Spectrum Scale Solution: IBM vs EMC

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When considering enterprise storage software options, IT managers constantly strive to find the most efficient, scalable, and high performance solutions that solve today’s storage performance and scalability challenges, while future-proofing their investment to handle new workloads and data types. Enterprise backup solutions can be particularly vulnerable to issues stemming from poor network performance to the storage array(s), and are often not designed with the scalability demanded by rapidly changing enterprise environments.

Data backup is critical to enterprise users, and often faces challenges in network throughput (often viewed as the key factor in how long it takes to perform a backup of data) as well as scalability (viewed as how much the system can grow before new solutions would be required). Using published data, Edison compared a solution comprised of EMC® Isilon® against an IBM® Spectrum ScaleTM solution. (IBM Spectrum Scale was formerly IBM® General Parallel File SystemTM or IBM® GPFSTM, also known as code name Elastic Storage). For both solutions, IBM® Spectrum ProtectTM (formerly IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager or IBM® TSM®) is used as a common workload performing the backups to target storage systems evaluated.

IBM Spectrum Protect is a data protection platform that provides a single-pane-of-glass- style approach to data backup and recovery, helping to protect a wide range of systems, including virtual machines, file servers, email, databases, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, mainframes and desktops through a single administration interface. Available in a range of configurations for single and multiple site installations, as well as providing a cloud -based Disaster Recovery (DR) service, the Spectrum Protect platform is flexible, powerful, and yet intuitively accessed and managed, making Spectrum Protect the ideal platform to evaluate consistent performance data, such as the performance data produced and evaluated in this paper.

As the reader will see in the benchmark results section of this paper, the Spectrum Scale solution provided for up to 11x better throughput results, while demonstrating superior linear scalability as additional resources are provided to the Spectrum Protect backup infrastructure. Compared to the EMC Isilon solution, the Spectrum Scale solution scales 11x better due to network design and capabilities using InfiniBand, allowing enterprise users to invest significantly less funding and additional infrastructure resources as enterprise scaling demands increase when using the Spectrum Scale solution.

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