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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: October 2021

IBM Spectrum Virtualize Customers

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Archived IBM Spectrum Virtualize Reviews (more than two years old)

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it_user12768
Sr. Technical Specialist at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Seamlessly moves hardware in and out as we refresh technology

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 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.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has the ability to seamlessly move hardware in and out as we refresh technology. It provides transparency, because of its advanced copy features. 

    Our disaster recovery has also improved drastically because I am able to use a lot of the Spectrum Virtualize features to create multiple copies that we use to test and do development. Our disaster recovery plan tests are always successful, which is good. I have had zero downtime in the last three years.

    What is most valuable?

    The SVC gives excellent performance with tiered storage behind it, and the Spectrum Control suite. The newest versions that I have now are very useful in terms of managing, monitoring, and alerting. The full suite handles everything I need. We have had a lot of success through the years with Virtualize, which was originally just SVC, and we use it heavily. My environments are extremely large and busy, and it does the job without any problems. So, we are very happy with it.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    More than five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It has been very stable. I am pushing a very heavy workload, a couple million I/Os at peak times. I have very heavy throughput with a lot databases: a lot Oracle, a lot of VMware and virtualization, and a lot of midrange virtualization. So, it is handling every platform.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I could scale out really easy with the virtualized product in terms of how I do the tiering behind it. 

    We will never probably have everything in the cloud at this point, not until technology can catch up on the from a telecommunications perspective. We have a hybrid type of environment. Right now, we have an on-prem cloud that manages our VMware environment, so the orchestration is centered around that. It's a VMware product, but we anticipate seeing cloud handle a lot of our needs from a file share perspective and collaboration. There are some Microsoft initiatives going on at the moment, and we use cloud for that. 

    We are waiting to see where we might be able to fit in with some cloud alternatives, e.g., backup archiving. We are looking at a IBM's cloud products which handle the archiving side of things. 

    We are not looking at platform as a service and infrastructure right now. We just have too much load and heavy workload that we just could not get the performance that we would want there yet. 

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Technical support has been excellent for all products: SVC, Storwize, DS8000, and FlashSystem. Every one of the different hardware products that I have, I have always had good support. They are very reliable. Therefore, I have been happy with the support.

    How was the initial setup?

    I set up, bought, designed, purchased, and implemented all of the storage myself.

    There were some complex technologies. I learned to go take classes and educate myself, as it is always straightforward when you read the red books. If you follow the best practices and do all the things IBM told you to do, it is always easy. If you do not, you can get in trouble. So, I found it to be very straightforward.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    EMC originally was on my list when we were refreshing again six years ago. I decided to introduce EMC back into the fold to create competition. The reason IBM Storage won out over EMC and Hitachi was just performance. It scaled and performed better in our tests and PoCs. There was not enough of a business reason for me to completely change vendors. 

    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.

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

    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 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 virtualized servers as well as standalone.

    I do not personally manage any instances, but I have several dozen customers that I have deployed this solution for, so it is up and running in their production.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It lowers cost. It does so by getting more efficient use out of the technology behind it. 

    It also simplifies access. You set it and forget it for a lot of things.

    What is most valuable?

    • Ease of use
    • Scalability 
    • The product comes in hardware, software, and appliance models, so I have a lot of choice on how we deploy it and its interoperability.

    What needs improvement?

    Tighter integration with cloud storage might be useful as a target for a variety of use cases. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    More than five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability is very good. I have been working with the product for probably 15 years. I have put it in production during critical workloads without a problem.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is very good. It can handle anywhere from very small to large enterprise class.

    It can handle our customers' future growth. The hardware behind it may get more commoditized, but the capabilities of Spectrum Virtualize remains the same. It still provides value.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is very good. Most of the support personnel that I have talked to were very knowledgeable, which has always been good.

    How was the initial setup?

    Originally, it was probably complex. Now, it is straightforward. It is pretty easy to deploy, and with a basic understanding, it comes together easily.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Our customers usually evaluate Dell EMC and Hitachi, but also some of the other newer flash environments, like Compellent. 

    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 with other vendors, so this is a rallying point for them. I do not have anybody who has been sorry.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Business partner.
    Find out what your peers are saying about IBM, Dell EMC, DataCore and others in Software Defined Storage (SDS). Updated: October 2021.
    552,136 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    it_user868257
    IT Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
    Real User
    It has a lot of advanced functions for a reasonable price

    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 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.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The versatility is the main benefit. Since it virtualizes everything, they use it for so many different things. 

    It is also good for them when we do upgrades, etc. When we add storage behind it, the product is also good for the customers because their customers do not notice that anything is happening due to the virtualization.

    What is most valuable?

    Its versatility, as it has a lot of advanced functions for a reasonable price.

    What needs improvement?

    We would like the right support and the ability to add disks concurrently to arrays. 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 do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The SVC port (virtualized port) is very stable, but the Storwize port is not so stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is very scalable.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    In the past, the technical support has been very good. However, lately, it has not been so good as they are moving the support to Bulgaria. We are really unhappy about this.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is straightforward.

    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.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Business Partner.
    it_user868239
    Senior Storage Engineer at ADT Corporation
    Vendor
    Provides a single view that all hosts see simultaneously

    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 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.
    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

    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 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.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We can failover easily, because a lot of our data is replicated from family to the second replication.

