Re-introducing Spectrum Virtualize 8.4

Some of you may have noticed that we haven’t really posted about the new features and functions that have been introduced over the last year in Spectrum Virtualize. I figured that i the same way that we have now modified our release strategy (check out the details on LTS and CD releases) but it would actually make sense to almost delay our updates till a time that most people are going to be thinking about upgrading the code!

On announce days, there are lots of posts and discussion of the new features available, but when it comes to end users upgrading, or looking for guidance on what to upgrade to – and why – then it maybe a case of lots of searching to find just what was released in various levels.

So, here is my first roll up post and a stake in the ground to say that 8.4.0 is now at that recommended state. I have quite a few of the clients I work with on a daily basis that have been running it for some time and have been very happy with the stability and some nice performance boosts too.

As of today, the latest PTF for 8.4.0 is, and if you are looking to upgrade from an earlier version this would be my go to position.

Before installing the 8.4.0 Code

The quickest way to download the code, and the latest upgrade checker is from Fix Central. Simply select your product type and 8.4.0 and it will take you to the files. Be sure to check out the release notes, just to check if there are any restrictions or prerequisites that may need addressed before installing 8.4.0.

Stepping stone build needed?

Depending on where you are currently, there maybe an intermediate build you need to step through in order to move up to 8.4.0. The full compatibility matrix details this.

At its simplest, 8.3.1.x can go straight to 8.4.0. and will need to step through

If you are on an 8.1 (actually out of support in Dec 2020) or earlier than you will need to step through

If you are still on 7.8.1, you need to step through

End of Support and Terminal Releases for older Hardware

Be aware of the terminal release versions, this means those boxes cannot be upgraded beyond their terminal release.

EOS means we will cease to provide hardware and software support, i.e. no availability of hardware maintenance parts and no PTF updates beyond these dates for those products and releases.

ReleaseTerminal release for:EOS
7.8.1SVC CG8, SVC CF8,
Storwize V7000 Gen1,
Storwize V3500, V3700,
Storwize V5000 Gen1
31st Dec 2022
8.1.x31st Dec 2020
8.2.1Storwize V5010, V5020,
FlashSystem V9000 AC2/AE2
31st Dec 2022
8.3.1FlashSystem V9000 AC3/AE3,
Storwize V5030,
Spectrum Virtualize as Software
8.4.0Storwize V7000 Gen2 (Model 524)31st Dec 2022
8.4.0Storwize V7000 Gen2+ (Model 624),
8GB options of the Storwize and FlashSystem 5010

Spectrum Virtualize 8.4.0 Features

At a very high level here are the features that were added to 8.4.0. I will provide some more details of these in the next few days.

  • Initial support release for FlashSystem 5015,5035 and 5200
  • New inter-node protocol support – reduced node to node latency – using a NVMe like highly parallel protocol – initially on the FlashSystem5200 only – >50% reduction in write latency compared to previous protocol.
  • Distributed RAID-1 – Introduction of DRAID benefits for mirroring RAID. Between 2 and 16 drives supported – distributed sparing – support for small drive configs – specifically aimed at SCM. Performance benefits from multi-threaded DRAID and distributed rebuild.
  • Data Reduction Pool Enhancements. Quota-less child pool support. Redirect-on-write snapshot capability for de-duplicated volumes in DRP. Comprestimator always on in DRP. RAID reconstruct read for meta-data reliability. Improved performance.
  • NVMe-FC enhancments – support for VMware 7.0 NVMe attach.
  • Increased SCM attachment – up to 12 SCM per control enclosure – any slot
  • Three-site replication support for HyperSwap configurations – co-ordinated 3-site with external orchestrator and change volume based 3rd site for >5min RPO to 3rd site.
  • Online expansion of mirrored volumes. Using VDM function, and fast format, can expand volumes while VDM in use.
  • Maximum configuration limit increases – 10,000 FlashCopy mappings and 2,000 HyperSwap volumes.

Since 8.4.0 was released initially in December 2020, there have been 2 Continuous Delivery (CD) releases, 8.4.1 and 8.4.2 – these added further features such as the much requested increase to Volume Mirroring sync rates (up to 2GB/s now), volume Provisioning Policies to simplify and aid integration with APIs and automation, bringing the new inter-node protocol support to the 7200 and 9200 and of course Safeguarded Copy for cyber resiliency allowing you to build a Cyber Vault solution to protect against the threat of ransomware. Again, I will cover these in the coming days/weeks, but remember if you pick up a CD release you are likely locked into more regular updates as the upgrade path is between each CD release before you can pickup a new LTS release, as discussed.

One response to “Re-introducing Spectrum Virtualize 8.4”

  1. One additional extra point to consider when going from 8.3.1, if I remember right, is that the IBM multi path driver sdd, is not supported with 8.4
    Yes the sdd went out of support last summer, but many customers have painfully many old windows servers to convert still


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