IBM XIV Storage System

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The IBM XIV Storage System is a high-end disk storage server designed to provide consistent and predictable performance, high availability and simple manageability. The system is a collection of modules, each of which is an independent computer with its own memory, interconnections, disk drives, and other subcomponents, laid out in a grid and connected together in parallel using either InfiniBand (third generation systems) or Ethernet (second generation systems) connections. Each module has an x86 CPU and runs a software platform consisting largely of a modified Linux kernel and other open source software.

Traditional storage systems distribute a volume across a subset of disk drives in a clustered fashion. The XIV storage system distributes volumes across all modules in 1 MiB chunks (partitions) so that all of the modules' resources are used evenly. For robustness, each logical partition is stored in at least two copies on separate modules, so that if a part of a disk drive, an entire disk drive, or an entire module fails, the data is still available.

One can increase the system storage capacity by adding additional modules. When one adds a module, the system automatically redistributes previously stored data to make optimal use of its I/O capacity. Depending on the model and disk type chosen when the machine is ordered, one system can be configured for storage capacity from 27 TB to 324 TB.[1]


The XIV has a significant list of software features that are all included in the base software. There are no special licenses needed to activate any of these features.[2]

  • Synchronous and asynchronous remote mirroring
  • Thin provisioning
  • Data migration
  • Quality of Service controls
  • LDAP authentication support
  • VMware VAAI support
  • Differential, writable snapshot technology
  • Online volume migration between two XIV systems with IBM Hyper-Scale Mobility.
  • Encryption - protecting Data at Rest

Management Software[edit]

The IBM XIV management GUI is a software package that can be installed on a variety of operating systems including Windows, Linux and Mac OS. It is designed for simple ease-of-use and can manage multiple XIVs.[3]

In addition to the management GUI there is an XIV Mobile Dashboard available for the Apple iPad and iPhone through the Apple App Store via the following URL: IBM Mobile Dashboard


The IBM XIV Storage System was developed in 2002 by an Israeli start-up company funded and headed by engineer and businessman Moshe Yanai, the team began to work on a revolutionary new grid storage architecture. They devoted three years to developing this unique architecture that they called XIV. They delivered their first system to a customer in 2005. Their product was called Nextra.

In December 2007,[4] the IBM Corporation acquired XIV, renaming the product the IBM XIV Storage System. The first IBM version of the product was launched publicly on September 8, 2008. Unofficially within IBM this product is called Generation 2 of the XIV.

The differences between Gen1 and Gen2 were not architectural, they were mainly physical. New disks were introduced, new controllers, new interconnects, improved management, additional software functions.[5]

In September 2011, IBM launched XIV's Gen3, with 2TB and 3TB disk drives, changing the inter-connectivity layer to use Infiniband rather than Ethernet.

In 2012-2013 IBM added the support of SSD devices and 10GbE host connectivity.


  1. ^ Official IBM Webpage "IBM XIV Product Specifications Page" Retrieved on 2011-12-21
  2. ^ Official IBM Webpage "IBM Announcement letter" Retrieved on 2011-12-21
  3. ^ Official IBM Webpage Official IBM Webpage. Retrieved on 2011-12-21.
  4. ^ Sherman, Brian. "IBM XIV Storage System", 2009. Retrieved on 2011-09-18.
  5. ^ Aussie Storage Blog, July 12, 2011 "A Brief History of XIV" Retrieved December 21, 2011.

External links[edit]