Value of Spectrum Control to Spectrum Scale

Today if you are a customer in a sector like financial, retail, digital media, biotechnology, science or government and you use applications like big data analytics, gene sequencing, digital media or scalable file serving, there is a strong possibility that you are already using IBM Spectrum Scale (built upon General Parallel File System or GPFS).

Spectrum scale

A question foremost in your mind may be: “If Spectrum Scale has its own element manager – the Scale GUI, what would I gain from using Spectrum Control?”
The Spectrum Scale GUI (available for version 4.2 and later versions of Spectrum Scale) focuses on a single Spectrum Scale cluster. In contrast, the Spectrum Control GUI offers a single pane-of-glass to manage multiple Scale clusters (including version 4.1.0 of Spectrum Scale), it gives you higher level analytics, a view of relationships between clusters, the relationships between clusters and SAN attached storage.  In future, we expect to extend this support to Spectrum Scale in hybrid cloud scenarios where Spectrum Scale may be backed by say Amazon S3 or IBM private cloud storage.

4 primary areas where Spectrum Control adds value today:

Spectrum Control for Scale

  • Performance monitoring: If you have multiple Spectrum Scale clusters you can use Spectrum Control to manage cross cluster traffic since Spectrum Control charts I/O rates and response times. You can also monitor the performance of the file systems and nodes that make up each cluster. Since Spectrum Control can monitor block storage devices, you can monitor the performance of SAN attached volumes that are backing the NSDs in the cluster, as well as the fabrics used to connect the NSD servers to the block storage.
  • Capacity management: If you have say an IBM FlashSystem providing block storage to your Spectrum Scale clusters, you can monitor these block volumes backing the Scale NSDs. You can identify when you will run out of inodes or when a file system runs out of space. You can view the size and age of snapshots in a file system perhaps to identify candidates for deletion and space reclamation. You can view file system relationships, quotas, snapshots, NSDs being used to build a pool, the number of nodes using the file system, compare pools across the Scale cluster.
  • Alerting: Spectrum Control enables meaningful alerts by nodes, NSD, file systems, file sets. You can identify (though not alert upon) which file sets will run out of available inodes, identify filesets not linked into their file system, identify (though  not alert upon) which filesets have reached soft/hard quota limits. As an example, you may want a warning alert notification sent to your operations team when the used space under Spectrum Scale crosses 80%, but when the used space crosses 90% you may want a critical alert notification sent to your storage administrator. Spectrum Control handles all of these scenarios.
  • Showback & chargeback: Spectrum Control offers the ability to categorize storage resources used by Spectrum Scale into “application groups” and “department groups” which in turn is a key enabler of showback and chargeback.  The benefit is that now a Spectrum Scale administrator can identify issues that impact specific applications.

If you like what you hear so far but don’t have an on-premise version of Spectrum Control in-house, check out our Spectrum Control Storage Insights offered as SaaS and give it a risk free 30 day test drive.