May 2016: Introducing IBM Spectrum Control v5.2.10

IBM Spectrum Control is Storage Resource Management (SRM) software which offers a “manager of managers”, a single pane of glass to monitor and manage multi-vendor storage (block, file and object) across your data center.

Version 5.2.10 released this month, introduces the following additional benefits to storage management teams who may use it to manage multi-vendor networked storage:

  • Faster time to problem resolution
    • The ability to export performance data directly from the web browser to a compressed file which could be sent over to IBM support if you need help analyzing a performance problem.



  • Performance monitoring of outliers
    • Assume you are using IBM Spectrum Virtualize or Storwize to virtualize legacy multi-vendor storage from EMC, HP, and HDS. You may have an “acceptable range” for performance metrics and may want to be alerted if one of the metrics like “read response time for an I/O group” occasionally falls outside your acceptable range.  This is now possible with Spectrum Control as shown below:



  • Capacity planning when thin provisioning is involved
    • You may want to increase storage utilization hence you use “thin provisioning” to oversubscribe your existing networked storage.  However thin provisioning assumes that you will add storage to your thin provisioned LUN in time before the application crashes.  To do this you need a way to predict when you’ll hit the upper ceiling where thin provisioned storage must reconcile with your actual physical storage capacity.  Spectrum Control now gives you a way to do this by looking at past capacity trends and charting historical capacity of thin provisioned volume growth.
  • Historical capacity charting
    • You may want to improve overall storage system performance and hence you enable IBM EasyTier. Now you have the option to do historical capacity charting of tier distribution in EasyTier pools.
    • You may be using IBM Spectrum Scale (previously called GPFS) and may want to use Spectrum Control for capacity planning of Scale clusters. You now have the option with 5.2.10 to do historical capacity charting of Spectrum Scale file systems, pools and file sets.
  • Greater control over the operation of your Spectrum Scale clusters
    • For your Spectrum Scale cluster you as the storage administrator may want to schedule the load placed on it when Spectrum Control collects information regarding the size of Spectrum Scale (GPFS) snapshots. Now you have the option to decide when/if you want to enable the collection of snapshot size information from Spectrum Control
  • Consolidated storage reporting across multiple data centers
    • You may want a network-wide perspective of storage across data centers managed by multiple Spectrum Control instances. Now the roll-up reporting feature introduced in 5.2.10 gives you the ability to roll up capacity reports across all of these instances.


  • Streamlining of SAN monitoring
    • Unlike in the past where you had to choose between SNMP or Storage Resource Agent (SRA) or Storage Management Initiative (SMI) to monitor your Brocade SAN, now we have streamlined it down to one standard way to access your Brocade switches namely SMI. We recommend that you connect to your Brocade SAN switches via Network Advisor version 11.1 (with its own embedded SMI agent) or later.

In conclusion these are just a few of the many exciting new developments to come for Spectrum Control.  In addition, if you are interested in learning more about our SaaS offering, check out the IDC blog about Spectrum Control Storage Insights written by our guest blogger Jingwen Li from IDC.


Value of Spectrum Control to Spectrum Accelerate

Are you an enterprise customer or cloud provider looking for a distributed tier 1 storage offering consistent performance for use with OLTP, Oracle, SAP, Exchange or Web 2.0 workloads?  Look no further than IBM Spectrum Accelerate.  Spectrum Accelerate is based on what was previously IBM XIV and is ideally suited for customers with PB scale needs but just a minimal storage staff available to manage it.  Don’t take my word for it but hear why a customer like Silverpop (vendor of marketing automation from the cloud) chose Spectrum Accelerate over  VMware VSAN and EMC ScaleIO for a high-write Oracle environment.

Now you may wonder – what value would I get from IBM Spectrum Control considering that Spectrum Accelerate already includes Hyper-Scale Manager?  Spectrum Control is designed to monitor and manage multi-vendor storage including Spectrum Accelerate.  It provides storage teams with a single pane of glass to view and report on health, capacity, performance, and SAN connectivity of the entire storage environment, as well as alerting on issues that occur in the environment.  Here is a view of Spectrum Control monitoring Spectrum Accelerate alongside other IBM storage xiv1

Using this tool, you can identify health issues and use the capacity views to identify when your environment runs out of storage.  In addition to viewing capacity you can also chart it historically for planning purposes.

The performance view shown below helps you identify that Spectrum Accelerate is pushing the most IO in the environment: xiv2

Even though it is pushing the most IO, it has the best overall response times as shown below.  xiv3.png

As a storage consumer, perhaps you have a need to generate chargeback reports?  To help you Spectrum Control supports consumer modeling, enabling you to create models of how your servers, applications, and departments are using shared storage.

Perhaps you have a need to understand how capacity trends over time for an application (say a billing app) when it is using multiple volumes in a Spectrum Accelerate solution?  The following screen shot demonstrates such capacity trends for an application that uses 5 volumes in Spectrum Accelerate. xiv4

Perhaps you have a need to identify response times for the application when it hits those storage volumes?  In the above example all volumes have a response time of less than 6 msec per operation.

For chargeback perhaps you need to contrast the storage capacity consumed by one host application versus capacity consumed by other host applications?  The following screen shot demonstrates how this would appear.


From the perspective of alerting, Spectrum Control can create over 100 different alerts for Spectrum Accelerate.  From a reporting perspective Spectrum Control provides over 70 Cognos reports and gives you the option to create your own custom reports. From a cost savings perspective, Spectrum Control helps you identify storage volumes that have been orphaned by decommissioned applications on host servers, so you may re-purpose those volumes.  This allows you to defer additional storage purchases.

Like what you hear and want to give this a test drive?  Check out our 30 day no risk evaluation of Storage Insights, if you find the insights valuable you can either purchase a subscription to have IBM manage your storage from the cloud or purchase our comprehensive on-premise offering that is Spectrum Control.