August 2016: Introducing IBM Spectrum Control v5.2.11

IBM Spectrum Control offers a single pane-of-glass to monitor and manage multi-vendor storage.  V5.2.11 now introduces the following enhancements:

Performance monitoring of IBM FlashSystem 840 and FlashSystem 900

Are you perhaps a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or an enterprise customer with a need to accelerate performance for applications like Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, MySQL, Sybase, NoSQL?  If you are running applications requiring response times in the 100 microsecond range (as opposed to milliseconds) and you have storage services provided by the application, then FlashSystem 900 is your logical choice.   This platform features 90us/155us read/write latency and has the ability to sustain 1.1 million random read 4 K IOPS.

IBM Spectrum Control v5.2.11 adds performance monitoring for the FlashSystem 840 and FlashSystem 900  – specifically metrics like response times, I/O rates and data rates.  This can be done at the level of Fibre Channel ports or at the drive level.   It doesn’t report on response time of individual volumes.

perf chart for FlashSystem 840

IBM Cloud Object Storage as an external pool for IBM Spectrum Scale

What if you have an HPC grid built on IBM Spectrum Scale (previously GPFS) and need to know which file systems in your IBM Spectrum Scale cluster are using cloud storage?  While the element manager in Spectrum Scale can give you visibility into file data residing in internal pools,  Spectrum Control goes beyond this to give you visibility into files residing in external pools (on IBM Cloud Object Storage, Spectrum Protect or Spectrum Archive).  You can drill down to view storage capacity at each site of IBM COS on a per-vault basis.  You can identify how much failure can be tolerated within IBM COS in terms of storage node or access node going offline.

Complex alerts and custom multi-conditional alerts

While alerts are always useful, sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.  Consider this scenario: You have legacy EMC, HDS and other storage being virtualized by IBM SAN volume controller.  You have 30 host applications that receive volumes from the IBM SAN volume controller.  10 of these are critical apps which require that latency be <= 10 msec.  Why have a deluge of alerts whenever latency crosses 10 msec on all volumes especially if 20 of the apps using these volumes can tolerate higher latencies up to 20 msec?  To address this scenario, v5.2.11 gives you the ability to set alerts to be informed when latency >= 10 msec for only those volumes that are used by the latency sensitive apps.  This makes the alerts more meaningful and actionable.

The following is an example of how you could set an alert to inform you when all volumes associated with tier 1 storage have an overall response time that is >= 6 msec.  This helps you cut out false-positives which would have been generated if the alerting occurred on all tiers esp if tier 2 and tier 3 storage are used by less critical (less latency sensitive) host apps.

custom alert

For performance monitoring if you look at I/O rate alone you may not be accounting for large vs small packets.  However if you combine multiple conditions (I/O rate, response times, data rates) you can draw more meaningful conclusions.  With this in mind, Spectrum Control v5.2.11 now supports multi-conditional alerting.

Chargeback reports from the web UI without requiring Cognos

Whether you are an MSP or an enterprise, the ability to produce chargeback reports is critical when you have external or internal consumers of shared storage. As the storage administrator you get to set the cost per tier on a cost per TB basis.  The following is typical of a storage consumption chargeback report that could be generated to show shared storage (block or file) consumed by a department, group, application, physical server or hypervisor:


Automatic probe scheduling

As a storage admin you may not want to individually manage when Spectrum Control connects to your storage subsystems especially if you have 100s of storage systems and 1000s of servers.  To address this, v5.2.11 introduces automatic probe scheduling.  Now  all the storage administrator has to do is specify when probes should not be sent (perhaps during normal business hours of 9 am to 5 pm) and Spectrum Control will use analytics to load balance the probes over an approved time window.  This feature is applicable for storage systems as well as for hypervisors.

License compliance views for audit purposes

In the past, you may have had to manually determine your licensed storage capacity for each storage system (by capacity or by enclosure) for audit purposes.  Now v5.2.11 offers a way to view your license compliance by storage capacity in tebibytes (TiB) and storage capacity units (SCU).

Learn more by reviewing the guided demo of our SaaS offering “Storage Insights”  Consider a free 30-day trial of Storage Insights.

Consider upgrading your on-premise version of Spectrum Control to v5.2.11: Downloads available here.