We just raised a $30M Series A: Read our story

IBM Spectrum Virtualize OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

IBM Spectrum Virtualize is #9 ranked solution in top Software Defined Storage (SDS) tools. IT Central Station users give IBM Spectrum Virtualize an average rating of 8 out of 10. IBM Spectrum Virtualize is most commonly compared to Dell EMC VPLEX:IBM Spectrum Virtualize vs Dell EMC VPLEX. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 30% of all views.
What is IBM Spectrum Virtualize?

IBM Spectrum Virtualize is a dependable solution that improves data value, security, and simplicity for new and existing storage infrastructure. Proven over 12 years in thousands of deployments, its innovative virtualization capabilities help organizations achieve better data economics by supporting new workloads that are critical to their success. IBM Spectrum Virtualize software helps make new and existing storage more effective and standardizes functions traditionally deployed separately in disk systems for greater flexibility and potentially lower costs.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Software Defined Storage (SDS) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

IBM Spectrum Virtualize Customers

Pelephone, Sprint IT Enterprise Services

IBM Spectrum Virtualize Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about IBM Spectrum Virtualize pricing:
  • "The entry point of pricing for this product is the most amazing price ever in the industry."
  • "I am very happy with the pricing. There is no comparison when it comes to pricing. I have looked at all solutions from EMC, Veritas, Hitachi, Dell, etc. None of them compares to IBM when it comes to pricing. I get great pricing from them."
  • "This solution came as an additional cost for the TSM package we chose."

IBM Spectrum Virtualize Reviews

Filter by:
Filter Reviews
Industry
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Company Size
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Job Level
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Rating
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Considered
Loading...
Filter Unavailable
Order by:
Loading...
  • Date
  • Highest Rating
  • Lowest Rating
  • Review Length
Search:
Showingreviews based on the current filters. Reset all filters
MD
Senior Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
MSP
Top 5Leaderboard
Enables us to build an infrastructure and replace storage with no disruption to our hosts whatsoever.

Pros and Cons

  • "I like all the features, but the most impressive recently has been the introduction of IBM's Flash Core Modules. They are a form of a flash drive, but they have many more features."
  • "t is limited in terms of a single system to eight nodes or four, what they call IO groups."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for all our block storage requirements. I was a user of the storage between 2004 and 2017, i.e. 13 years. We sell service, assist others with storage. We have been using it since 2004, and we have used all versions of the product. It is currently up-to-date. We are a platinum business partner of IBM, but we also have competing business partnerships with other companies, such as Dell. It is a product line as opposed to a singular product. There are entry mid-level and enterprise-level tiers of products, the lowest end entry, which is comprehensive in terms of being able to deliver millions of IOPS and microsecond latencies all the way up to the upper level of that product line. All the products have high availability. My clients are generally government agencies. We also have some commercial businesses, and they range overall categories, but mostly it's used by the government. However, even in government situations, there are ranges of business in terms of small, medium and large business size, given the environment we are deploying into. Some agencies have minimal budgets, and I would classify that as a very small business, but some are large. We deploy it both on the cloud and on-premise.

How has it helped my organization?

It enabled us to build an infrastructure and replace storage with no disruption to our hosts whatsoever. It's an amazing capability, and we stayed with it. I loved the product so much that while I had learned about several other products, none of them compares unless you're looking for a precise capability. This is a general-purpose but very high-performance system when it comes to flash systems. There are cases where you need more performance than possible with the system's design, but you always have to pick your top requirement.  Most people have similar requirements. They want decent response time, decent costs, a plethora of functionality, including remote and local copy services. It addresses all of those concerns, but it has to sacrifice resources here and there to be that capable. You can't get 32 petabytes running 20 million IOPS at .07 microseconds. Generally, there are limitations to everything. Some systems could offer that, but of course, it'd be memory-based only, and they wouldn't have any storage and cost 1000 times what this solution costs. So there are limitations to everything.

What is most valuable?

I like all the features, but the most impressive recently has been the introduction of IBM's Flash Core Modules. They are a form of a flash drive, but they have many more features. They actually have embedded computers in them. Each drive has its own computer and performs compression and encryption. It also manages the flash chips inside it, including multiple low levels of the raid. They typically have a response time of 70 microseconds. They also have NVMR attached.

What needs improvement?

It is limited in terms of a single system to eight nodes or four, what they call IO groups. However, this is still 32 petabytes worth of capacity, so it is substantial. In theory, you could have tens of thousands of volumes, so it can be considered a limitation.

For how long have I used the solution?