    What is most valuable?

    • The replication
    • The flash copies

    What needs improvement?

    We would like the CPU cycle to save more on the licensing costs for us. Also, anything which improves performance and the ability of our systems would be a nice.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is pretty stable. We have not had that much downtime. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is pretty scalable, as far as the storage which can be added using any additional storage units. We can get two individual storage units or we can add trays to the V7000s, since migrating from one storage unit to another is pretty easy. 

    How is customer service and technical support?

    We do use them when there are issues, when we do upgrade, migrate, and work with business partners. We are happy with the support that IBM provides us.

    What about the implementation team?

    On some of the POWER8 systems, I was involved with the migration.

    We worked with business partners, and more recently, with IBM Labs for migration. We have been happy with them. 

    In general, the migration is complicated. Though, it is case-by-case.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did not evaluate any other competitors.

    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.

    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.
    Lance Hawkes
    Solutions Architect at Direct Systems Support
    Real User
    A single pane of glass management interface; one place to go to manage everything

    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 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.
    ITCS user
    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."

    How has it helped my organization?

    The simplicity of the product makes IBM Spectrum Virtualize a pleasure to use. With numerous islands of storage arrays, this allowed the company to effectively "pool" all the numerous storage arrays and encouraged a tiered storage approach. The speed at which snapshots can be created are impressive with clones copies taking longer due to the nature of a clone (VM) vs snapshot (copy of VM disk file). Google it. With all flash becoming the new standard, the IBM Spectrum Virtualize nodes boast an array (pardon the pun) of flash technology providing the performance where and when it is needed.

    What is most valuable?

    Where does one begin? 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. The IBM Spectrum Virtualize has gone from strength to strength but at the same time setting the bar for what's possible in the storage virtualization market. IBM have just recently released the new SV1 nodes which boasts integrated flash and processor power, thus providing far better response times overall.

    What needs improvement?

    Cheaper pricing and GUI should be developed in HTML5 as opposed to Java.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    No issues at all.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    IBM Spectrum Virtualize loves scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Customer Service:

    IBM service is good with no language challenges when speaking to call center agents from different countries and cultures.

    Technical Support:

    On a scale of one to five (one: terrible to five: excellent): four.

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

    No previous competing products. The challenge was to consolidate islands of storage arrays.

    How was the initial setup?

    The most challenging parts of the implementation were the initial cabling configuration. With many storage arrays needing cabling and multiple paths needing to be cabled using fibre optic LC cables, zoning also proved to add significant effort but this is to be expected and is a once-off exercise. Although regular commissioning/decommissioning of server/backup infrastructure is part of storage administration duties, the initial setup was far more intensive as an entire storage infrastructure needed to be redesigned. Once the hardware infrastructure was in place and the software configured to best practice (IBM implemented in order to ensure best practice was adhered to).

    What about the implementation team?

    Combination of onsite and vendor team.

    Vendor team was professional and well-skilled.

    What was our ROI?

    Not applicable.

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

    Liaise with both the vendor and their partners. You'd be amazed at how much you can score.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    No. Competitor products just did not offer the features we required.

    What other advice do I have?

    HTML5, please.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user694704
    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."

    How has it helped my organization?

    My view of how the product has aided my customers varies. The replication functions have assisted in the relocation of whole data centres from one site to another, the snapshotting is of value in providing several versioned recovery points for some other customers. The virtualisation of the back end storage gives performance improvements over the direct attachment of the back end storage, as storage pools spanning a large number of drives can be configured, along with the caching algorithms. The migration capability across back end storage appliances has been of particular importance to some of my customers.

    What is most valuable?

    There are several good features, many of which have similarities to that of competitive offerings from other vendors (replication, snapshot). Compression is quite useful, but for me the most useful has been the virtualisation of back-end SAN disk systems, from almost any vendor. This enables easy upgrading and updating of storage, across vendors, by moving the storage pools between the back end disk systems. 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. The hybrid storage pools, with SSD and the hard-disk drives, together with the Easy Tier feature, give high IOPs performance for most loads, without the customer needing to purchase all flash storage solutions.

    What needs improvement?

    Adding features for data deduplication is one area of improvement.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    I have encountered stability issues in situations when the customer-provided AC power has defects. A newer version of the firmware resulted in storage nodes not updating or starting.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    No issues with scalability encountered.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Currently, support is generally good, as there is an IBM support web interface to lodge calls. Once the call has been initiated, responsiveness depends on the support contract conditions. The technical expertise, once reaching level 2 or higher, is good.

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

    Going back to the SVC edition of Spectrum Virtualize, I do not recall any comparable alternative storage virtualisation solution.

    How was the initial setup?

    Like any storage implementation, the details of the complete setup of this solution requires a good understanding of the customer requirements. The base setup of the product itself has varied over time, but has always been fairly straightforward.

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

    Generally the bundled licensing is more cost effective and gives flexibility to the solution. Linking into the Spectrum Suite can also be advantageous, but depends on the scale of the enterprise.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Recently with the many storage virtualisation solutions now available, consideration of other products depends on the size of the customer and their requirements, and what vendor/technology provider may already exist in their organisation.

    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 setup if many features such as replication, snapshotting and compression are part of the solution.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672441
    Storage Chief Architect at Unisys
    Real User
    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 is most valuable?

