Introducing Spectrum Virtualize 7.8.0 (Now GA)

ORIGINALLY POSTED 19th December 2016

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7.8.0 Spectrum Virtualize

Back in November we announce the 7.8 updates for SVC, Storwize and V9000 – the products running Spectrum Virtualize software, and a new expansion enclosure offering over 1.4PB RAW capacity in just 5U rack space…

Transparent Cloud Tiering

TCT is IBM’s general overarching name for functions that are enabling existing products to live and work seamlessly in new Hybrid Cloud environments. I mention this, as TCT was already released on Spectrum Scale to enable cloud storage capacity to be used as a natively integrated  storage tier within the Scale filesystem, see here for more details on the Scale offering. However, the first TCT function provided with Spectrum Virtualize is actually to enable the snapshot, or FlashCopy of volumes to be stored as objects (blobs) within your chosen Cloud provider.

Akshat Mithal from our Pune development team, provides a good overview of the capabilities, functions and support of the Cloud backup functions. Please note that TCT is only supported on SVC (SV1,DH8) and V9000 at this time.

Easy Tier Support for Tier1 Flash Drives

As promised, Easy Tier now provides full support for the new Tier1 (formerly known as Read Intensive) higher capacity, lower cost Flash Drives. These will be recognised as a new 4th Tier type within Easy Tier and can be used in conjunction with Tier0 (formerly known as Enterprise Flash)  Note however, than Easy Tier still only supports up to 3 different Tiers within a single Hybrid Pool. The four tier types are :

Tier0 Flashformerly Enterprise Flash
Tier1 Flashformerly General Purpose Flash

The 7.8 code also provides reporting on the DWPD  (see previous discussions) and will alert if your are at risk of over-writing the devices. This is available in both the CLI and GUI. Storwize systems will automatically report the new Tier1 Flash type of the drives, you should check if you are already using these devices that the type of the mdisks is correct – and for SVC you will need to manually set these devices (assuming you are virtualising them)

IBM SKLM Key manager Support

Support has been added for encryption key management support with products that comply with KMIP standards, such as IBM SKLM. This enables you to centralise, simplify and automate the master key encryption management. If you decide to use a key manager, you will no longer be able to use the current USB mode of support, but both still exist, just not in parallel. So you can continue to use the USB management method if you desire.

Model Conversions

Back in August we released a large number of Statements of Direction (SoD) which included the ability to convert various Storwize models into other models. This is now available with 7.8 installed, and means you can convert any of the following by simply MES upgrading the control canisters leaving all enclosures, and expansions in place.

V7000 Gen2 (524) to V7000 Gen2+ (624)
V5010 to V5020 or V5030
V5020 to V5030

High-density Expansion Enclosure (92F)

Its been a long time coming, but finally we have our High-density expansion enclosure for Storewide, SVC and V9000! This can be attached to any of the 12Gbit SAS based systems, so Gen2 onwards, and SVC (SV1, DH8) and V9000… and its seriously dense.

In 5U rack space, the enclosure has 92 drive slots. These are LFF in size, but can take SFF drives via a conversion drive caddy. Thus, you can have any of the 12Gbit HDD and Flash drives we currently sell in this enclosure. With the new 10TB NL-SAS HDD that was also just announced, that 920TB RAW of HDD or use the new 15TB Flash Drives, and that is 1.38 PB of Flash in 5U !

Up to 4x 92F expansions can be attached per SAS chain. Most systems have 2x SAS chains per control enclosure (or IO Group) and so up to 8x 92F per IO Group. In a full sized cluster that is 32x 92F expansions per cluster. Giving 2,944 drives per cluster in the expansions alone, and with a V5000 or V7000 the additional 2x or 4x 24drive slots in the control enclosure means over 3,000 drives per system!

This also means you can build a serious system from SVC itself, turning SVC into almost a V8000 like product, with all the power and capability of SVC along with almost 32PB of usable capacity. Note than 32PB is the current system addressable limit – which will have to increase soon!


As mentioned above, a few new drive types have been added.

  • 7.6 and 15TB Tier1 Flash Drives

Its been a seriously busy year for the worldwide Spectrum Virtualize teams, refreshing the V3000 and V5000 products in March, the V7000, V9000 and SVC in August and now adding the High-density enclosure in November, not to mention the cloud integration, NPIV support and the rest of the software enhancements discussed this year. I hope you all enjoy some time off with your families over the festive season, I know I will be, and whats more, summer has finally arrived here in Auckland!

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