Modified on by DmitriyIsayev
Meet IBM Spectrum Connect, fast and easy solution for integrating various IBM storage systems in multiple cloud environments.
Listen to Harald Seipp, IBM Certified Consulting IT Specialist, explaining how to use IBM Spectrum Connect for provisioning, monitoring, automating and orchestrating of IBM block storage in containerized, VMware and Microsoft PowerShell ecosystems in this YouTube video.
Modified on by DmitriyIsayev
Before anything else, let’s start with a few questions:
- Are you facing a challenge of supplying storage to meet ever-changing demands of virtualization administrators, while creating and mapping endless amounts of storage volumes?
- Do you need to self-provision storage for your VMs, and also better integrate your virtual machines with storage arrays?
- Do your container clusters require storage for containerized applications?
- Do you want to automate storage provisioning by using Microsoft PowerShell?
If you’ve answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, IBM Spectrum Connect is available and ready to serve you. Formerly named IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition, IBM Spectrum Connect encompasses everything that you might need for integrating your multi-cloud environments with supported IBM storage systems, from an all-in-one, easy-to-use server platform.
Simply put, IBM Spectrum Connect is a centralized cloud integration system that consolidates a range of IBM storage provisioning, automation, and monitoring solutions through a unified server platform. It provides a single server, small-footprint backend location and enables centralized management of IBM storage resources for different virtualization, cloud and container platforms.
By implementing advanced storage provisioning techniques, IBM Spectrum Connect allows storage and hybrid cloud administrators to supply and integrate IBM storage with a range of VMware solutions, Kubernetes container clusters, and Microsoft PowerShell automation methods. IBM Spectrum Connect provides a web-based UI that makes this entire administration easy and straightforward, and saves a significant amount of time in setting up, connecting, and integrating the required storage resources into your cloud environment.
To enable this wide range of functional integration possibilities, the IBM Spectrum Connect suite includes the following individual cloud interfaces:
- IBM Storage Provider for VMware VASA
- IBM Storage Enhancements for VMware vSphere Web Client
- IBM Storage Plug-in for VMware vRealize Orchestrator
- IBM Storage Management Pack for VMware vRealize Operations Manager
- IBM Storage Enabler for Containers
- IBM Storage Automation Plug-in for Microsoft PowerShell
Cedric Cook, our Product Offering manager, covers all this in further detail in the following developerWorks blog:
The first version of IBM Spectrum Connect is 3.4.0, continuing from the previous version line of IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition. Under the new brand name, it is still available at no extra cost for IBM Storage customers. Check out the formal IBM Spectrum Connect brand page at: ibm.com/us-en/marketplace/spectrum-connect.
For the first time, you can download Spectrum Connect directly from the brand page by clicking Download Now.
And last but not least, we also have a new IBM Knowledge Center space where you can find the complete documentation for IBM Spectrum Connect: ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/SS6JWS.
As always, we’d be happy to receive any feedback, questions, or suggestions that you may have.
Thanks for tuning in!
The IBM Spectrum Connect team
Modified on by DmitriyIsayev
It would be quite accurate to state that virtualization technology today is gaining momentum, allowing companies to lower their total cost of ownership (TCO), reduce their datacenter footprint, ensure faster server provisioning, and more. However, implementing server virtualization without accounting for the storage element could cause problems, such as uneven resource sharing, as well as degradation in performance and data integrity.
Various IBM storage systems provide virtual enterprise storage for virtual servers. Specifically, the IBM storage systems work in concert with the following VMware virtualization platforms, standards, and environments:
- VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)
- VMware vSphere Web Client (vWC)
- VMware vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA)
- VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVols)
- VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO)
- VMware vRealize Operations Manager (vROPs)
To leverage, manage, and centralize this entire connectivity from a single interface, the IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition (SCBE) software package enables a simplified deployment and more efficient integration of different IBM storage systems (also referred to as storage arrays) and the VMware vCloud suite.