    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. Last summer, we replaced four petabytes of aged storage arrays. They were old and past end-of-life. But we did that seamlessly, without affecting any of the server applications. There were no system admin times; nothing required at all. It was really quite good for our client. That was perfect for them.

    Our team operates four 8-Node IBM Spectrum Virtualize (SVC) clusters (32nodes total), two clusters at one site and two at a sister site with replication between the two sites.

    These four clusters have a number of storage arrays behind them to yield a total storage capacity across the four cluster of approximately ~6 petabytes of Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Data Classes. The Storage Cloud uses IBM's EasyTier feature to create different performing storage classes and uses Thin Provisioning to lower our clients requested 8 petabytes of capacity to a much less costly 5 petabytes of consumed capacity. The remaining ~1 petabyte is elasticity which is built into the Cloud.

    Our client does not have any classical maintenance windows where systems or storage can be taken down for upgrades, repairs, expansion, or replacement. Servers require 24x7x365 data access (actually 4 days are planned power outages for power testing - but no IT changes are permitted).

    So when I say our storage services to our client were provided continuously - non-stop - for 12 months, it means that all customer servers had 100% uninterrupted, online SAN access to their data 24x7x365 (minus the power down). During that time, our team provided on-demand capacity provisioning of about 700TB of new client growth and expansion, updated all cluster softwares, decommissioned ~4 petabytes of aging storage arrays, installed ~5 petabytes of new replacement / expansion arrays, and repaired a couple failed components. It really shows the power, utility, versatility and availability of our Cloud Storage design.

    The second feature that it is software-defined. Every year, we select a new release and we get new features. This gives us time to test them out. It's just very amenable to our type of delivery of services to the clients that use storage.

    In addition to that, they've been able to add some really cool functions. It started out with the usual stuff, such as thin provisioning. Then they added features like compression. Now they're actually adding transparent cloud tiering, so they can put data up in the cloud, just by taking it off of the SVC and sending to the cloud. This is very, very good for us in being able to put together a roadmap for functions for our clients of what they can do with their data.


    What needs improvement?

    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. So, it's okay if you have 50 volumes, and I can watch them. I can assign people to watch them. But when you have 5,000, it's not possible anymore. So you need capabilities within the products that would do what that person would've done watching the 50. So, they have this “cognitive IT” sort of thing going for them.

    I don't think they've realized they can apply that cognitive concept to that. It is like, "Okay, I'm going to use software to watch all that." Now, they have some of that already with Easy Tier that automatically moves data around. It is perfect. Now I need that same concept extended into other areas.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is very good. We just finished running non-stop for one year. It was perfect, with no down-time at all. Zero. 100% availability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is perfect. We're at the top of their scale though. Right now, the largest cluster they use is eight. We have eight very high performance servers running the software. That is good, but we added a second cluster to do more, which has worked quite well. You sort of wonder, “Would it be better to have a 10 node, a 12 node, or a 16 node?”

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We do use technical support. They do very good work. Because we're so big, they have a little bit of trouble tracking all the products and making sure we get connected with the reports, but, in general, they are very good.

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

    We did a fairly extensive industry search about five years ago, when we were deploying this call initially. We were not using a different product. It was a new offering; Greenfield. We looked at all the major players in the industry and selected IBM.

    When selecting a vendor, first the product has to meet future functionality. It needs to have some stability in the industry. It needs to have some past performance proof-points. Our client is somewhat risk averse, so they don't want to be first. That's very important.

    How was the initial setup?

    I was involved with the initial setup. It was very straightforward. Delivery of all the services has been very methodical and well defined.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at Hitachi, EMC, and NetApp. The major boys.

    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 one of those kinds of things and it's very good the way it works.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672438
    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 is most valuable?

    It's flexibility. It gives us the ability to move the data across multiple storage devices. That makes our lives as the implementers easy during data migration.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It makes data migration straightforward. And on the customer side, there is downtime, but it is very minimal.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see some features from the Spectrum Control, such as long term reporting. Right now, the reporting on the Storwize and Spectrum Virtualize is only for a few days. You really need another plug-in, like in Control, to get the historical performance data.

    The only thing I really don't like about Spectrum Virtualize is the application area. But it has nothing to do with the product. Most application issues come from the link provided by the telecoms.

    If they could make the application much easier, that would be great. But it's okay.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is fine. I've been working with Spectrum Virtualize for two years. I saw them encounter problems and those problems are minimal. It's pretty much stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is scalable, especially the VH8 and the SV1. You can locally attach storage to the SVC nodes. It's now more like Storwize. The scalability is head-on.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I have been working with technical support. Before moving to a business partner, I worked with IBM. There were good times and there were bad times. But pretty much, they delivered.

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

    I have had this storage platform for 10 years. I saw the progress of IBM stepping away from conventional hardware storage and going to software. IBM did pretty good research and development on it.

    When selecting hardware, I look for technical experience.

    How was the initial setup?

    I was involved in the initial setup. Most of the time, I dealt with the planning. I start with the planning rack and stack configuration, teaching the customers and then do documentation. The implementation was easy.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I did not look at any alternatives.

    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.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672423
    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 is most valuable?

