IBM Spectrum Virtualize Review

Seamlessly moves hardware in and out as we refresh technology

What is our primary use case?

I manage the storage environment. In most of the storage environment, we use IBM products: Spectrum Virtualize, Spectrum Control, Spectrum Scale, and StorWize and SVC products with FlashSystem behind it.

How has it helped my organization?

It has the ability to seamlessly move hardware in and out as we refresh technology. It provides transparency, because of its advanced copy features. 

Our disaster recovery has also improved drastically because I am able to use a lot of the Spectrum Virtualize features to create multiple copies that we use to test and do development. Our disaster recovery plan tests are always successful, which is good. I have had zero downtime in the last three years.

What is most valuable?

The SVC gives excellent performance with tiered storage behind it, and the Spectrum Control suite. The newest versions that I have now are very useful in terms of managing, monitoring, and alerting. The full suite handles everything I need. We have had a lot of success through the years with Virtualize, which was originally just SVC, and we use it heavily. My environments are extremely large and busy, and it does the job without any problems. So, we are very happy with it.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been very stable. I am pushing a very heavy workload, a couple million I/Os at peak times. I have very heavy throughput with a lot databases: a lot Oracle, a lot of VMware and virtualization, and a lot of midrange virtualization. So, it is handling every platform.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I could scale out really easy with the virtualized product in terms of how I do the tiering behind it. 

We will never probably have everything in the cloud at this point, not until technology can catch up on the from a telecommunications perspective. We have a hybrid type of environment. Right now, we have an on-prem cloud that manages our VMware environment, so the orchestration is centered around that. It's a VMware product, but we anticipate seeing cloud handle a lot of our needs from a file share perspective and collaboration. There are some Microsoft initiatives going on at the moment, and we use cloud for that. 

We are waiting to see where we might be able to fit in with some cloud alternatives, e.g., backup archiving. We are looking at a IBM's cloud products which handle the archiving side of things. 

We are not looking at platform as a service and infrastructure right now. We just have too much load and heavy workload that we just could not get the performance that we would want there yet. 

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been excellent for all products: SVC, Storwize, DS8000, and FlashSystem. Every one of the different hardware products that I have, I have always had good support. They are very reliable. Therefore, I have been happy with the support.

How was the initial setup?

I set up, bought, designed, purchased, and implemented all of the storage myself.

There were some complex technologies. I learned to go take classes and educate myself, as it is always straightforward when you read the red books. If you follow the best practices and do all the things IBM told you to do, it is always easy. If you do not, you can get in trouble. So, I found it to be very straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

EMC originally was on my list when we were refreshing again six years ago. I decided to introduce EMC back into the fold to create competition. The reason IBM Storage won out over EMC and Hitachi was just performance. It scaled and performed better in our tests and PoCs. There was not enough of a business reason for me to completely change vendors. 

What other advice do I have?

We use Commvault and also have some NetBackup in our environment for our backup software. We are moving primarily to Commvault right now from NetBackup.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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