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IBM Elastic Storage Server (ESS) – Spectrum Scale Software – Product Brief

Last updated January 22nd, 2019 to add explanations of software editions. Concise 7-page overview of the architecture, potential, performance of high-end NAS product IBM Elastic Storage Server.

The IBM Elastic Storage Server (ESS) system based on IBM Spectrum Scale software is offered by IBM to meet large-scale file storage requirements. ESS uses GPFS installed on either IBM hardware that is also used for the FlashSystem 9100 in the case of the ESS 3000 or IBM Power servers with either captive storage or attached to all flash external or disk-based storage systems for earlier models. Spectrum Scale software may be used with other available storage systems and servers. Two server-based systems make up an ESS node pair and the clustered distributed file system GPFS allows multiple node pairs in a configuration. A global namespace for access to large numbers of files is a key feature. Standard hardware and software are integrated to provide the systems and advanced features.

The IBM ESS system integrates standard hardware and software elements to provide file storage over standard protocols. The standard hardware includes Intel or IBM Power server systems with internal or external storage. The software elements include Spectrum Scale (General Parallel File System) and Spectrum Protect (Tivoli Storage Manager). IBM ESS has been certified as a storage target for HortonWorks Data Platform.

Object access is supported with the incorporation of Swift open source software installed on GPFS nodes. Objects are stored as files within GPFS. The extended S3 API for Swift is added to support applications written for S3 and AWS.

IBM Spectrum Scale software can be installed on different servers and utilize multiple storage systems in the case of earlier ESS models. Additionally, Spectrum Scale can be installed on AWS for customers that run or develop analytics software in the public cloud. There are multiple editions of Spectrum Scale software that vary in the licensing and included functions. An explanation of the various editions is included in the Evaluator Group ESS product analysis document.

The hardware architecture of ESS consists of the following elements:

    • ESS Node pairs – Either a dual controller Intel-based system (FlashSystem 9100 hardware platform) or two IBM Power servers that execute the ESS software including Spectrum Scale. The system is specified to support up to 40 GB/s bandwidth per node pair.
    • Management Node – an integrated IBM server that contains the management software
    • IP Management Network – a private Ethernet network used for managing the internal elements
    • IBM Hardware Management Console
    • Storage: either internal or all flash or disk-based external enclosures
    • 100GigE cluster interconnect
    • 100GigE, 40GigE, 10GigE, FDR InfiniBand host connection

IBM ESS Product Brief Includes:

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Usage
  • Eval(u)Scale Table
  • Evaluator Group’s Opinion

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