    The product is very flexible, and it is very easy to add any additional product from the background; so we can use any multi-vendor backend storages and virtualize the product. It becomes a powerful virtualization engine for migrating data, for provisioning data and any type of data migration is easy.

    How has it helped my organization?

    As I have mentioned, the benefits of this solution are that it reduces time.

    Basically, we can clear the storage for faster/medium/slower access. We can make three-tiers and migrate the data easily.

    What needs improvement?

    The IBM Easy Tier works on different pools of disks and flash. Going forward when everything is Flash storage and no more spinning disks, the Easy Tier is not required. After attending the IBM Tech U, IBM is focusing on all flash storage devices. This is good and hopefully IBM pricing will have an edge over the competition.


    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability is awesome; it's very stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is absolutely outstanding and we can scale as much as we want.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    IBM technical support is awesome.

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

    Basically, we had different islands of storage from different vendors. We wanted a product to integrate all of them together. So that is why we found, IBM Spectrum Virtualize, as the product.

    How was the initial setup?

    They come to us every time when there is an initial setup, they help us with the process. The setup is very straightforward.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We have another EMC brand storage product also, but we are using both of them.

    Of course, the product is the most important criteria for vendor selection.

    What other advice do I have?

    This is an absolutely outstanding product and anyone can use it with ease. It can do everything.

    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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
    it_user672360
    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 is most valuable?

    The product helps us to manage our storage in a way that allows us to put different frames inside or out of our storage infrastructure and migrate.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The benefits are that it speeds up provisioning of the storage across different tiers and allows a small team to manage that function, for many petabytes of data.

    What needs improvement?

    I think they are doing a good job with the features that are there. I don't really have that much to add for the next release. I like what we see.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability has been outstanding. There are failures, but they are designed to have failures, and we have not had a single data loss incident, even throughout some pretty funky upgrades.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We are SVC customers and we would like to see the ability to add more nodes. After some sessions that we've had this morning, now we're understanding why this hasn't happened, but we still have hope that it will happen. We will be able to go from an 8-node cluster up to maybe a twelve or fourteen. It would make us really happy.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    For this platform, the technical support has been great. We have had very few issues that haven't been resolved, in a timely fashion.

    The expense for support and maintenance is a little bit on the heavy side.

    How was the initial setup?

    I have been involved in the initial setup process. We have production in the DR clusters, some of the production clusters have been in place prior to my arrival, but we have done the same thing in DRs.

    The setup was very straightforward. We also have a guy who we call as “our good luck charm”. He is our reseller who comes to help us out; when he is not there things don't go as good, but when he is there he doesn't do much besides bring us the food and gives us great advice. They provide good, reliable support and he is a great guy.

    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.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672429
    Archiect at Gulf Business Machines
    MSP
    It gives flexibility to the customers to view the entire storage infrastructure as a single entity.

    What is most valuable?

    The ability to virtualize multiple storage components is a valuable feature.

    It gives flexibility to the customers to view the entire storage infrastructure, as a single entity.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Some of the benefits of this solution are that the customer need not go and manage multiple systems. They can only go and manage a single management view, for all these sorts of systems.

    What needs improvement?

    The product should have better management capabilities.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    This product is very good in terms of the stability and scalability. The security features are also very good.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Basically, we evaluate the support looking into the performance. Technical support is good.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup was straightforward, not complex.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked at other solutions namely EMC and IBM.

    When I am selecting a vendor I look at the support as well and not just the product. It's the complete ecosystem of the product and support that we evaluate, before selecting a vendor.

    What other advice do I have?

    I shall definitely recommend it.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672426
    Client technical architect at Gbm
    MSP
    It can virtualize your data center. You can move one storage tier to another storage tier.

    What is most valuable?

    It is really a good product which can virtualize your whole data center. It is a road to a whole different software data center. It's a wonderful product for total cost of ownership, production, and providing ease of management.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It is all about the ease of management and better utilization of the storage capacity. It is about the dynamics of the storage. You can move one storage tier to another storage tier.

    What needs improvement?

    One very important feature is the analysis of the logs which should be there in the system. Other than that, I'm pretty satisfied with all the features in the system.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    This product has been on the market for the last fifteen years. It's a wonderful product and the new releases from IBM are just great. New functionality is being added and it's a wonderful product.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is immensely scalable. It allows me to start small. It can start at a very small footprint and then it can scale up.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    We have used tech support and it is fine. Although it could have been better

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very straightforward. It was a wizard driven, intuitive setup.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    One other vendor we considered was EMC, but this particular product really has some cool features as compared to the competitor's products.

    What other advice do I have?

    Close your eyes and go for it.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672330
    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 is most valuable?

    Being able to move things around from one array to the other has been the biggest feature for us.

    How has it helped my organization?

    There's a little bit of performance benefit. The flexibility that we get from being able to have different vendors' storage arrays presented as one homogenous unit to our hosts has been the main benefit.

    What needs improvement?

    Currently, the newer features exceed our needs. What we really need is resiliency and stability in the features that are out there and do run.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using the system for twelve years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's been pretty stable, but we've had some issues. I wouldn't say it's poor, but the resiliency has been less than what we expect from an enterprise class product.

