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IBM rebrands storage as IBM Spectrum with an eye on hybrid cloud

IBM pledges $1 billion to build out its cloud storage services and software-defined storage portfolio while rebranding its storage software as Spectrum.

IBM is taking a new approach to its storage software, recasting its IBM XIV enterprise array as a software-only product and rebranding products under the IBM Spectrum umbrella.

Bernie Spang, director of strategy and marketing for the IBM software group, said IBM will invest $1 billion over five years to build more software-defined-storage offerings and cloud services based on existing IBM storage technology.

"This is building on existing technology that is based on over 700 IBM patents," Spang said. "This will enable our customers to take advantage of hybrid cloud computing. They want economies of cloud computing. They don't always want their data literally in the cloud. They want private cloud and cloud services where it makes sense."

Spang said the company will extract intelligence from its traditional storage hardware and give customers the option of buying storage software as a service or an appliance. IBM storage revenue has declined for three straight years, so its old strategy was not working.

"Traditional storage has been inefficient in how it has been deployed because it does not have the flexibility to optimize the workloads. Software-defined storage gives that flexibility," Spang said. "There's a reason you need multiple offerings. All this data and files from different workloads and mobile platforms require different storage architectures to optimize the workloads. It's not a one-size-fits-all world."

IBM has renamed key pieces of its storage products under the Spectrum brand while also enhancing some of its storage software. The new IBM Spectrum Accelerate, which is based on the IBM XIV storage system architecture, offers features such as zero-tuning so IT administrators can dynamically add capacity without installing more hardware. Spectrum Accelerate pools data center resources so customers can build their own enterprise-level, hyper-cloud environment.

The software includes snapshot, synchronous and asynchronous replication, multi-tenancy and automation through the RESTful API. It also is integrated with OpenStack, VMware vCloud suite and is self-provisioning. Its Hyper-Scale Manager GUI allows customers to manage the software through a mobile dashboard.

Spectrum Accelerate can be deployed on a virtual machine or commodity hardware within "sever-rich environments," Spang said.

"Customers can automatically deploy storage intelligence to optimize storage and placement of data to deliver high performance for applications. You can manage the movement of data to maintain proper performance levels as application needs change. It manages the storage for quality of service as well as the placement of data in that storage."

IBM plans to introduce a software-based multi-cloud connecter this year as part of Spectrum. The connector will dynamically move data across multiple clouds for protection against service outages and data loss, Spang said.

The IBM SAN Volume Controller has been rebranded as Spectrum Virtualize for storage virtualization. Elastic Storage, which was announced last year and incorporates IBM's General Parallel File System and Watson technology, is now Spectrum Scale.

"When we announced Elastic Storage, we identified it by the code name because we were working on this broader branding exercise," Spang said.

IBM Tivoli Manager now is called Spectrum Protect, while Spectrum Archive is the new name for IBM's Linear Tape File System. The IBM Virtual Storage Center also has been rebranded as Spectrum Control, which gives customers the ability to manage and monitor storage devices.

"We are introducing the beta of a new capability called Spectrum Control Storage Insight," Spang said. "It's a new capability added to Spectrum Control and it is being introduced as a cloud service with the software. Storage Insight analyzes and feeds guidance to the environment about placing data to optimize storage configuration and drive cost efficiencies. Spectrum Protect and Spectrum Control work together to manage data backup and archiving."

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