IBM announces a new ESS 3000 storage system

In Elastic Storage System, ESS 3000, IBM, Spectrum Scale by AdministratorLeave a Comment

IBM® recently announced a new version of their Spectrum Scale ESS 3000 storage, designed to support HPC and AI workloads

New IBM ESS 3000 storage hardware

The new ESS 3000 storage appliance comes in a 2u package and supports all NVMe SSD storage that includes end-to-end NVMe InfiniBand HDR or 100GbE (RoCE) protocol support. It also comes with 3 PCIe host adaptors.

The ESS 3000 starts as small as 25TB and can grow to Exabyte scale across a Spectrum Scale cluster of storage systems The ESS 3000 system supports 12 or 24 SSDs with 1.9TB, 3.8TB, 7.7TB, or 15.4TB and has a maximum capacity of 320TB.

ESS 3000 has two, highly available storage controllers, each of which runs on dual 14-core, Intel Skylake processors and supports 384GB or 784GB of memory per controller.  

A single ESSS 3000 supplies up to 40 GB/sec of data throughput which scales linearly as more appliances are added to the cluster. 

IBM ESS 3000 storage software

As all ESS storage, the ESS 3000 uses Spectrum Scale storage software. Spectrum Scale currently supports some of the largest supercomputer complexes on the planet. The ESS 3000 runs a RedHat Enterprise Linux 8.X OS and Spectrum Scale Version 5 software.

Spectrum Scale v5 offers POSIX file support with Spectrum Scale Client, Hadoop MapReduce, OpenStack (SWIFT), S3 (object storage), NFSv4, SMBv3 and CSI (Kubernetes Container Storage Interface) data storage access support. 

Spectrum Scale also comes with a number of additional features such as automatic storage tiering, erasure coding data protection, integrated scale-out data management, and cloud tiering. 

For the ESS 3000, Spectrum Scale has been rei-architected as containerized software, which should make it easier to deploy, scale and update. Indeed, IBM states that ESS 3000  initial configuration and deployment can be done in just hours. And ESS 3000 (software) updates can be done by system administrators or developers.


ESS 3000 isn’t your grandfathers Spectrum Scale storage anymore. IBM have implemented a 2U, end to end NVMe storage appliance that comes with all the functionality and HPC heritage of Spectrum Scale software but re-architected for todays, containerized application world. 

It’s unclear where IBM wants to take the ESS 3000, but from our viewpoint there’s little that this system couldn’t do. However, we would have liked to see more performance data on the product but perhaps that will come in time. All in all, a nice addition to IBM’s extensive storage line up. 

[This storage announcement dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in December of 2019.  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. ]  

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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