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IBM Storwize V5000 – Product Brief

Last updated December 11th, 2019 for end of year updates. Concise and unbiased 6-page overview of the features and functionality of IBM Storwize V5000. Product Brief includes EvaluScale Reviewing Methodology. Download the free Product Brief now!


The IBM Storwize V5000 is a family of midrange and entry block-storage systems capable of virtualizing all attached disks and other attached storage systems.  The V5000 is a storage system based on the IBM Spectrum Virtualize (SAN Volume Controller) virtualization software.  There are three models in the V5000 family with differences in configuration and available features. The largest model Storwize V5000 can scale up to two pairs of controllers.

Differences with the Storwize V7000 include that SAS host interfaces are supported and a limit of scaling to two controller pairs (four controllers total) for V5100/F and V5030E.

The Storwize V5100F is an all-flash version where only SSDs or Flash Core Module are used in the configuration with NVMe attach and SAS attach expansion modules.  NVMeoF is also supported.

The three models (V5010E, V5030E, and V5100/F) represent different price points and allow customers to upgrade from the V5010E to the V5030E.  Feature enablement is different, which is primarily dependent on the different hardware (processors and memory) of the different models.

The management of the V5000 is a web-based GUI that has been developed for greater simplicity.  Different than most other storage systems, the advanced features are pre-installed on the V5000 with some included in the base price of the system.  Additional cost features are enabled with license keys.

The virtualization of external storage systems from a variety of vendors has two forms that can be utilized.  One is to explicitly map the LUNs (volumes) from the external storage for host access through the V5000 and the other is to migrate the data through the V5000 to internal or external storage to take advantage of the block-level virtualization with the advanced features for thin provisioning, wide striping, and the EasyTier automated data tiering.  Since all the accesses are through the V5000 controllers, this type of virtualization has been called an “in-band” type of virtualization approach.

For high availability, Storwize runs in a paired configuration with custom clustering software.  Clustering for a scale out configuration is supported for up to four pairs of controllers.  (Note – IBM uses the term ‘node’ for a controller rather than a pair of controllers, which is different from most other vendors). Spectrum Virtualize also supports a standby node that become active after a single node failure or during a service action

Cloud tiering allows volumes to be tiered to clouds including Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift, and IBM Cloud.  IBM Cloud Object Storage will be added as a tiering target.


The IBM V5000 is targeted as a midrange general purpose, block storage system with the ability to virtualize existing storage systems as a consolidation solution for the largest model. The different models allow customers to start with a smaller investment in storage and increase capacity with controller upgrades. With the VMware support and the ability to use SSDs and automatic tiering, the V5000 is an excellent storage solution for server virtualization. The capacity, advanced features and the performance give the V5000 capabilities much greater than its midrange positioning by IBM.

  • Characteristics
    • Performance – IBM has not yet released extensive performance data.
      • Performance data has not yet made available.
    • Availability – The V5000 is a dual controller system with the option for an additional pair of controllers with the V5030E and V5100/F. It is designed as a high availability system with the ability for failover between controllers. No file mode capability is included.
    • Replication for BC/DR – Remote mirroring, both synchronous and asynchronous (over Fibre Channel or IP) is supported along with consistency groups.
    • HyperSwap – active-active stretched clusters between two sites for the 5100/F and V5030E models.
  • Applications
    • The V5000 is targeted at any block storage application including databases. As a general-purpose storage system, the V5000 fits a very wide of application applicability.
  • System environments
    • The V5000 has been integrated with VMware Site Recovery Manager and has support for VAAI and VASA.
    • With the ability to virtualize other storage systems and provide both passthru LUN access and non-disruptive migration of LUNs, the V5000 is well suited as a consolidation solution.
  • Deployment and Administration
    • The V5000 has an intuitive GUI migrated that would allow it to be installed by a customer with moderate storage skills.
    • The management is integrated into IBM management products (Tivoli) but can also be completely managed from the GUI.

Evaluator Group EvaluScale™: IBM Storwize V5000 – SAN Storage

Evaluator Group product review methodology “EvaluScale” assesses each product within a specific technology area.  The definitions of the criteria and explanations of how products are reviewed can be found in the  Evaluator Series Evaluation Guide. Download the product brief now to view the EvaluScale for this product.

Evaluator Group Opinion: Differentiating elements for IBM Storwize V5000

The IBM Storwize V5000 system is a high-performance, scale-out block storage system with an all-flash model, the V5100F. The major value for customer is with the block storage system and the ability to scale performance and capacity and the integration of Spectrum Virtualize software to virtualize externally attached storage systems in the largest V5000 model with transparent data migration in all models. The functionality provided is typically seen in high-end enterprise systems but with the V5000, is offered into mid-tier and entry markets.

Advanced features of replication, snapshot and tiering to clouds are very complete implementations. The V5000 added storage pooling with dynamic block assignment (called distributed RAID by IBM) but continues to use copy-on-write snapshot technology rather than redirect-on-write. We would expect this to change, providing the more efficient redirect-on-write snapshots.
The scale out capability is another advanced feature for block storage. Currently the system scales to two pairs of controllers in the V5030E and V5100/F. This is adequate as a complement to the V7000 with a lower entry price. The storage virtualization features are the same as offered with the SVC and provide great customer value.

Evaluator Group believes the Storwize V5000 systems to be part of a family that leads in functionality and performance for the midrange and entry block storage markets. The advanced features, scale-out capability, storage virtualization, and all-flash model are distinguishing for the lower end of the midrange and entry-level customers.

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