    It appears to us, over several decades, that quality control waxes and wanes. That's scary for us, because as a new system comes out and we install it, we really expect it to be an enterprise class product and not to have problems. We expect it all to be bullet-proof, and it hasn't been in our experience.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is limited, but it meets our needs.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Generally, technical support is good.

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

    It's been a long time now, about twelve years. I forgot about previous solutions.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward.

    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.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    KC
    Storage Architect at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    It enabled us to virtualize the data center for the Internal Revenue Service.

    What is most valuable?

    It enables us to virtualize the entire data center for the Internal Revenue Service. We have about seven or eight terabytes of data behind SVC right now. Before we took this over as a managed service, they had about 120 silo storage areas. Right now, everything is virtualized behind SVC.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It is easier for management with end of life erase. It now takes us less than two-three days to decommission the erase. It has given us an increase in the usage rate on the SVC. It has gone up from probably 30-40% on the silo erase to about 85%.

    We have reduced a lot of power and cooling requirements in the data center. We have optimized as much as possible. Right now, it's running very smoothly.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see data obligation and some features like cluster grouping. I have seen that on the roadmap for the last two years, but it hasn't come out yet. They are still showing it on the roadmap, so I think that it's going to come out soon.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We've had some issues with the production rate behind SVC. We had problems with back-end storage areas having double disk failures. It took a while to recognize errors, due to some of the environmental settings within the data center. When the temperature increased, we started seeing more drive failures on the back-end. But over the last 18 months, we've had zero downtime across the board.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is very good.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is very good. We touch base with the IBM house development team in the UK once every quarter to review the roadmap. So it's very good.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated the Hitachi RV series. I think it was Z100 at that time, and IBM SVC. We tested three solutions and chose IBM SVC to virtualize the environment.

    We were looking for stability, such as in the features search and the ease of manageability compared to other products. These products included EMC, Hitachi, and Red Hat.

    What other advice do I have?

    It's easy to implement. Just become a partner with IBM and you will be successful.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672342
    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 is most valuable?

    • The ability to use different storage products in the back-end
    • Having only one code base for mirroring and all other enterprise features

    How has it helped my organization?

    When you use different storage vendors, you may not get what you want. With this solution, you can put these solutions under Spectrum Visualize and use them, because they will look the same in IBM storage.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see data obligation which I think is already on the road map.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using this product for eight years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability on our side is very good.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is also good. It could be improved, but we will see if they will improve it.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is sometimes good and sometimes it is low.

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

    Eight years ago, we had a different product that was not very well designed. It is no longer on the market. It was LSI Storage, but we switched.

    How was the initial setup?

    We had a business partner doing the setup for us, but it is complex. This is a special product. It's not a standard storage product, so you have to know a lot about your environment.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated FalconStor and DataCore. This was based on installing software somewhere on the server. This was software for storage from a very early version in 2008/2009. We don't trust them, so that's why we chose an appliance level from IBM.

    When looking at vendors, we look at their ability to perform and give good support.

    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.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672405
    IT Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
    Consultant
    It works across different technologies such as flash and regular drives.

    What is most valuable?

    It is easy to deploy and use. It's very calm. The GUI goes right across the entire platform.

    What needs improvement?

    I would like to see more information about the heat map. That would give us an easier view from an architect's standpoint in terms of:

    • A better idea of where we have to put data
    • What we have to build-in with virtualization
    • The ability to grow it
    • The ability to make it more scalable.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability has been good. Stability has been high, actually. We've had some minor issues, and IBM has been quick to fix those. I don't have any issues with the stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is good. And of course, it works across multiple, different technologies including flash and regular drives. Scalability is definitely good.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support at IBM is actually not as great as it used to be. It seems like IBM has decreased the number of people who can support this environment. We find that locating someone who knows the product line, or more of that product line, is becoming limited.

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

    I'm not the one who invested in this solution, but multiple clients have invested in it. There were business requirements from a technology standpoint, there was performance that they needed, and there were different degrees of availability that they needed.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward. It was easy.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We deal with multiple vendors. We go from Cisco, to IBM, to EMC when we talk about clients. But I don't know how to answer this question from the perspective you are asking about. It is from a different point of view.

    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.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672411
    Storage Engineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
    Vendor
    We use the tool to manage our storage.

    What is most valuable?

    It gives us a lot of flexibility and ease of management. We have all the tools in one place. We pretty much do all our storage using the Spectrum Virtualize. It makes it really easy for us to manage all our storage.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We have a lot of different tiers of storage. We have enterprise all the way down to applications that don't need that much performance. It gives us the flexibility to move things in between these. I think a lot of the benefit is just the ease of use of the tool itself.

    What needs improvement?

    We are pretty happy with the roadmap that we've seen with the stuff that is coming.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    In more recent years, we've been very happy with stability. We went through a lot of bumps with the earlier releases of code.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We've also been very happy with the scalability.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    We are not happy with the technical support.

    In the last seven or eight years, I honestly think that IBM's technical support has gotten way worse. It's so hard to get hold of someone. There's no more live troubleshooting. In the old days, we used to have live troubleshooting. Now it is a matter of sending them logs and "we'll get back to you. Send us logs and we'll get back to you". It gets pretty frustrating, especially when you're supporting applications that are 24/7.

    All they can do is say "send us logs and we'll get back to you". So we are not happy with the support at all.

