IBM Spectrum Virtualize Overview

IBM Spectrum Virtualize is the #9 ranked solution in our list of top Software Defined Storage (SDS) tools. It is most often compared to VMware vSAN: IBM Spectrum Virtualize vs VMware vSAN

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: June 2021

IBM Spectrum Virtualize Customers

Pelephone, Sprint IT Enterprise Services

IBM Spectrum Virtualize Video

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Sr. Technical Specialist at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
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.

Pros and Cons

  • "It has the ability to seamlessly move hardware in and out as we refresh technology."
  • "It provides transparency, because of its advanced copy features."
  • "The SVC gives excellent performance with tiered storage behind it."

    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.
    Enterprise Architect at QCM Technologies
    Real User
    It simplifies access and lowers cost

    What is our primary use case?

    It provides a control plane for the data plane. With Spectrum Virtualize, you can extract the physical storage, then hide it and give it flexibility. Most of my implementations have been on-premise. We could stand up a software instance someplace else and connect to it. However, most people that I work with get it in an appliance format. They use it to migrate off of existing storage. When lease expiration of something is occurring, they will use it to save value and migrate everything. Then, I will see them in a traditional Fibre Channel, a SAN connected to server architecture, or both in… more »

    Pros and Cons

    • "It lowers cost. It does so by getting more efficient use out of the technology behind it."
    • "The scalability is very good. It can handle anywhere from very small to large enterprise class."
    • "Tighter integration with cloud storage might be useful as a target for a variety of use cases."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend Spectrum Virtualize. Across the industry, nobody matches it. Do your homework and architect the solution upfront. The technology will stand by itself if you have done it right. Customers' main criteria when selecting a solution: Most of my customers buy it in the appliance format, whether it is a Storwize product or something else. They are competitively shopping products, so cost is important along with scalability and usability. They typically start to believe once they see the interfaces, and they like the usability side of it. A lot of my customers have been dissatisfied…
    Find out what your peers are saying about IBM, Dell EMC, DataCore and others in Software Defined Storage (SDS). Updated: June 2021.
    509,641 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    IT Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
    Real User
    It has a lot of advanced functions for a reasonable price

    What is our primary use case?

    We have a lot of different customers, such as banks and retail customers. In banks, it is mainly used for open environment testing. We have some retail customers, and they use it mostly for their test environments. Retail customers also use the DS8000 for production, because it is a more robust platform. It is performing well in most cases. The disk reliability is not that good, not as good as with some of these products. Most of our customers run their solutions via on-premise instances.

    Pros and Cons

    • "When we add storage behind it, the product is good for the customers because their customers do not notice that anything is happening due to the virtualization."
    • "The Storwize port is not so stable."
    • "The disk reliability is not that good."
    • "There are big arrays now, and if a customer wants add more disks to it, you have to have another array. Adding disks to existing arrays is one of the most demanded things from our customers."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend IBM Spectrum Virtualize. Mainly, our customers are IBM friendly and have mostly IBM equipment. Customers' most important criteria when selecting a vendor: cost.
    Senior Storage Engineer at ADT Corporation
    Vendor
    Provides a single view that all hosts see simultaneously

    What is our primary use case?

    The main reason for our utilizing the product: * 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. * The mobility that it gives us to move around to different performing storage arrays, depending on their load. * The ease of the mobility, the flash copy product, and the copy services.

    Pros and Cons

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

    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.
    KV
    Systems Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    We are happy with the support that IBM provides us

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it to virtualize some different storage units. It can virtualize and provide some good migration and disaster recovery options. Our infrastructure is on-premise. We have two POWER8 systems. For the storage, we have FlashSystem 900s, FlashSystem 820s, and Flash V7000s behind the SVCs.

    Pros and Cons

    • "We can failover easily, because a lot of our data is replicated from family to the second replication."
    • "We are happy with the support that IBM provides us."
    • "Anything which improves performance and the ability of our systems would be a nice."
    • "In general, the migration is complicated. Though, it is case-by-case."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend this solution. Main criteria when selecting a vendor: Upgrading our systems and migrating to newer storage products, as we are always on a time crunch.
    Solutions Architect at Direct Systems Support
    Real User
    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.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The ability to have a feature-rich software set which extends the capabilities of the back-end storage arrays."
    • "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."
    • "Level 1 technical support needs improvement."

    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.
    Manager of Infrastructure at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    The simplicity of the product makes IBM Spectrum Visualize a pleasure to use

    Pros and Cons

    • "Although the GUI from the XIV was used (in my view), IBM has polished and refined the GUI providing a pleasant and easy to navigate GUI experience."
    • "GUI should be developed in HTML5 as opposed to Java."

    What other advice do I have?

