The News: Data-focused mainframe software start-up Model9 has announced a collaboration with Pure Storage designed to help mainframe enterprises better manage their data. For more information read the Model9 Press Release.
Model9 Pure Storage Collaboration Designed to Help Mainframe Enterprises Manage Data
Analyst Take: The news of the Model9 Pure Storage collaboration this week is interesting. As mainframe modernization increasingly becomes a focus for senior IT leaders, most of the discussion focuses on how to modernize legacy applications and where these applications should reside in a rapidly evolving hybrid multi-cloud infrastructure landscape. What gets less focus is the vast volumes of mainframe data that currently reside on storage colocated next to the mainframe compute. And that’s what the Model9 Pure Storage collaboration is all about — changing this dynamic.
As organizations look to gain actionable insights from their data and remove solos in how that data is managed and stored, mainframe storage represents a silo that is distinct from the prevailing wisdom of cloud-hosted storage. While this model may align with the security and availability objectives that are tightly aligned with the mainframe, we are seeing new use cases and approaches emerging where cloud-hosted mainframe attached storage can provide significant value — that’s where this Model9 Pure Storage collab comes into play.
Model9’s Collab With Pure Storage Transforms Mainframe Mission-Critical Data Management
The Model9 Pure Storage collaboration is positioned as a joint solution designed to transform the way mainframe customers manage mission-critical data. The solution is focused on delivering data management, recovery, and ransomware protection. It is outlined as enabling the integration of mainframe data with the powerful capabilities associated with AI, ML, and analytics associated with cloud-hosted object storage.
In this newly-launched model, the Model9 Manager performs backup, archiving, space management, and disaster recovery directly from the mainframe to Pure Storage’s FlashBlade. The Pure Storage approach is radically different from the classic DASD approaches that are typical in the mainframe space in that it provides a unified fast file and object (UFFO) storage solution.
The Model9 Shield functionality creates multiple copies of the data onto Pure Storage’s FlashBlade, thereby ensuring an enhanced level of data protection. Additionally, this approach ensures data is compressed and encrypted end-to-end. In reviewing this announcement, a key takeaway was that the ability of this cloud-hosted approach to mainframe storage enables a mainframe customer to air-gap the data and have a distinct copy of the data in a different location than the physical mainframe, providing benefits from both a security and resilience perspective.
Another key takeaway from the Model9 Pure Storage announcement was that once data is stored onto FlashBlade, it can be transformed with Model9’s Gravity solution to any open format in the cloud, which means this approach doesn’t consume precious and expensive mainframe cycles and removes the traditional mainframe CPU associated with classic Export Transport Load approaches. Once the mainframe data is in the respective cloud platform, the customers can apply their cloud-native approaches to AI, ML, and analytics applications to derive actionable insights.
Looking Ahead for Model9
Looking ahead for Model9, it’s clear the company is looking to upend an almost 60-year paradigm of how the mainframe platform handles storage. For too long, mainframe storage has had to be directly attached, and oftentimes physically colocated next to the mainframe.
This has resulted in the siloing of the mainframe, rendering it unable to play a more active role in how organizations are evolving into data lakes and warehouses. Further, this physical colocation of mainframe and computer has meant new innovative models for security and availability have also been tricky to implement.
The approach that Model9 is taking by way of this collaboration with Pure Storage is a paradigm shift in mainframe storage, which for many will be a step too far — at least for production data and at least at this point in time. However, the new use cases around availability and air-gaping of data for off-site storage are worthy of evaluation, especially for customers in highly regulated industries or who have elevated security concerns.
I expect to see this model of cloud-hosted storage evolve in the coming months and new innovative approaches emerge to solve security and availability concerns as mainframe customers look to leverage the capabilities of storage in the cloud.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.
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Steven Dickens is Vice President of Sales and Business Development and Senior Analyst at Futurum Research. Operating at the crossroads of technology and disruption, Steven engages with the world’s largest technology brands exploring new operating models and how they drive innovation and competitive edge for the enterprise. With experience in Open Source, Mission Critical Infrastructure, Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, and FinTech innovation, Dickens makes the connections between the C-Suite executives, end users, and tech practitioners that are required for companies to drive maximum advantage from their technology deployments. Steven is an alumnus of industry titans such as HPE and IBM and has led multi-hundred million dollar sales teams that operate on the global stage. Steven was a founding board member, former Chairperson, and now Board Advisor for the Open Mainframe Project, a Linux Foundation Project promoting Open Source on the mainframe. Steven Dickens is a Birmingham, UK native, and his speaking engagements take him around the world each year as he shares his insights on the role technology and how it can transform our lives going forward.