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

    This solution was actually chosen before I got there. I wasn't a part of the decision making. I was a part of the implementation, but not the decision making.

    How was the initial setup?

    I was involved with the initial setup. It was pretty straightforward.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We've compared it to other platforms like EMC. This product is really intuitive. It is really easy to use. So from that point of view, it's really good.

    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.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672414
    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 is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is the abstraction layer. Basically, it gives us a single pane of glass between our host and our back-end storage, regardless of what the back-end storage actually is.

    Beyond that, I would also add the flexibility of the management itself.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has significantly lowered management cost, overhead, and everything else. We now have better performance as well.

    What needs improvement?

    There is third site replication. Right now, we're limited in our ability to migrate data between clusters. Like I said, we had to scale wide rather than tall and continue to protect our data while we migrate. Additionally, if we wanted to set up a third site for additional DR, we don't really have a good option for that.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Overall, I would say that stability is very good.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    There are some caveats with scalability, such as volume count. We are highly limited by volume count at this point in time. We have to grow wide rather than grow tall.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    There are some caveats here, too. Sometimes it's been very, very good. Sometimes we have had sessions where we're beating our heads against the wall. It depends on the call. Part of it is has do with us getting better with the technology.

    It would be really nice to be able to escalate faster. By the time I'm calling IBM, it's already become such an issue that their Level-1 and usually their Level-2 people can't help me.

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

    We did not use any previous solutions that I am aware of, but this one has been lacking since we first brought it in. It's a wide matrix of considerations. Performance, price, support, availability, and scalability. It's a wide matrix.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was a bit of a paradigm shift. Once we got past that, it was very straightforward.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We looked all over the place. But we found what we wanted with this solution.

    What other advice do I have?

    Absolutely. Period. Do it.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672432
    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."

    How has it helped my organization?

    I think probably one of the biggest benefits of this solution is that it is relatively easy to use and easy to understand. It's intuitive. The front interface is very intuitive. I can have any of my administrators know what to do with it with a very small learning curve. I know that it's going to be static across the board, whether I'm using the store wide systems, or if I'm using Spectrum.

    What is most valuable?

    Using SBC, a valuable feature is the mirroring, which is the virtualization of the disk between disparate places.

    One of the things that we use it for, is that we can bring any storage underneath it. Not only will it recognize it and put it in the pool and add it to the storage, but it also allows me to mirror that storage across the campus, a mile and a half away.

    Neither my applications, my servers, nor my hosts even know that the disk is actually split between the two places. It just sees it as the normal disk that it uses. If one side goes away, whether it is disaster recovery or if is normal every day operations, if we're restarting something or there's an issue, we have to do updates, or upgrades, and it doesn't even know it.

    What needs improvement?

    For improvement considerations, I would probably say multiple sites. Right now, I'm doing two, and I believe we can go to a larger scale than that. But I think that having to go into three or four sites, where I would have more of a grid-type of technology with them, would probably be a bigger benefit for me.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It has been very stable. I haven't had any concern as far as stability is concerned.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Regarding scalability, that's a good question. I haven't had to really scale it to any more than what we've done with it currently. Actually, I'm in that process right now and I probably will have that answer in maybe a day or so. I don't think there's really too much of an issue. We add the pools underneath the storage, and it seems to just accept what we give it and we move on.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The technical support has been good. We do use Avar as the value added reseller for the professional services. So if I have to go into that space, it's usually not through IBM. I would give them a rating of 4/5.

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

    We were using something very similar previously. It was competitor unit that was a little bit more complex. It did some of the same things, but it was just a lot more complex in its usability and where we were going with our future storage requirements.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very straightforward.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated all the big names: Hitachi, EMC, NetApp, and HPE.

    I think we were looking at cost. We were also looking at the technical aspects of where we had requirements up front that we were looking for from every one of the vendors. We had a list of requirements. They were listed in their priority from highest priority, even to the very lowest. Some of them maybe weren't even requirements, but we added them in there. They had to meet at least the first top seven or eight. IBM seemed to meet those, and exceed them, so that was one of the reasons why we chose them.

    What other advice do I have?

    It fills the use case quite well. I would recommend it.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672327
    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.

    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.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672333
    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."

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has been integrated into our production systems, thereby not having as much online storage. We're using the archiving functionality. When I say reliability, I mean that we are operating 24/7. The product enables us to retrieve our client data at any given point in time.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is its reliability.

    What needs improvement?

    They are actually working on one bug we found, which was with flash restore. This was the user interface design for virtual environments. Supposedly, it was going to be corrected in 8.1, restoring it back to the original UID, but it wasn't done.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is excellent.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    At this point in time, scalability is excellent. It's very scalable.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    I work in Miami, Florida. Our data center is elsewhere. We may have some connectivity issues every now and then, but overall, it's been excellent. I always make certain to have the right phone numbers for support.

    How was the initial setup?

    I wasn't involved in the initial setup, but I'm involved with the new progression from old TSN to Spectrum 8.1.

    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 especially if you were using Jaguar, which was the old type. They came off mainframe. It was very high end, very costly. I would stick with using IBM servers, even IBM storage like XIV if you want to go with something less costly than a DS88.

