IBM Systems Lab Services

Spectrum Scale, SDI and motorcycles: Scale up, scale out!

Share this post:

You might wonder if I’ve completely gone off the rails when I mention my passion for motorcycle riding in the same breath as Spectrum Scale and software-defined infrastructure (SDI). Trust me, I’ll make a case for why I put them together.

In the early days, a motorcycle was nothing more than a bicycle with a motor, gas and oil tank, spark advance (today’s throttle), bicycle brakes and balloon tires. There was limited paved road, and you were often riding by the seat of your pants.

From 1901 to 2001, the rider experience was enhanced, road infrastructure improved and riding became more pleasurable and safer.

In the 21st century, software started being introduced into touring lines to further enhance the riding experience, along with the introduction of an interface that monitors the mechanical and electrical works of the motorcycle, collecting and displaying data in a user-friendly format during the ride. I can map out routes, connect Bluetooth or USB devices, and in some cases listen to satellite and broadcast radio. All of this is based on the software stack a company has developed to set itself apart from other manufacturers.

I love riding, so I am always looking for ways to “scale up and scale out” my motorcycle to give it more power, capabilities, storage and speed. This past May, I scaled up the hardware by upgrading my motor from 1819cc to 1901cc, and by adding new “flash” or firmware to enable the software to monitor and tune the new motor, thus applying the changes to the motor, to make it faster and more powerful.

The “scale out” process was accomplished by adding more storage to the motorcycle for carrying items needed for longer trips or runs to the grocery store.

So what does this have to do with SDI and Spectrum Scale?

Let’s break it down:

The hardware that IBM Spectrum Scale runs on can be thought of as the engine of a motorcycle. If you want to increase the power of your engine, you scale up Spectrum Scale by upgrading to a more powerful system, adding more processing power, memory and so forth. The more horsepower a motorcycle has, the less effort is required to move me from one location to another. In the same manner, scaling up Spectrum Scale will allow it to operate faster and more efficiently.

The “scale out” process is akin to adding storage capacity to your motorcycle. Spectrum Scale can be scaled out by adding additional components — in this case, more disk or solid-state drive (SSD) storage. We can further scale out Spectrum Scale by adding additional NSD servers to the cluster. This would be similar to adding an additional motor to a motorcycle or replacing the two-cylinder motor with a four-cylinder motor. However, in Spectrum Scale, the process of scaling out is much easier!

So, what does motorcycle riding have to do with software defined infrastructure (SDI)?

At a high level, SDI is about infrastructure flexibility. It’s about building what’s needed by choosing the components that meet your workload requirements. In my case, I added extra horsepower, torque and storage to my motorcycle, and updated my software to run and manage it. Spectrum Scale does much of the same by providing the flexibility to scale up and scale out, with software defined storage support and cloud support — and it’s all tied together with a friendly user interface!

IBM Systems Lab Services Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure is a team of consultants with proven expertise on all aspects of designing and building storage and software defined infrastructure systems. Contact us today if you’re looking for support to scale up and scale out your storage infrastructure.

Senior Managing Consultant, Storage, SDS and Infrastructure Architecture and Delivery

More IBM Systems Lab Services stories

Top IBM Power Systems myths: Linux on x/86 is different from Linux on Power

There are many misconceptions about IBM Power Systems in the marketplace today, and this blog series is all about dispelling some of the top myths. In the last post, I put aside the myth that IBM Power Systems has no cloud strategy. In this post, we’ll look at a myth that has been propagated by […]

Continue reading

Are you making the best of your Spark environment?

All companies are in the data business now. By empowering your organization to make data-driven decisions at a high speed, with optimal resource utilization, IT will soon become the data hero that helps shape the future of the business. Organizations from varied spheres are thus enthusiastic about 21st-century data science. “Big data” solutions have been […]

Continue reading

IBM HyperSwap: A modern data protection solution

High availability is becoming an increasingly popular term due to advances in infrastructure components such as networking, compute and storage. It’s also a necessity today for businesses in the banking, financial and insurance sectors. IBM Spectrum Virtualize HyperSwap is a dual-site solution that provides continuous availability of data during planned and unplanned outages. If storage […]

Continue reading