IBM Spectrum Scale Overview

IBM Spectrum Scale is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top Cloud Software Defined Storage tools. It is most often compared to Red Hat Ceph Storage: IBM Spectrum Scale vs Red Hat Ceph Storage

What is IBM Spectrum Scale?
IBM Spectrum Scale is a cluster file system that provides concurrent access to a single file system or set of file systems from multiple nodes. The nodes can be SAN attached, network attached, a mixture of SAN attached and network attached, or in a shared nothing cluster configuration. This enables access to this common set of data to support a scale-out solution or to provide a high availability platform. IBM Spectrum Scale has many features beyond common data access including data replication, policy based storage management, and multi-site operations. You can create a cluster of AIX nodes, Linux nodes, Windows server nodes, or a mix of all three. IBM Spectrum Scale can run on virtualized instances providing common data access in environments, leverage logical partitioning, or other hypervisors. Multiple IBM Spectrum Scale clusters can share data within a location or across wide area network (WAN) connections.
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Technical Assoc at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
As far as capacity is concerned, it can handle most heavy loads

What is our primary use case?

We use it a lot for sharing file systems between several Red Hat and AIX servers. It is mostly for different lines of business. It works pretty well. We have been using it for almost a decade now. It is actually one of the better products of IBM. We have seen applications come and go, but Spectrum Scale is one of those things where we have had more customers move into the product than other vendors' solutions.

Pros and Cons

  • "It makes our file system sharing a lot easier, even across different continents. We have had file systems shared across different continents with no performance degradation."
  • "It has been pretty reliable throughout the years. As far as capacity is concerned, it can handle most heavy loads."
  • "Maybe it needs integration with HA."
  • "They should probably simply the Red Hat implementation portion. This portion was not as straightforward as I would like it to be."

What other advice do I have?

There is nothing else that even compares to Spectrum Scale. We have had customers who switched to AIX just because of it. It is doing more than it is expected to do as far as file sharing.
Client Server Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Can operate multiple systems within the same file system

What is our primary use case?

We use it for distributed file systems.

How has it helped my organization?

We use it primarily in our SAP organization. It allows us to have a centralized location where we can put our files and distribute them among different applications.

What is most valuable?

We can have multiple systems within the same file system. The performance right now on the file system is better than NAS.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, the stability is pretty good. We do have some issues where Spectrum Scale does not work as expected. We have seen our Spectrum Scale servers go down unexpectedly, but because we have a cluster, it does not take out the entire organization. …
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Senior Unix Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Allows us to share files across multiple environments

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for our SAS work and data areas. It is performing very well for us. We have data centers onsite and offsite (for whenever we do DR failover). Right now, we manage just one instance of it.

Pros and Cons

  • "Allows us to share files across multiple environments."
  • "It is incredibly scalable and stable."
  • "Making it a little easier to add bad file sets would help. There is a transition to how you add storage and how you add a file set, so making that a little smoother would probably be my recommendation."

What other advice do I have?

I would definitely recommend Spectrum Scale.
Engineer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
We use it for its great servicing high availability

What is our primary use case?

It performs well. We use it for our data over multiple systems. At the same time, it is a shared file system. It works pretty well for the most part. We have an on-premise infrastructure. It is basically shared disks. They run three of them through the network. So, we set up NSD disks on all the machines. All the nodes can write to them, and we can have as many nodes as we want to put into the environment. That part works well. We have approximately 500 instances.

Pros and Cons

  • "Its great servicing high availability. That is what it is used for."
  • "This is probably the biggest challenge, getting everything upgraded, because it just takes time. We wish it was a faster solution to be able to do everything at once, but you have do each node individually. The more nodes, the longer it takes."
  • "The main issue that we have now is with the encryption. They want to use more metrics in encryption, which is not working very well."

What other advice do I have?

The product is good. There are other products out there. You should look to see what you really need. Main criteria for selecting a vendor: The bandwidth. It has the data available to do a lot of nodes at the same time. This product was available at the time.