    Make it correct. Make it easy on yourself. Use HPE storage, disc storage, or Dell storage and you will get finger pointing. It always happens. No one's wrong. Even if you get IBM, sometimes they are also wrong.

    We had all IBM and we did have an issue when we upgraded our tape libraries, i.e., we had the wrong firmware. That was with IBM. Imagine if we had someone else. It would be a long, drawn-out process.

    You may have one or two issues at the same time, and one can mask another issue. Don't go cheap. Have a test system. Never, ever, put something straight into production. I don't care how many things they swear on, or whatever.

    You never know because everyone's environment is different. That's the other thing. I don't care if it was AIX, and it's just moving into Linux, you still need to test it. Put it up for a few weeks, if not for a few months. Don't ever go cheap on a test system. If you can have it separate, have it separate from your other actual production servers. In some places, we actually had it in a different machine.

    Have a different machine. Never combine. Keep it simple.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672417
    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."

    How has it helped my organization?

    • Reducing our costs: We used to have all tier DS8 storage. Even though we had Spectrum Virtualize in front of almost all of that, we still had almost all DS8.
    • We've been able to bring in multiple tiers, flash systems, and V7000s
    • We can migrate that data, watch it with the tool, and know that the data is not on the right tier.
    • We can migrate that data again, place it in the right tier, and reduce our overall cost.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature is probably data migration so we can bring in back-end systems and swap data out. Our end-users, and even our other system administrators, don't have any idea that we've moved storage around.

    It's got full features, so we can compress volumes. We can do thin volumes and we can change them on the fly.

    Nobody knows that we've migrated that data around. We can ship it off to our DR site. This is all under the hood of Spectrum Virtualize.

    We don't have to worry about what type of block is underneath it at the time. It's all being done at that layer.

    What needs improvement?

    A feature that is already there, if I remember correctly, is encryption. I think it is coming out, or it is already there.

    That is a key management piece. Right now, we're doing an encryption on the back-end flash systems on the V7000s. It's simple, with just a USB key into the controllers.

    The integration would be an option that we would like, but I understand that's not how it's going to be implemented.

    NPIV is also coming. I'm not exactly sure what benefit it will bring. Initially, that sounded like that was going to be kind of cool. Even though we can migrate data without our end users really knowing it, they do see a path failure, and NPIV would take care of that for us.

    The feature that's kind of missing is getting us up to the point where we can help the application owners see where their data is at, understand it, and potentially help us breakout.

    We've used easy tiered functions in the pools, so we're trying to help step that storage down. If they can get visibility somehow into that data, help us further break that down, or better tier and separate out their data, that would be helpful.

    I know that VMWare has that function, where they are taking multiple tiers themselves and placing subsets of data, as opposed to whole blocks.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    For the most part, stability has been really good. Like anything else, the more you use it, the more times you're going to run into a bug. We've certainly done that.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It seems like scalability is OK. I mean, it's kind of hard for us. We're on a four year refresh cycle. So we stay pretty current with the hardware itself. We are adding in things like compression accelerators, and now with the new SV1 nodes, more cache, and we are going to more adapters. Of course, we're always willing to split out workloads onto separate stacks. So it scales pretty well.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Support has been pretty responsive. Software is coming out all the time with PTFs to fix, so staying on top of that is important.

    We've run into the seven three code. Specifically, we hit the cache performance bug. We were right on top of that and had to do another upgrade to clear that.

    We've also had a bug with the fiber channel cards. Again, by the time we were implementing, it was a known issue. It was not anything that we've really had to wait on, but not something that we were aware of at the time of implementation.

    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 data there, and not worry about the back end-stuff
    • Are able to carve up volumes very quickly to the end users

    Integration with Spectrum control and a kind of self-service provisioning is good. It is something we're looking at turning over and then deciding about all the data migration that can happen in the back-end. We can look at that request, and then decide. Perhaps we didn't have enough information when we started, and then we can move it on the back-end. We don't have to worry about getting into the weeds, necessarily, from day one.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672420
    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. …

    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.

    How was the initial setup?

    It was pretty straightforward.

    What other advice do I have?

    Don't go with EMC. Go with IBM. Go with this product. Absolutely. It's a very good product compared to the competitors.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672399
    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 is most valuable?

    • Capability of putting lots of heterogeneous storage systems all in one management pane
    • Being able to substitute them out and move between them
    • The ability to put it all in one management and fix them into something that's much more usable.

    It's just been handy with a lot of customers that have, over the years, developed a mess of storage.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It's all about manageability. The product lets you manage:

    • Different sorts of systems
    • The same host multi-pathing driver
    • The same feature set: snapshots and replication, regardless of what system it is

    Spectrum Virtualize gives you the same functionality and all the same management through the same GUI, regardless of whether you are using EMC storage, Hitachi storage, or IBM storage.

    What needs improvement?

    I’d like to see deduplication. IBM announced during Tech U that Storwize is adding it in the upcoming Q3 2017 code update-- same as what exists on the A9000. Duplicate blocks of data write references to pre-existing block of data, instead of re-writing the same data multiple times, thereby saving storage capacity.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    For the vast majority of the time, it's absolutely awesome. I had a couple isolated problems with reliability, mostly related to replication, but I have been able to work through them.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is actually one of the great things about the product. It is designed to be able to give you scalability with the virtualization of multiple storage systems. It's very easy to scale.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    I've had to use tech support quite a lot of times, because I support a lot of customers. Consultants support a lot of customers. Once you get past Level-1 support, it's generally top notch.

