So what is Spectrum NAS?

Ok, so what is Spectrum NAS? Where does it fit into the Spectrum Software Defined Storage Portfolio? What makes it different from my hardware NAS? Why should I care?

What is Spectrum NAS?

Spectrum NAS is a newly announced scale-out, software defined NAS system, which runs on bare metal “storage rich” x86 servers, or as virtual appliances on various different hypervisors. The system provides NFS and CIFS/SMB file shares with all the usual directory integration.


Where does it fit in the Spectrum SDS Portfolio?

It’s become apparent that the Spectrum SDS Portfolio didn’t really do simple NAS in the way in which customers want it. Sure, if you want to have a globally distributed single name-space, running a bajillion different protocols across tens of thousands of nodes, Spectrum Scale is better than anything else on the market, but Scale doesn’t really play nicely as a simple NAS environment. Of course, it’s good at NAS protocols, NFS, SMB, etc.  but they’re really targeted as large data stores with archival or HPC types of use cases, rather than file/home directory type storage. Spectrum NAS is therefore targeted at customers who wish to have a simple to configure and maintain NAS, but one which is highly functional, while also scaling up to customers such as service providers, who are in need of similarly simple hands-off NAS at massive scale, for their customers’ multiple different use cases.


What makes it different from my hardware NAS?

Spectrum NAS is different to the NAS implementations you’ve dealt with before. IBM haven’t just implemented SAMBA over the top of some shonky FOSS scale-out filesystem. This is an entirely new product. The SMB support, for instance, implements 89% of the protocol specification, compared with Microsoft’s 91% and SAMBA at somewhere below 50%.

Spectrum NAS can tolerate failure without requiring connections to be re-made, it is not a bog standard dual controller failover system. No loss of communications to critical applications, in the event of a trivial failure of network or node.

Spectrum NAS implements true erasure coding, for hardware redundancy. You can even select your preferred level of erasure coding, rather than being stuck with a one-size fists all enforced EC level.

Available bandwidth as well as storage scale as new nodes are added.

Spectrum NAS can upgrade hardware seamlessly without the requirement to restart or replicate to another system. New nodes can be brought into the cluster and old ones ejected for smooth upgrades.

Crucially though – This is a NAS where you’re not trapped with a hardware vendor – you can buy the hardware from whoever you want and mix and match as you desire!

Spectrum NAS is not just made for bog standard file serving, you can also run hypervisors’ VMs from it and sophisticated applications such as Exchange or MSSQL have the protocol features they need.


Why should I care?

Spectrum NAS is not just another gateway in front of an object store, or a monolithic array which can form a cluster with other monolithic arrays, it’s a fully featured, fully software defined NAS. You can buy what you want, when you want it and scale linearly with excellent support for many different NAS use cases.


More information can be found here: