IBM Spectrum Virtualize Review

A single pane of glass management interface; one place to go to manage everything

What is our primary use case?

Primarily, our customers use it to manage a bunch of different storage devices. It works really well, and it is a great platform to migrate data. I am currently helping a customer to migrate off of an HPE storage array to Pure Storage, and we are using SVC as the platform to move that data.

Our customers are mostly enterprise in size.

How has it helped my organization?

It is a single pane of glass management interface, so once the storage is allocated to SVC, they only have one place to go to manage it for everything. Then, my Power customers using Power VC can allocate storage themselves from Power VC, because it has integrated with SVC, so AIX admins do not have to know anything about storage. It is very powerful.

What is most valuable?

  1. The virtualization layer
  2. Easy tier
  3. The ability to have a feature-rich software set which extends the capabilities of the back-end storage arrays.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Occasionally, there are issues with a node or something, but because it is a clustered system, it is stable. Overall, it does not go down. I do not know if IBM has ever had a system which has ever caused any loss of data. Therefore, I am very confident in recommending it to my customers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is fantastic. It scales great.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is mostly good. Most of the time, especially at the Level 2 support and above, it is really good. The guys in Austin are fantastic, plus ATS, Lab Services, and the people from Hursley put out stuff which allows us to better understand the product and support it. That has been great. 

For Level 1 support, I have been trying to decide if it is AIX Level 1 support that I have the problem with or SVC. I probably deal more with Level 1 support for AIX than I do with SVC. Though, nothing really stands out for the support problems from SVC.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Nine times out of 10, customers are looking to invest in a new solution because their previous/existing solution is at the end of life of its existing storage.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is totally straightforward. With Storwize products and SVC, it is super simple.

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

We have struggled with Pure Storage, but people are understanding that much of Pure has been consumer grade SSDs. Therefore, when the customer is really understands what they are getting, they realize that IBM presents the same sort of value as existing vendors.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The typical three competitors that I hear about nowadays:

  1. EMC has always been a strong one, but they have faded a little bit.
  2. Pure has come on strong.
  3. Hitachi seems to have gained some traction recently. 

Customers chose Spectrum Virtualize because of the features that SVC has and its maturity. The product has been around for so long, plus I get involved with customers that select SVC. They can buy a cheap storage system and not invest as heavily in the software layer. However, from the SVC level, they get the whole storage virtualization and whatever they feel is the top tier storage behind the SVC realizing the best of both worlds.

What other advice do I have?

I love Spectrum Virtualize. It is my favorite. I would rate it a 10 out of 10.

Customers' most important criteria when selecting a vendor: 

  • Price
  • Performance
  • Stability
  • Supportability.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.

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