    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.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user672372
    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 is most valuable?

    Not having to take any kind of outage to do a storage data migration.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It improves a lot of functions for our clients. The high availability is the best thing. I have been working with it for 15 years, and it's one of the most stable products that IBM has.

    What needs improvement?

    There are a few little GUI issues and stuff like that, but nothing major. I would like to see better layout of some stuff. They kept on moving things around from version 7.4 to through version 8. They've made it a little difficult for some customers to find things.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is good.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is great too. It scales from a single I/O group to up to four.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Technical support has been great. I've been using it for 15 years.

    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.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    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."

    How has it helped my organization?

    Benefits for us are pretty much the simplicity, ease of implementation, and the ease of maintenance. Flexibility and responsiveness to customer needs are key. They are the things that allow for ease of disaster recovery with global mirror, which we use. So it's just flexibility and ease of use which are the key things that I like about it.

    It helps us to reduce time, reduce complexity, and be more responsive to requests instead of taking an hour to do one volume. Now I can do one volume in less than two minutes. So that keeps the business moving forward and keeps up with the pace.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable features are the simplicity of use, the flexibility, and the options included. I mean, it's just a big time saver.

    What needs improvement?

    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.

    It's on their roadmap to do, but as I understand, it's very complex. So that's one of the big features that we would like to see. And I'm sure other customers have been asking for it for years and years. That's probably the biggest thing that we can see.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability has greatly improved since day one. It's much easier to implement. It's not so white knuckle when you're doing upgrades and things like that. So they have come a long way.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    There's a lot of flexibility to it, especially with the new hardware coming out. Software always comes out with new and improved options, features, or fixes. So they're doing a real bang up job.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Overall, technical support is good. It is sometimes frustrating when you supply all the information you think they need upfront and they come back and say, "Hey, we need this." So, there's some frustration to it.

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

    We used to have the Shark ESS, where you had to actually go in through their GUI manually to apply and create volumes at that level. You then had to have them mapped. It was more cumbersome and time consuming.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was overall pretty easy. And that was years ago, pretty much when it first came out. Overall, it was pretty easy to set up.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We didn't really consider any alternatives. We're pretty much an IBM shop, so it was like the leader when it came out. We value compatibility and price, obviously.

    I'm a technician. I don't care about price per se. I am more involved in the technical advantages, ease of implementation, and stability. They are probably the key factors for me.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would absolutely recommend it. I would ask them, "Why are you waiting?"

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user674247
    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 is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature for sure is the abstraction of the storage. In this way, we can basically stick any storage solution that we want on the back-end. Then we've got a rich feature set above that. We can basically move the data where we need it to be. We have a lot of control. It's a good product.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We're a fairly small shop, as far as the number of IT people that we have. The tool allows us to basically multiply our staff to be able to get our work done. We don't have to rely on consultants. The feature sets are usually ahead of where we need to be.

    What needs improvement?

    There's always room for improvement. A little lower price would always be nice. Otherwise, nothing major.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability has been very good. We're more on the conservative side, in that we are not going out and downloading the latest and greatest code. We are a couple of releases behind, but it's been very stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability has been really great. We've done refresh cycles every three years and the technology is usually ahead of where we need it to be, as far as scaling up is concerned.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    Technical support has been pretty good. Maybe sometimes we don't get responses back as fast as we would like, but they have always been very professional and they follow through. No major issues. It's been good.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very easy.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    For one, there are very few vendors that actually offer this product on the market. And nobody has the quality feature set that IBM has.

    We were looking for quality, support, and service. These are all the normal things most companies look for.

    What other advice do I have?

    I'm not sure. I'd ask them why they haven't done it already.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user674250
    Lead Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Consultant
    Provides disaster recovery, replication, and multi-site setup.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable features are disaster recovery, replication, and multi-site setup. Being able to quickly recover in a disaster and knowing that your data is protected across multiple sites is important.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The benefits are protection of data, usability, and performance speed in a high capacity setup.

    What needs improvement?

    We found a gap for smaller clients. Right now, the only offering is a huge, rack-sized storage device, and no more. There was nothing that came after the DS-1600. I'd like to see a smaller form factor for smaller clients.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The product is very, very stable. It is much more stable than the open system configurations that we've worked with. It has the highest stability that we have seen.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is very good. It is about even with the open system offerings.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    I have used technical support. The process to open problem management requests should be faster. Especially in a high pressure situation when things are going wrong. It would be good to just have a quicker way to get the problem out there and get a response.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was complex, but that's what keeps me employed. So, it's quite all right.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    It's the best mainframe storage available. It is much better than EMC and other competitors.

    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.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    it_user674235
    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…

    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 performance on all-flash storage. We don't use Spectrum Virtualize to offer storage, because they are too intensive for this environment.

    How is customer service and technical support?

    I have used technical support. It was hard work, but we had some colleagues in IBM and they helped us to move forward.

    What other advice do I have?

    They should test the solution before starting the implementation. Sometimes IBM documents something, but in the real world, it doesn't work. It depends on the brand or the version of the software. So they should test it and then go to the client to make sure that it works there.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.