Overview: IBM Spectrum Accelerate

IBM® Spectrum Accelerate™ is a key member of the IBM Spectrum Storage™ portfolio. It is a highly flexible storage solution that enables rapid deployment of block storage services for new and traditional workloads, on-premises, off-premises and in a combination of both.

Designed to help enable cloud environments, it is based on the proven technology delivered in IBM XIV® Storage System. Other members of the IBM Spectrum Storage™ family of software-defined storage (SDS) products which currently includes the following software applications:
  • Spectrum Virtualize
  • Spectrum Scale
  • Spectrum Control
  • Spectrum Protect
  • Spectrum Archive
For more information about the Spectrum Storage portfolio, go to http://www.ibm.com/systems/storage/spectrum.

Spectrum Accelerate is provided as a software defined storage product for VMware ESXi hypervisors and can be installed on 3–15 (minimum 3; maximum 15) physical ESXi hosts (servers), which together comprise a single storage system. Spectrum Accelerate pools server-attached storage into a consolidated hyper store. The software leverages the same technology used by XIV systems, and features similar XIV software running on qualified commodity hardware. This solution provides the power of XIV on existing datacenter resources, making it suitable for rapid deployment in a ‘build-your-own’ storage infrastructure. The solution makes it possible to use any hardware for such applications as development or test.

This software-defined storage system packages a major part of the capabilities that make the Spectrum Accelerate system an outstanding solution for high-end enterprise environments. In addition, Spectrum Accelerate features three of the most beneficial aspects:
  • Consistent high performance with optimization
  • A simplified management experience due to an architecture that eliminates many traditional planning, setup and maintenance chores
  • Advanced features including snapshot, synchronous and asynchronous replication, multi-tenancy, QoS, and support for open cloud standards.

Spectrum Accelerate runs as a virtual machine concurrently on several VMware vSphere ESXi hypervisors, allowing the creation of a server-based storage area network (SAN) from commodity hardware that includes x86-64 servers, Ethernet switches, solid state drives (SSDs), and high-density disk drives. Running alongside other virtual appliances on the same ESXi server, Spectrum Accelerate works by efficiently grouping virtual nodes with the underlying physical disks and spreading the data evenly across the nodes, creating a single, provisioning-ready virtual array. It cost-effectively uses any standard data center network for both inter-node and host connectivity.

Spectrum Accelerate supports any hardware configuration and components that meet the minimal requirements, and requires no explicit hardware certification. Scaling of nodes is linear and nondisruptive.

Each individual ESXi host with its single Spectrum Accelerate acts as a virtual XIV module, which contains 6 to 12 physical disks that Spectrum Accelerate uses. Each storage node, uses a10-Gigabit Ethernet (10 GigE) interconnection with the other Spectrum Accelerate storage nodes to create unique data distribution capabilities and other advanced features.

The ESXi hosts can be connected to a vCenter server, although it is not a requirement. If a vCenter server is used, the Spectrum Accelerate storage system and disk resources can be visually monitored through vSphere Client.

After the Spectrum Accelerate storage system is up and running, it can be used for storage provisioning over iSCSI, and can be managed with the dedicated XIV Management Tools (CLI or GUI) or through RESTful APIs.