IBM’s new Spectrum NAS & other enhancement announcements

In Cloud Object Storage, FlashSystem 900, FlashSystem A9000/A9000R, IBM, InfiniBAND, Spectrum Accelerate, Spectrum NAS, Spectrum Protect, Spectrum Protect Plus, Spectrum Virtualize by AdministratorLeave a Comment

IBM® recently announced their new Spectrum NAS solution and updates to many other storage software and storage systems.

New IBM Spectrum NAS storage

IBM Spectrum NAS is a software defined, cluster file system that supports multi-tenant environments with easily scalable storage. IBM has had a gap in this space for some time now and Spectrum NAS allows them to fill it very nicely. IBM has always had Spectrum Scale for file storage, but this is targeted to very large environments for big data analytics and real-time AI workloads. Spectrum NAS is a traditional data center storage solution Spectrum NAS that is targeted for customers needing home directories, NAS for Microsoft and other traditional applications and file serving for VMs.

IBM Spectrum NAS supports Industry standard X86 servers (within compatibility list). IBM service providers can configure Spectrum NAS systems with their servers to offer a turnkey solution, NAS storage solution.

With Spectrum NAS, IBM has three unstructured data storage solutions: IBM Spectrum NAS, IBM Spectrum Scale and IBM Cloud Object Storage. Spectrum Scale is intended for HPC compute clusters, big data analytics, machine learning/deep learning environments and high-speed backup and restore. IBM Cloud Object Storage is targeted to large storage archives, large content repository and distribution customers and cloud/object storage applications. Spectrum NAS as discussed above, fits between these two for home directory storage, traditional applications NAS storage and VM file services

Spectrum Protect and Spectrum Protect Plus enhancements

Spectrum Protect Plus offers simpler data protection for VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines. The enhanced Spectrum Protect Plus (10.1.1) adds vSnap Cloning, enhanced resiliency with Oracle RAC, new hardware protection blueprints, faster recovery for item level restores for Microsoft SQL and Oracle and is now included at no additional charge in IBM Spectrum Storage Suite and Spectrum Protect Suite, bundled offerings. IBM Cloud will also now include Spectrum Protect Plus for VM system and data availability.

IBM Spectrum Protect (8.1.5) has been enhanced with increased visibility and control. Specifically, for better security, Spectrum Protect now tracks deduplication, backup and other activity rates and when these rates suffer will provide warnings to signal that something is wrong. This should help detect when ransomware and other security breaches are occurring to try to head them off before they damage your infrastructure.

Also, the new Spectrum Protect has more metadata and fields tracking data points for improved auditing of individual required for European Union GDPR compliance. IBM is making every effort to support GDPR compliance an all of its products and this is one example of their commitment.

Other enhancements

IBM Spectrum Virtualize now supports SCSI UNMAP requests for better SSD space reclamation and de-allocation. It can also now have up to 10,000 compressed volumes and use cases of compressed volumes has been expanded by moving to log structured storage pools. Also, Spectrum Virtualize has increased data bandwidth, up to 2X, for data intensive applications

IBM Cloud Object Storage improved its on-premises storage density by adopting 12TB HDDs. The new 12TB disk drive reduces storage node costs ($/TB) by up to 15%. Also Cloud Object Storage can now non-disruptively add new configurations or update old ones. It has also been added to the IBM Storage Utility Offering, a storage as a service solution being offered in US and East Asia. Finally, IBM Cloud Object Storage can now be configured on-prem with as small as 72TB configurations, providing a new, lower entry point for customers to adopt object storage.

Current IBM XIV customers now have a non-disruptive migration path from Gen3 systems to the IBM FlashSystem A9000/A9000R. You may recall that the A9000/A9000R are AFA versions of XIV storage, using FlashSystem 900 storage.

IBM also announced availability this quarter for NVMeoF on InfiniBand for IBM FlashSystem 900 and a statement of direction to support NVMe over Fabric on IBM Spectrum Virtualize and Spectrum Accelerate product families.


It’s not surprising that IBM released a new software defined storage solution that targets the traditional NAS space. Given IBM’s turn to software defined offerings, a new NAS storage solution fits very nicely. IBM also has many traditional data center customers, where Spectrum NAS would be an easy to implement solution for file services.

Spectrum Protect, Spectrum Protect Plus, Spectrum Virtualize, and IBM Cloud Object Storage enhancements are all good changes to expand market share and increase adoption as well as to cement their offerings in the new cloud and service provider partners.

IBM continues to double down on software defined solutions, leveraging their storage hardware wherever it makes the most sense. In the end, this seems to be where the market is headed.

[This storage announcement dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in February of 2018.  If you would like to receive this information via email please consider signing up for our free monthly newsletter (see subscription request, above right) and we will send our current issue along with download instructions for this and other reports. Dispatches are posted to our website at least a quarter or more after they are sent to our subscribers. Also we have recently updated (May 2019) our SAN Storage Buying Guide  and (April 2019) our NAS Buying Guide, so if you are interested in purchasing block or file primary storage, please checkout any of our Buying Guides available for sale on our website. ]  

Silverton Consulting, Inc., is a U.S.-based Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting firm offering products and services to the data storage community

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