I was a user of the storage between 2004 and 2017, i.e. 13 years. I am associated with as an IBM business partner. I sell service, assist others with storage. We have been using it since 2004, and we have used all versions of the product. It is currently up-to-date.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have seen issues where the system just basically failed, depending on how you raid some volumes. For example, if you use raid five and you happen to have a dual drive failure. No matter what system it is, you will have a problem; you will lose data. Compared to other systems, I would say it is at the top of that list regarding availability, reliability, and serviceability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has one limitation: you can only scale a single system to eight nodes, and they call that four IO groups. It's got its limitations. I would say scalability is for 99.5% of the cases in the business world the product is used for.

How are customer service and technical support?

As with any tech support, the design of the tech support infrastructure influences exactly how they respond to their clients. If I were a customer who didn't have a huge amount of skill or knowledge about this product, they would find it totally satisfactory and excellent eventually, given the support available. It has multiple layers to technical support. When you first call in, the first layer is really basically a gathering of information to kind of pass you on to someone who can actually help you. It's a little laborious, just like any help desk is; whether it's Comcast, Verizon, EMC, Dell, HP, they're all the same. You have to get through their system. Once you have identified the problem, and they couldn't find a solution immediately from historical records of the same kind of problem, you will eventually get to someone who will fix the problem and devise and modify code if necessary. The support is the best there is.

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

We have looked at Hitachi Data Systems products and HP's product line, but it is ageing and old. In 1998, I worked for the U.S Department of energy with a couple of federal people and myself. We architected a solution that essentially matches what most people do today, except that it's moving into the cloud. All current data centers use a similar design and architecture that we conceived back in 1998 and implemented using IBM's. It wasn't called spectrum virtualize; it was called San volume controller, and it still is. It is the same in that sense as it was back then, but it's grown tremendously in capability and functionality. We chose it at the time because it did what we needed it to do. We did not want to be constrained by having to purchase storage from one single vendor. We wanted to be able to purchase from IBM, EMC, Hitachi data systems, HP; whoever we felt at the moment had the best price and product, we want them to be able to purchase it without disruption.

How was the initial setup?

You plug something into an ethernet port in the back, typically a laptop, and you go through three steps, and the system is initialized. It is effortless and straightforward.

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

The entry point of pricing for this product is the most amazing price ever in the industry. You'd have to compare it with others. I would say their price is excellent given their support, the capabilities of the product, and knowledge of their product. There are tens of thousands of these units, maybe hundreds of thousands, deployed throughout the world. Nobody can beat the price of the low end, especially for the performance. You couldn't even beat it with spinning disk technology. 

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to talk to someone who knows the product and learn it well enough. It is such a capable product that a sales, five minute or 30-minute brief could not possibly do it justice. The way they should approach looking for a product if they're looking for storage is to indicate what they need the product to achieve exactly. That's how you determine whether the product is suitable or not. Of course, consider your budget. It is best to have all your requirements available upfront. This product operates in the old legacy world where you have data centres and servers on your floor with racks in your data centre. It operates in a containerized world that began in 2014 with Kubernetes, and it operates flawlessly and seamlessly in all those environments. It even has a component, which I would say is a bit lacklustre. I'm not sure I understand how much people would need it, but it even has a component that will operate in a cloud environment. So in an AWS or Azure, or Google cloud, the spectrum virtualize component actually works there. It's a bit less capable in the cloud because it has limitations in that environment, but it enables you to move between those environments if you wish seamlessly. 

I'd rate this product a 9 out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

IBM
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Flag as inappropriate
JJ
Solutions Platform Architect at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
A non-disruptive solution that does not require constant fine-tuning

Pros and Cons

  • "There are many benefits to this solution. Storage virtualization and the ability to migrate massive amounts of data to other systems without impacting your client are the most valuable. It is non-disruptive for my users. We migrated 350 terabytes of data in one night to a new machine without a small system going down and a single user complaining about the performance. You have to fine-tune a lot of storage machines constantly for performance and for making sure that they are optimal, but IBM Spectrum Virtualize does this by itself. It does the adjustment on its own, and it does it right. That's what makes it different. I had a huge VSP from Hitachi, which is also a type of virtualization-based engine but with a decent size. It was a continuous performance-tuning exercise. I never had that issue with IBM Spectrum Virtualize."
  • "I hate I/O groups. If you start swapping I/O groups, they can be potentially risky. If they could get rid of the whole I/O group principle, the risk is not there anymore. I understand the fundamental thing about I/O groups, but they are risky."

What is our primary use case?

It is used for continuity, protecting stuff in the cloud, and migrating data from a legacy device to a new device. 

The big solution that I last implemented was called IBM HyperSwap on SVCs. It is now called IBM Spectrum Virtualize. The solution we build was basically a high availability data center. I replicated all my data with IBM HyperSwap so that if a data center gets destroyed, you can fire up everything on the other side in minutes. It was very fast.

What is most valuable?