IBM Storage with VMware vSphere Web Client (vWC)
Without SCBE, when VMware administrators run out of disk space and request more space from the storage administrators, the storage increase provisioning may take quite a long time to implement and complete. This occurs mostly because of miscellaneous enterprise “red tape” procedures and processes. Moreover, before provisioning additional storage, storage administrators must fully understand the specific needs of the VMware administrators, then find available space on the attached storage systems, create and map storage volumes, and so on.
The SCBE solution uses an abstraction layer through a storage service and pre-defined sets of storage resources (pools) and capabilities (compression, encryption, etc). The services are prepared by storage administrators and provided for VMware administrators for fast and easy self-provisioning whenever required.
IBM Storage with VMware VASA and virtual volumes (VVols)
In the traditional data storage implementations, storage administrators manage multiple VMFS-based datastores with up to 7 TB in size and without explicit indication of storage capabilities. In addition, all VM snapshot and replication procedures are performed on the ESXi server side, without leveraging much faster hardware-based storage system capabilities.
The virtual volume (VVol) approach eliminates the VM granularity by introducing a single large VVol-based datastore with dynamic definition of storage policies (services) for provisioning storage resources exactly according to application requirements.
IBM Storage with VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO)
With the IBM Storage Plug-in for VMware vRealize Orchestrator, VMware administrators can include storage discovery and provisioning into their workflows. The plug-in allows issuing automated workflows with storage volumes that are attached to the vRealize Orchestrator server, eliminating the need for manual storage provisioning by storage administrators.
IBM Storage with VMware vRealize Operations Manager (vROps)
Monitoring IBM storage systems without VMware vROPs is limited to information about their physical objects. When using the IBM Storage Management Pack for vROPs, the storage systems are integrated into global monitoring network at the network operations center (NOC). The systems appear on vROPs dashboards, presenting in detail all relations between storage system objects (disks, ports, volumes etc) and VMware objects (datastores and VMs).
Modified on by DmitriyIsayev
You may ask: version 3.2.0 is already available so soon? Our answer: yes. Although earlier this month we released IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition version 3.1.1, version 3.2.0 is a genuine breakthrough, bringing support for the Microsoft PowerShell automation tool, in addition to our already well-established VMware cloud integration offerings. The new IBM Storage Automation Plug-in for PowerShell provides 'cmdlets' for automated storage management, including provisioning, host mapping, volume expansion, and other storage-related tasks.
For the first time, you can download the plug-in from the Microsoft PowerShell Gallery website at: https://www.powershellgallery.com/packages/SpectrumControlBase-Client. For further details about this new version, including fixes and an experimental Flocker feature (might not be included in future versions), check out the IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition 3.2.0 release notes on IBM Knowledge Center at: https://ibm.biz/Bds7gK.
Modified on by DmitriyIsayev
A new version of Spectrum Control Base Edition software (3.1.1) has been released. It replaces version 3.1.0 and brings support for the IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R (12.0.3) storage capacity feature. In addition, it introduces a full compatibility with the current VMware vSphere Web Client Server requirements. For details about this new version, see the Spectrum Control Base Edition release notes on IBM Knowledge Center at https://ibm.biz/BdswcP.
We are glad to announce the release of Spectrum Control Base Edition (SCBE) 3.1.
This new version introduces the following improvements:
- Improved handling of VMware virtual volumes (VVols), allowing for multiple VVol-enabled services to reside on a single storage space. Also, a new resource attachment method is used to attach several storage resources from different storage systems to one service.
- Added the availability capability for a storage service, enabling the use of stretched clusters on IBM Virtualize Family systems.
- Added the Quality of Service (QoS) capability for the Spectrum Accelerate Family storage services, enabling the use of volumes or storage resources according to predefined service levels.
- VMware currency for vCenter, vWC, vRO, vROps
- Bug fixes
Spectrum Control Base Edition 3.1 can be downloaded from Fix Central:
We'd be glad to hear your feedback!
