Replacement for IBM DS8300 Brings End of Support Life (EOSL)
The forthcoming IBM DS8300 end of support life date is scheduled for March 2016. In our prior blog post on the topic, we discussed the DS8700 from 2009 and other attractive migration options. Now IBM is dangling a new hook in the water to catch some upgrades.
That hook is the newly released DS8880 series, high-end arrays reported to be “sporting a faster processing complex which can double sequential data access speed over the previous (DS8870) generation through new Power8 controllers.” The products come in three varieties, two hybrid and one all-flash:
- An entry-level DS8884 intended to save on space and features while still adapting to critical workloads
- The mid-range DS8886 boasting 2x DS88770 speeds and six nines availability
- The big boy DS8888 with all-flash media, which can scale up to 3PB
Although the future for such monolithic storage arrays, including DS8000s’ brethren VMAXes and VSPs, is up for debate, IBM appears to be betting that “[e]nterprises such as banking, financial, and healthcare need constant uptime and the risk of data loss minimized as much as possible.” On-site storage will continue in these and other industry sectors for compliance, security, and other reasons, and the vendor who beats the field in the race back to vertical stack integration may stand to gain in the storage wars that are heating up.
The IBM DS8880 is great news for anyone in need of new storage gear, but any of the series comes at quite a price. A bare-bones DS8884 will cost about $50,000, but most customers will need to spend about $100,000 to get what they need. For the DS8886, average configurations will run $200,000 to $400,000.
AN ALTERNATIVE—OR COMPLEMENTARY—STRATEGY FOR THE IBM DS8300
For enterprises without that kind of budget laying around, keeping a DS8300 series machine in place may be a preferable alternative to upgrading. And for customers who are on the migration path to the DS8880, holding on to a DS8300 as part of a “hand me down” strategy may be a worth considering, as the storage array can easily make the transition to less critical workloads or lab or disaster recovery environments.
Either way, the best option for taking care of older but still high-end IBM DS8000 series equipment is to keep it under maintenance contract. Park Place Technologies is there for customers who need hardware lifespan to outlast the OEM’s support commitment to hardware. And we do it in our own unique way with:
- Customizable contracts. Clients need the support cost and coverage to match the uses to which they are putting the IBM DS8300. We offer several service levels and enable clients to select the right match for each piece of equipment.
- Comprehensive service. Among the greatest fears about legacy equipment like the IBM DS8300 are unexpected expenses when problems arise. Park Place does away with these concerns with contracts that cover everything—break/fix with certified spare parts and on-site assistance, software and firmware support included, and even four hours to four days of extra engineering time to address, well, anything else.
- Multi-vendor support capabilities. One of the key advantages of alternative maintenance is putting equipment from multiple OEMs under a single contract. Park Place has experts on HP, Dell/EMC, Oracle/Sun, NetApp, Cisco, and more, so we’re a great resource for IT organizations seeking greater simplicity for their support arrangements.
- Customer-focused operations. We did away with escalation procedures and severity level assessments, because they are barriers to good service. We also assign every client a local, Level 3 engineer to answer every on-site call. These are just two examples of how we do things differently for our clients.
Increasingly, IT organizations are keeping equipment longer than the three to five year lifecycle that was once industry standard—sometimes much, much longer. There are good reasons to do so as data volumes and storage needs increase while IT budgets mostly stagnate.
Park Place is an excellent option for IT organizations that want to maximize the value of their IT hardware investments but can’t withstand increased risks.