the 6-core server, except for the processor and the other differences shown in the table below.
|Maximum Internal Disk Drives||10 (283GB HDD or 387GB SSD)||672, many HDD & SSD sizes|
|BUS Expansion||None||1 drawer – 6 adapter slots|
|Software Tier Group||P05||P10|
Let’s discuss each of these differences in more detail: