IBM Spectrum Virtualize Review

Provides a single view that all hosts see simultaneously


What is our primary use case?

The main reason for our utilizing the product: 

  1. The abstraction flair and the abstraction layer. We had a mixture of different storage arrays, and the wonderful thing about SVC is is that it normalizes all it into a single driver. A single view that all hosts see simultaneously. 
  2. The mobility that it gives us to move around to different performing storage arrays, depending on their load. 
  3. The ease of the mobility, the flash copy product, and the copy services.

How has it helped my organization?

ADT acquires companies (and things), so we end up with odd hardware. We bring it behind the SVC and it allows us to migrate stuff off of it seamlessly. SVC can also cover up a host of defects of the underlying storage.

Dell Compellent, which maybe was good at one time, but is no longer ready for prime time, SVC made the Compellent look good. The other thing, because services are licensed at the SVC level, it does not matter what the underlying capabilities of the other storage is. 

What is most valuable?

The abstraction. Hands down, it is the top reason for having it. 

What needs improvement?

NBME support and support for a higher Fibre Channel lengths could be improved, but those are already on the roadmap.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is rock solid. We have never had an outage.

We have gone through code updates, UPS battery replacements, and node failures. Nobody ever notices anything.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not hit any limits. At one time, we had 8 POWER Frames, almost 400 alt parls, LTO tape in zones, a bunch of Windows, and ESX host servers. So, it is more than adequate for our purposes.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is effective and helpful.

We were having some bottleneck issues with our DS8800, and it turned out that they had changed best practices on us. So, we involved technical support on the best way to migrate from intermingling hosts and storage to display them out into two separate aisle port groups.

How was the initial setup?

We will do the initial setup on any storage array, but all the management is on the SVC. Therefore we get by with a much smaller staff, but not by design. It allows us to continue to do our jobs effectively. 

I personally am a scripter, I build my own tools. So, I have automated huge amounts of my job, which allows me to leverage the SVC and do the job of three people.

What about the implementation team?

When we brought SVC into the environment, I could see what would be daunting for some people. However, it was not for me. I can script, so I was able to automate much of the process and copying everything back over. 

Anyone who is not very comfortable with command line and the ability to automate their own stuff should probably engage professional services to help them do the transition, at least the initial transition.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Do a proof of concept, if you are not comfortable jumping in, but do it. Look at it.

What other advice do I have?

I love the SVC. I would recommend it.

Main criteria when selecting a vendor: extraction. It was to reduce the complexity of the drivers that we had to deal with. Because at the time we brought it in, we had SSA, DS8100s, Compellent, and a couple of weird little EMC boxes that someone had brought in on us. Therefore, they wanted the ability to move stuff around at will, and SVC was the perfect solution for this.

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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