VMware administrator, provision new datastores for your applications yourself, using IBM Storage Enhancements for vSphere Web Client. Use abstracted storage services, provided by your storage administrator. The services are consistent with application requirements with extendable storage space and VVol support. IBM Storage Enhancements for vSphere Web Client come packaged with IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition, a nifty storage provisioning tool integrated with a variety of VMware solutions for automation, monitoring, orchestration and native support of VVols and VASA API. Check the solution overview on YouTube at https://youtu.be/tf-0LGABZK8.
To make this happen, IBM has teamed up with VMware, creating a better experience for administrators and end users. We are proud to be one of the first partners in VMware's Web Client Plug-in certification program.
Learn more about the VMware program here: http://vmw.re/1S2FF7B.
Modified on by Lihi Tikolsky
If you happen to be using one or more IBM storage systems that are serving your VMware environment, we invite you to check out our recently released ’IBM Storage Integration Server’, a software solution that consolidates all your IBM storage usage through a single backend deployment.
You can add your IBM storage arrays into the scope of IBM Storage Integration Server in just one step, by using your storage user credentials as shown in the following example from the web-based management interface:
Once added, the arrays would be available to all supported solutions, without having to re-add each storage array separately for each solution or for any future supported solution.
This single integration server reduces the amount of management traffic and shares the queried storage information with all the supported solutions. The first release, version 1.1.0, introduces support for ‘IBM Storage Enhancements for VMware vSphere Web Client’ and for ‘IBM Storage Provider for VMware VASA’.
‘IBM Storage Enhancements for vSphere Web Client’ enables native visibility and provisioning of IBM storage volumes (LUNs) within VMware vSphere Web Client. These enhancements bring the value of the already known and acclaimed IBM Storage vCenter plug-in, formally known as ‘IBM Storage Management Console for VMware vCenter’, to the new web-based VMware vSphere Web Client, which allows the integration of multiple vCenter servers instead of one.
VMware administrators who were previously daunted by the thought of the complex task of connecting and utilizing storage resources through vSphere Web Client – can now be much more relaxed with the ability to easily create and manage storage volumes in delegated storage pools, which were attached by the storage administrators on the IBM Storage Integration Server side.
‘IBM Storage Provider for VMware VASA’, previously a standalone plug-in, is now a feature of the IBM Storage Integration Server, adding the following enhancements:
· Supports the IBM Storwize family in addition to the existing IBM XIV support.
· Storage capabilities are automatically defined and assigned, eliminating the need for manual definition and assignment.
That’s about it, for now J
More to come soon!
You can download the IBM Storage Integration Server software package and the related documentation from the IBM Fix Central.
You can also view the online documentation at our information center.
As always, we would be happy to have your comments and thoughts.
The IBM Storage Host Software Group (HSG)
The new version adds the
following enhancements for XIV users:
- Multiple volume creation in one single
operation: You can now create a few volumes together, instead of
creating each volume separately. You can see how it's done in the
example screenshots below, marked in a blue rectangle.
- Consistent volume names across the vSphere environment: In previous versions it was difficult to identify your volumes through VMware vSphere’s panels and
wizards due to the long-form name given to them. For example, this is what your Add
Storage wizard may have looked like:
But which Disk/LUN is the one I am looking for? Now when you create a volume, the name you provide is used as
the VMware’s Disk/LUN name in the vSphere environment, making it much
easier to view and manage.
For example, have a look at this ‘Creating 3 new volumes’
The volume names in VMware’s “Add Storage” wizard are identical, allowing simple volume identification!
- Simple multipath policy enforcement: This feature enforces the multipath policy either per storage array or per single volume, overriding VMware's defaults.
To set the policy for an entire XIV
storage system, go to the IBM Storage tab, right click on the relevant storage
system, choose Set Multipath Policy Enforcement, and then select the
From now on, for each
new volume you create on the storage system, the IBM storage plug-in enforces the chosen MP policy. Alternatively,
if you choose Disable Multipath Policy Enforcement, no MP policy is
such a case, VMware’s default MP policy for the storage array will be in effect).
