The essentials on IBM Spectrum Virtualize (ex SVC)

IBM 2145 SAN Volume Controller (SVC) storage virtualization technology debuted in 2003, shortly after Datacore and Falconstor released their own solutions. It allowed Big Blue to get a head start on its big competitors (Hitachi, NetApp and EMC) with a 100% software solution deployed on a cluster of standard x86 servers.

In the original idea of IBM , one of the goals of SVC, now renamed Spectrum Virtualize, was to create a level of abstraction over the existing storage infrastructure to enable tiered resources - with, for example, Gold, Silver, and Bronze classes - as well as providing independent, rack-independent storage services such as data migration or replication services.

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The implementation of these functions at the virtualization layer level was thought of as a way to give users back freedom by allowing the underlying storage to evolve, without affecting the applications.

Spectrum Virtualize installs on standard x86 nodes typically grouped into active / active clustered server pairs. It is possible to distribute SVC nodes between multiple sites or machine rooms for disaster protection and high availability.

The configuration recommended by Big Blue is a pair of Lenovo System x3650M5 servers, but the software is also expected to be supported soon on HPE Proliant servers and Dell PowerEdge servers.

In addition to its volume virtualization capabilities, Spectrum Virtualize incorporates advanced features of Thin Provisioning (combined with low-space- saving snapshot capabilities ), tiering , migration, and replication .

The software also includes optional real-time data compression and encryption features.

Spectrum Virtualize also incorporates sophisticated high availability capabilities with the ability to deploy multi-site, extended cluster configurations over distances up to 300km (with appropriate telecom links).

Recently, the software has also been enhanced with cloud-based data outsourcing capabilities on Swift or S3-compatible object storage services , including IBM's own Cloud Object Storage (formerly CleverSafe).