There are many benefits to this solution. Storage virtualization and the ability to migrate massive amounts of data to other systems without impacting your client are the most valuable. It is non-disruptive for my users. We migrated 350 terabytes of data in one night to a new machine without a small system going down and a single user complaining about the performance.

You have to fine-tune a lot of storage machines constantly for performance and for making sure that they are optimal, but IBM Spectrum Virtualize does this by itself. It does the adjustment on its own, and it does it right. That's what makes it different. I had a huge VSP from Hitachi, which is also a type of virtualization-based engine but with a decent size. It was a continuous performance-tuning exercise. I never had that issue with IBM Spectrum Virtualize.

What needs improvement?

I hate I/O groups. If you start swapping I/O groups, they can be potentially risky. If they could get rid of the whole I/O group principle, the risk is not there anymore. I understand the fundamental thing about I/O groups, but they are risky.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using IBM Spectrum Virtualize for probably ten years. I used to be a service provider. Now I am working for the clients, and I am deploying the solutions myself.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have had some issues where I was losing new features, but most of the problems were coming from the firmware. The problem is that most people won't have a test environment for this solution because you need to virtualize other storage. This means building another solution, which won't make sense at the end of the day. The firmware goes right into your production, and there you go. There were also a few other bugs on a site that troubled me for probably eight months.

How are customer service and technical support?

I had contacted them for a firmware issue. In South Africa, IBM's support is not very much up to scratch, which is a bit of a problem. When the pressure was put, they were able to get resources from other countries and assist us. 

The local support is very weak in South Africa. I have raised this issue with my account managers many times. When you start talking about issues, they are completely confused. As soon as I stumble upon a problem and start hammering them, they bring in an international support person who then solves the problem. So, they can get your problem resolved but using local resources from South Africa is a problem.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is a bit complex because there are a lot of pieces that you need to check and know beforehand, but once you have implemented it, you can forget about it. It runs on its own.

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

I am very happy with the pricing. There is no comparison when it comes to pricing. I have looked at all solutions from EMC, Veritas, Hitachi, Dell, etc. None of them compares to IBM when it comes to pricing. I get great pricing from them.

What other advice do I have?

I would absolutely recommend this solution for any big company that has storage devices and is moving towards things like software-defined storage. It is definitely a key tool to have, but you need to make sure that you can afford it, and you do it right. Otherwise, you will not get any sleep.

You have to get it right from the word go, and that is important. Once you get it there, it just runs, and you can forget about it. According to me, this is the leading exporting storage utilization engine in the world. There are only a few solutions that can do what this solution does. Most of the other solutions are years behind this solution. 

I would rate IBM Spectrum Virtualize a nine out of ten. The only issue in this solution is related to the firmware that is released. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
Find out what your peers are saying about IBM, Dell EMC, DataCore and others in Software Defined Storage (SDS). Updated: November 2021.
554,382 professionals have used our research since 2012.
PK
Storage Administrator at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Allows VMs, informative instructions, and reliable

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to add the virtual machine on the Spectrum environment to sort out the data movers(DMs) and their schedules is a valuable feature. You are able to have, for example, four data movers to balance them so you do not have too much work on one data mover."
  • "The only errors I find sometimes is the solution tells me I cannot operate it because a service has turned off, you can just go back to the VM, go to services, and turn back the services. However, this should improve."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution to run our virtual machines.

What is most valuable?

The ability to add the virtual machine on the Spectrum environment to sort out the data movers(DMs) and their schedules is a valuable feature. You are able to have, for example, four data movers to balance them so you do not have too much work on one data mover.

Once you know how to run the commands it tells you what has been backed up and which DM did not get backed up. You have what you call DSM errors. The system talks to the schedule and then it knows why and what happened with a certain backup that was not completed. When you are trying to troubleshoot you are able to go back to the DSM or OPT error files and scroll down and see why the backup did not run. It gives you the error number allowing you to go back to see what the issue was.

What needs improvement?

When comparing this solution to others it is running 1.5 but should be on a 2.0 and the difficulty is a little higher to operate at first which could be improved.

The only errors I find sometimes is the solution tells me I cannot operate it because a service has turned off, you can just go back to the VM, go to services, and turn back the services. However, this should improve.

For how long have I used the solution?

We use the solution to backup data.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have found the solution to be very stable.

How was the initial setup?

There is no maintenance required because it runs very smoothly.

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

This solution came as an additional cost for the TSM package we chose.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have evaluated Cohesity, Veeam, and Commvault.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to those wanted to implement this solution would be it is very useful and will give you all the details you need; how to set up the data movers, make sure they are balanced so that the load is distributed evenly, how to set it up and get all the documents in place once you log in.

I rate IBM Spectrum Virtualize an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Flag as inappropriate