    HTML5, please.
    Principal Specialist and Solution Consultant at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Consultant
    For me the most useful has been the virtualisation of back-end SAN disk systems

    Pros and Cons

    • "Migration from configurations where servers have storage provisioned from older SAN disk systems to newer storage systems is almost seamless using image mode migration techniques, with only a short outage of the servers."
    • "Adding features for data deduplication is one area of improvement."

    What other advice do I have?

    Spectrum Virtualize has a long history, with the original SAN Volume Controllers (SVC) using early versions of the software. The software on these appliances has had several name changes over the years. I have worked on and been involved with pre-sales, design and implementation on the early SVCs from 2005, and more recently the Storwize implementation, V7000s, 5000s and 3700s. So, product 2145-xxx, 2076, 2077, 2072 and so on. These are all IBM appliances, with their Spectrum Virtualize software running on them. Obtain a well-qualified technical specialist/architect to review the design and…
    Storage Chief Architect at Unisys
    Vendor
    It virtualizes the servers from the storage.

    Pros and Cons

    • "One of the main features of Spectrum Virtualize is it virtualizes the servers from the storage. We have a very large infrastructure. A major advantage is when you get the aged storage arrays and you have to replace all of those."
    • "There are things that occur when you get to this size and capacity. We're very large, i.e., petabytes. When you get to that sheer volume of the numbers of things, it is too big for people to keep track of."

    What other advice do I have?

    If you're going to implement this, we have a highly technically skilled team. We hired them and put them together for this purpose. So, if you're in a traditional environment without this, either hire a service like us to come in and help you get started and get “flying lessons”. Once you're good and once your team is good, once your staff is up to speed, then they can take over if they want. This usually takes about a year. We offer a one year set of services. Afterwards, they can take over if they want to, or they can keep the service there. Once they're there, they'll never look back. It's…
    Technical Specialist at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
    Consultant
    It gives us the ability to move the data across multiple storage devices.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend it. IBM is not the best in the disk storage industry, but they pull out some good tricks.
    Storage Administrator at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Consultant
    It is flexible. We can easily add any additional product from the background.

    What other advice do I have?

    This is an absolutely outstanding product and anyone can use it with ease. It can do everything.
    Storage administrator at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
    Vendor
    It helps us to manage our storage in a way that allows us to put different frames inside or out of our storage infrastructure.

    What other advice do I have?

    In regards to the vendor selection, it's a price versus reward scenario. We have to be very conscious of what we spend and we have to make sure that the company is spending their money well. So, we're able to buy the products that allow us to have uptime. If you can afford it, get it. It's great.
    Archiect at Gulf Business Machines
    MSP
    It gives flexibility to the customers to view the entire storage infrastructure as a single entity.

    What other advice do I have?

    I shall definitely recommend it.
    Client technical architect at Gbm
    MSP
    It can virtualize your data center. You can move one storage tier to another storage tier.

    What other advice do I have?

    Close your eyes and go for it.
    Storage Administrator at a university with 10,001+ employees
    Vendor
    Being able to move things around from one array to the other is the biggest feature. We need resiliency and stability in the features.

    What other advice do I have?

    I'd tell them that it's a good product and they should implement it. They probably should not run the latest code and they should look very carefully at advanced features. When selecting a vendor, honesty is one of the first things to consider, and then stability and resiliency of the products. Performance is nice, but the applications that I support need bullet-proof stuff behind it with no down time.
    KC
    Storage Architect at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
    Consultant
    It enabled us to virtualize the data center for the Internal Revenue Service.

    What other advice do I have?

    It's easy to implement. Just become a partner with IBM and you will be successful.
    Team Lead for Storage and Backup at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Consultant
    We can use different storage products in the back-end and one code base for mirroring.

    What other advice do I have?

    Difficult question. You have to look at your environment and what you need to do there. I think Spectrum Visualize is a very good product to address a lot of problems.
    IT Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    It works across different technologies such as flash and regular drives.

    What other advice do I have?

    I'd recommend it, for sure. It offers supportability, reliability, and some scalability. The vendor is there as a partner.
    Storage Engineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
    Vendor
    We use the tool to manage our storage.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would say, definitely give this a look. In the past, we've also looked at other solutions. So far, especially from the management point of view, being the administrator for the systems, it can't be beat. I think the tool itself is really intuitive. It's really easy and has a lot of features. Ease of management is the biggest thing. We've been pretty happy with the performance. Probably the biggest hit, though, is the support.
    Storage Admin at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    It gives us a single pane of glass between our host and our back-end storage.

    What other advice do I have?

    Absolutely. Period. Do it.
    Media Storage Services Manager at a media company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Vendor
    Provides the virtualization of the disk between disparate places.

