IBM Spectrum Virtualize: An obvious fit for hybrid multicloud

By | 3 minute read | March 2, 2020

Has the siren song of hybrid cloud captured the hearts and minds of key decision makers in your enterprise? The allure of agility, centralization and automation is certainly strong in the world of IT, where we keep expecting the simplicity of a dial tone or light switch, with predictable price-per-pound cost models. But, for traditional systems and storage administrators, the path to that nirvana can seem at once threatening and technologically insurmountable. The feeling is not unlike attempting to scale Denali in sandals.

This is where a flexible storage solution like IBM Spectrum Virtualize can ease your anxiety. IBM Spectrum Virtualize started as IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC), an appliance designed to abstract the myriad complexities of disparate storage vendors to provide a single presentation for host systems. Over the 17 years that SVC has existed, it has evolved from being primarily a migration tool to a full blown “virtual array” in the enterprise landscape, consolidating storage resources the way VMware consolidated compute resources. Virtualization itself has evolved through monikers like “utility computing” and “software defined infrastructure.” What we now refer to as public and private clouds are essentially the same concept, combining hardware abstraction with a provisioning framework. In this way, it simplified processes and commoditized storage.

Simplifying processes

Spectrum Virtualize simplifies processes by having a common interface for not just a suite of IBM Storage products from entry level to enterprise (this ranges from the IBM FlashSystem 5010 to the 7200, then the 9200 and, finally, the SVC appliance) but also for storage from other vendors virtualized behind Spectrum Virtualize.

Processes that are simplified include advanced functions such as encryption, autonomic data placement (EasyTier), compression, deduplication, point in time copies and replication. Also, all of these products can be monitored by a simple-to-use, intelligent, cloud-based tool called Storage Insights that provides an enhanced support experience. Easier management means more day-to-day peace of mind for your admins.

Achieving commoditization

Spectrum Virtualize achieves storage commoditization with powerful data mobility capabilities. The ability to change backend storage without incurring host downtime empowers businesses to better take advantage of newer technologies and negotiate competitive pricing. This again simplifies the life of the storage administrator by eliminating the laborious process of coordinating the interests of application owners and the business to secure downtime.

Replication into public clouds

In the last two years, IBM has invested heavily in taking Spectrum Virtualize into public clouds. We started with IBM Cloud, then added Amazon Web Services (AWS), and are on the trajectory towards Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to work with Spectrum Virtualize in public cloud, which puts an instance of Spectrum Virtualize in IBM Cloud or AWS to serve as a replication target for disaster recovery, workload relocation or standalone development. Once it’s there, clients can leverage the investment they made in Spectrum Virtualize systems on-premises for automation. Having a public cloud replication target means being able to meet disaster recovery requirements without having to maintain a secondary data center.

Just as the screwdriver has evolved over time to have interchangeable bits or to include a flashlight, it’s good to see that some tools remain strong and relevant and can even guide how we decide to use newer technology. Spectrum Virtualize has evolved along with the needs of those who’ve made it successful by integration into provisioning frameworks and extending into public clouds.

Next steps

If you’re looking for support for storage infrastructure or cloud solutions, IBM Systems Lab Services can help. We support storage solutions for AI, big data, multicloud and Red Hat OpenShift, and we can help with storage strategy and optimization, cyber resiliency and modern data protection. Have a question? Contact us today.

And stay tuned to this blog to learn more about aspects of Spectrum Virtualize that enhance customer storage management.