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4 Key Benefits of IBM Spectrum Virtualize

To meet functionality requirements and capacity constraints, organizations are investing in software-defined, or virtualized, storage. Software-defined storage separates storage software from the underlying hardware, enabling I & O pros to provision and manage storage independent of the hardware, while providing hardware choice. This creates benefits such as more efficient operations, improved backup and disaster recovery, and cost savings.  

IBM commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study to provide prospective customers with a framework to evaluate the potential financial impact of IBM Spectrum Virtualize on their organizations. IBM Spectrum Virtualize is a flexible software foundation that consolidates storage management across differing storage resources. The solution is packaged with IBM FlashSystem arrays and SAN Volume Controller. To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this investment, Forrester interviewed several customers with years of experience using IBM Spectrum Virtualize.  

Challenges Prior to Deploying IBM Spectrum Virtualize 

Forrester conducted four interviews with IBM Spectrum Virtualize customers from the healthcare, consumer products, and government industries. Prior to their investment in IBM Spectrum Virtualize, organizations faced the following common challenges: 

  • Storage vendor silos with different management needs and pockets of capacity. Organizations struggled with islands of storage that were preventing admins from improving utilization, replicating data, moving data around, and cost effectively migrating to new storage hardware. However, these organizations also wanted the flexibility afforded by not being locked into any one hardware vendor. 
  • Rapid data growth juxtaposed against shrinking budgets. The organizations also struggled with rapidly growing data volumes and capacity needs while also facing increasing pressure on infrastructure costs. Some organizations experienced up to 15% data growth per year. As these environments grow, they become increasingly complex and expensive to manage. 
  • Impacts to business-critical applications. As a result of having silos of storage infrastructure, admins lacked the visibility to make decisions that could improve performance or availability. The organizations sought to reduce latency and downtime and improve backup capabilities in order to lesson the impact on business users. 

Key Benefits Realized with IBM Spectrum Virtualize 

The interviewed organizations revealed that they experience the following key benefits from their investment in IBM Spectrum Virtualize: 

  1. Operational Simplicity (24% of total benefits): Improved agility creates simplicity and cost effectiveness. 
  • Consolidate all storage and manage it as one storage pool, (separate from hardware).  
  • Simplify management, with a consistent and unified approach to data reduction and encryption across all storage. 
  • Complete provisioning of new storage, maintenance, backups, and recovery more efficiently and better manage capacity between primary and secondary environments. 
  • Admins are now able to – without disruption – move data to different storage systems to optimize performance, i.e., tier data to cost effective storage and easily migrate storage to new hardware. 
  • Leverage automation to reduce the amount of time spent on daily management and maintenance tasks and use saved time for more strategic work. 
  • Organizations realize a reduction in storage admin effort by 60%. 

Quote from interviewee: 

“We’ve been able to survive this long because of the simplicity and the consistency of that interface across all the deliverables, same look and feel on everything. Without [IBM Spectrum Virtualize] we would need roughly two to three times more staff.” 

  1. Storage Cost Efficiency (43% of total benefits)Access to advanced storage functionality without a hardware upgrade. 
  • Store up to five times as much data in the same space using data reduction techniques, thereby eliminating pockets of capacity that were previously in silos.  
  • Move data to the most appropriate type of storage, using a mix of hardware systems to optimize costs. 
  • Avoid upgrading hardware or investing in additional software to get capabilities like encryption or deduplication across their storage environment. 
  • Organizations improve the utilization of existing storage infrastructure by 33%, achieve an average 3-to-1 data reduction ratio across different data sets, and reduce storage growth from 15% to 6% year over year. 

Quote from interviewee: 

 “I still keep multiple tiers of storage, so I’ll buy very inexpensive. With the ability to move stuff around, we don’t get bloat, we don’t get waste, [and] we don’t get the rounding error, because we can right size the disc for the host. We can move this to the right level for either capacity or performance easily with IBM Spectrum Virtualize.” 

  1. Reduced Downtime (26% of total benefits): Access to innovative hardware without disruption.  
  • Use IBM Storage insights to collect data from their storage systems and proactively monitor storage KPIs to predict and prevent issues before they impact the business. 
  • Leverage aspects such as nondisruptive data mobility between data centers and the ability to move data between storage systems without having to take applications offline. 
  • Add new hardware quickly without having to make major changes or undergo a big data migration effort as the platform supports most vendors (more then 500 heterogenous storage systems). 
  • Organizations eliminate up to 50 hours of downtime per year, reducing costs and eliminating disruptions to business users and external customers. 

Quote from interviewee: 

“Before we had two days of downtime to manage the migration of data. With IBM Spectrum Virtualize there is zero downtime. To be able to go from where I was back then, with that storage, to where I am able to migrate literally every block of storage in the environment, with zero downtime, is pretty incredible.” 

  1. Improved Disaster Recovery (7% of total benefits): Improved business continuity 
  • Leverage the local and remote replication features to drive backup efficiencies and improve disaster recovery KPIs like RPO. 
  • Create consistent backup processes that improve RPOs and reduce impact to users in the event of a disruption in the primary data center. 
  • Experience less unplanned downtime associated with storage management processes, and storage admins reduce off-hours work associated with planned downtime. 
  • Organizations reported that a 98% reduction in RPOs reduced the cost of data loss. 

Quote from interviewee: 

“Anything less than 72 hours [of] recovery time gets replicated with Global Mirror to another Spectrum Virtualize environment. We were not meeting those agreed-upon service levels or recovery times before. Now, we’re exceeding them.” 

IBM Spectrum Virtualize is deployed within the IBM FlashSystem family and IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) to provide feature-rich, enterprise-grade storage solutions that help enterprises cost-effectively support the workloads and applications that are crucial to their business success. A complementary version, IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud, is also available for cloud deployments and provides the same capabilities.  

Check out our latest blog: “Why the IBM FlashSystem Family is Designed for the Future” to read more about IBM Spectrum Virtualize and how it works within the IBM FlashSystem Family. 

Note: The complete Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study conducted by Forrester Consulting contains full details on the disclosures, framework and methodology used.