    Pros and Cons

    • "Using SBC, a valuable feature is the mirroring, which is the virtualization of the disk between disparate places."
    • "For improvement considerations, I would probably say multiple sites."

    What other advice do I have?

    It fills the use case quite well. I would recommend it.
    Storage Admin at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    The most valuable feature is its ease of use.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature for is its ease of use.

    What needs improvement?

    I have nothing to suggest regarding improvements. It's fine.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability is pretty good.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is good.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is sometimes good and sometimes okay.

    What other advice do I have?

    Give it a try.
    Storage Admin Analyst at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    MSP
    The product enables us to retrieve our client data at any given point in time.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The most valuable feature is its reliability."
    • "They are actually working on one bug we found, which was with flash restore. This was the user interface design for virtual environments."

    What other advice do I have?

    We look for reliability of the product itself. It's an excellent product. I would not be penny wise and pound foolish, though. I would honestly utilize as much IBM as I could. I'm an old system manager in multiple, prior jobs. I would always stick with IBM across the board, especially if you look at the high-end tape units. They will get around to the correct drivers and everything. It's much easier to use all IBM. If you use someone else's server, whether it is an X86 or whatever, you get finger pointed if something doesn't exactly work right. This is especially the case with tape drives, and…
    Technical analyst 3 at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Data migration allows us to bring in back-end systems and swap data out.

    Pros and Cons

    • "It's got full features, so we can compress volumes. We can do thin volumes and we can change them on the fly."
    • "The integration would be an option that we would like, but I understand that's not how it's going to be implemented."

    What other advice do I have?

    Get a demo of it. If you haven't seen the product and you have not had somebody step you through all of the features and all the things that you can do with it, then I think it would be really tough to see where adding another set of controllers in front of your storage is benefiting you. You might be thinking, that's just another hop and it's another delay in getting to my data. I think you will see the value of this solution once you: * See it plugged in * Understand what's going to come with being able to move, compress, and virtualize your data in one interface * Are able to manage all the…
    Senior Storage Analyst at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Gives us the ability to migrate storage without impacting the client.

    What is most valuable?

    To be able to seamlessly migrate storage sub-systems underneath Spectrum Virtualize.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Being able to migrate storage without impacting the client.

    What needs improvement?

    The ability to migrate between clusters, like between Spectrum Virtualize clusters, seamlessly.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Very good. Very stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability needs some work in some areas. The number of volumes needs to be increased drastically.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is very good.

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

    We were using Direct Attached DS8000 before and we switched for scalability. …
    Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    Gives you the capability of putting heterogeneous storage systems in one management pane.

    What other advice do I have?

    Good luck finding anything that does half of what it does. When looking for a vendor, I look for reliability. I've had lots of good experiences with it. It's been a very reliable product and the feature set is something you can't get anywhere else.
    Enterprise Storage Consultant at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Consultant
    We do not have to take any kind of outage to do a storage data migration.

    What other advice do I have?

    Next to the DSA1000, it's the most enterprise thing that IBM has for storage. Make sure that it really has all the things that Spectrum Virtualize has, where you can upgrade the hardware and the software and everything without taking any kind of outage. And that's for infinity, not just for the life cycle with that version of the product, but for each subsequent version. It's all done on the fly. When choosing a vendor, I look for support.
    CO
    Storage/SAN Administrator at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Allows for disaster recovery with global mirror.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The most valuable features are the simplicity of use, the flexibility, and the options included. I mean, it's just a big time saver."
    • "I already discussed possible improvements with some of the guys from Hearnsley. One of our frustrations is when you go to expand volumes in a global mirror environment, you have to stop everything in order to expand. So that's one of the things."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would absolutely recommend it. I would ask them, "Why are you waiting?"
    Database Administrator at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    We can move data where we need it to be and stick storage solutions on the back-end.

    What other advice do I have?

    I'm not sure. I'd ask them why they haven't done it already.
    Lead Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Consultant
    Provides disaster recovery, replication, and multi-site setup.

    What other advice do I have?

    My advice would be to familiarize yourself with the levels of virtualization and understand how the product works at a lower level in order to implement it.
    IT System Architect at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    It helps us with automation and migration between other vendors for storage.

    What is most valuable?

    It is very good for compatibility and stability.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It helps us with the management of automation and migration between other vendors for storage.

    What needs improvement?

    I had some ideas for improvement, but I can't recall them at the moment.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    For us, the stability is great. We don't have a problem with this solution. We have our own systems and we integrate with other systems. When we have stability problems because of compatibility between other vendors, the same vendor, and many solutions, we lose money because of longer implementation times.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Regarding scalability, it depends. We had some problems with…