Just note that this feature is
designed mostly for ESX/i versions 4.1 or earlier, where the default multipath policy set for the IBM XIV storage system was not
Round Robin (RR). In ESXi 5.0
or later, the default is RR.
These enhancements also apply to other IBM storage systems that the plug-in supports. In addition, version 3.0.0 introduces support for IBM Storwize V7000 Unified and IBM Scale Out Network Attached Storage (SONAS) as well as various bug fixes. You can check out the release notes for more
After you’ve heard all that, you can now go ahead and download the IBM Storage Management Console for VMware vCenter version 3.0.0 along with its documentation from the IBM Fix Central.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments, so please share them with us!
The IBM XIV Host Software team
We are excited to announce release of IBM XIV SRA 2.1.0 that is compatible with VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.0.
- Support for VMware Site Recovery Manager 5.0.1 (and 5.0.0)
- Support for XIV GEN2 (microcode 10.2.X) and for XIV GEN3 (microcode 11.X).
About SRM 5.0:
Site Recovery Manager 5.0 includes three major additions to the workflow capabilities:
- Planned migration
About IBM XIV SRA 2.1.0 with VMware SRM 5.0:
The IBM XIV SRA extends SRM capabilities and allows it to seamlessly employ XIV replication and mirroring as part of the SRM comprehensive Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP) solution.
Using the IBM XIV SRA, VMware administrators can automate the failover of an XIV system at the primary SRM site to an XIV system at a recovery (secondary) SRM site. Immediately upon a failover, the ESX/ESXi servers at the secondary SRM site start using the replicated datastores on the mirrored volumes of the secondary XIV system.
That's great ! But where can I get It ?
It's already available at the VMware download page of SRM 5.0.1 (You can click on the "Show Details" link inside the "Components" section to reveal the list of SRA components with IBM XIV SRA included)
We would love to hear from you, please leave you questions and comments below.
IBM XIV Host Software team
Let’s face it: even the most resilient, robust, and secure storage sites, located above ground or even underground, could potentially be exposed, in a certain degree, to all kinds of disasters that may temporarily or indefinitely halt the site operation. This could be an extreme weather condition or natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc.), a prolonged and unplanned interruption of power supply (power grid or power station failure), an accident, act of war, cyberattack, and who knows what else – God forbid…
Enterprises that rely on non-stop, continuous, and unbreakable access to data, as well as on the ability to keep existing data integrity in parallel to on-going update/writing operations at the highest possible standards, must have disaster prevention and recovery mechanisms in place, ready to be used at any point in time.
Enterprise-class storage systems, such as IBM XIV Gen3, IBM FlashSystem A9000, and IBM FlashSystem A9000R, provide advanced site mirroring capabilities, either synchronous or asynchronous, including 3-site mirroring for XIV Gen3, and HyperSwap for FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R. These native underlying replication and high availability (HA) technologies allow these IBM storage systems to serve not only conventional hosts and clusters, but also virtual machines in VMware and Microsoft cloud environments, as well as OpenStack cloud nodes.
Virtual machines duplicates can be deployed at a secondary backup site, together with the backup storage systems to serve those sites.
- In a Microsoft Azure environment, automatic failover to the backup or primary site is natively supported by the storage system, by using Microsoft Azure Site Recovery.
- In a VMware environment, virtual machines can be recovered by using VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) together with the IBM Spectrum Accelerate Family Storage Replication Adapter (SRA), which also supports – starting from version 3.0.0 – HyperSwap operations.
- OpenStack high availability configurations are also supported.
For detailed information about employing HyperSwap for VMware and Microsoft environments, refer to the IBM Redpaper: ‘IBM HyperSwap for IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R’. Additional data protection scenarios are described in this IBM Redpaper: ‘IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R Business Continuity Solutions’.
The IBM Flash Centers of Competency has posted a very good blog about our latest SCB version
You can read the blog here