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IBM SAN Volume Controller
Simplify management of storage infrastructure, tiered storage and advanced functions

IBM SAN Volume Controller

IBM Products
IBM SAN Volume Controller
IBM SAN Volume Controller Entry Storage Engine (2145 Model SA2)
Two Intel Cascade Lake, 8 core processors and 128 GB of base memory, with options for up to 768 GB of memory. 10 Gb iSCSI connectivity is standard, with options for 16 or 32 Gb FC, and 25 Gb iSCSI/RoCE/iWARP over Ethernet connectivity.
Get a Quote!
IBM SAN Volume Controller Storage Engine (2145 Model SV2)
Two Intel Cascade Lake, 16 core processors and 128 GB of base memory, with options for up to 768 GB of memory. 10 Gb iSCSI connectivity is standard, with options for 16 or 32 Gb FC, and 25 Gb iSCSI/RoCE/iWARP over Ethernet connectivity.
Get a Quote!

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Built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize™ software—part of the IBM Spectrum Storage™ family—IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) is an enterprise-class storage system that helps organizations achieve better data economics by supporting the new large scale workloads that are critical to success. SVC systems can handle the massive volumes of data from mobile and social applications and enable flexible hybrid multicloud deployments and deliver the performance and scalability needed to gain insights from the latest analytics technologies.

  • Simplify storage with consistent capability and management
  • Complement on-premises storage of all types with hybrid multicloud
  • Use encryption to help improve data security
  • Apply data reduction for efficiency and lower cost
  • Move data among storage systems without disruptions
  • Implement multi-site configurations for high availability and data mobility
  • Optimize tiered storage effortlessly with IBM Easy Tier

Simplify and enhance your infrastructure with software-defined storage

Although most users (71%) regard storage as a strategic asset that is critical to their core business, multi-vendor storage deployments introduce complexity into the data center.

As a result, storage cost, management and optimization of data placement, and data migration are among the top five concerns of storage users. These concerns delay deployment of new storage technologies, limit flexibility, and increase costs.

The right software-defined storage is the answer. IBM SAN Volume Controller, built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize software, simplifies infrastructure and eliminates differences in management, function, and even hybrid multicloud support.

SVC introduces a common approach to storage management, function, replication, and hybrid multicloud that is independent of storage type. It's the key to modernizing and revitalizing your storage, but is as easy to understand as A, B, C...

Agility: Move data without disruption among storage systems

  • Use different storage systems for different tiers of storage
  • Manage all your storage in a consistent way with common tools

Bridging: Bridge to new storage technologies or application areas such as containers

  • Ease adoption of new technology so you get benefit quickly
  • Easily add new storage systems and migrate data without disruption
  • Support containers and Red Hat OpenShift with the storage you already have

Cloud: Add hybrid cloud capability to your storage

  • Deploy a unified cloud capability across all storage types and different clouds
  • Enjoy hybrid multicloud that is simple, consistent, and comprehensive

Data Reduction: Store more data on the storage you already own

  • Support growing volumes of data
  • Avoid or delay new purchases, reducing capex needs

Encryption: Improve cyber resiliency by encrypting data at rest

  • Apply consistent encryption and key management across storage systems
  • Make cyber resiliency simpler and more dependable

In the era of hybrid multicloud, big data and analytics, and mobile and social computing, organizations need to meet ever-changing demands for storage while also improving data economics. IT must deliver more services faster and more efficiently, enable rapid insight and support more customer interaction.

Building an effective infrastructure starts with software-defined storage, which frees data from physical storage and provides better access to applications.

Built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize software—the software at the heart of IBM FlashSystem family—IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) helps organizations achieve better data economics by supporting these new workloads that are critical to their success. SVC systems can handle the massive volumes of data from mobile and social applications, enable rapid and flexible cloud services deployments and deliver the performance and scalability needed to gain insights from the latest analytics technologies.

An industry-leading storage solution, SVC has been delivering availability, reliability, flexibility and efficiency for more than 15 years. Its innovative capabilities, built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize, also provide the foundation for the IBM FlashSystem and Storwize families, and VersaStack integrated solutions. IBM has shipped more than 180,000 systems running IBM Spectrum Virtualize. These dependable systems are delivering more than five nines of availability while managing more than 11 exabytes of data.


Enhancing storage function

SVC includes IBM Spectrum Virtualize technology to help insulate applications from physical storage. This enables applications to run without disruption, even when changes are made to the storage infrastructure.

SVC helps make new and existing storage more effective and includes many functions traditionally deployed separately in storage systems. SVC standardizes functions across storage systems for greater flexibility and lower costs.

IBM Spectrum Virtualize functions in SVC benefit all supported storage, more than 500 systems from IBM and others. For example, Easy Tier and compression help improve performance and increase effective capacity; encryption helps improve data security; and high-performance thin provisioning helps automate provisioning. These benefits can help extend the useful life of existing storage assets, helping to reduce costs. And since these functions are integrated into SVC, they can operate smoothly together, reducing management effort.

Hybrid multicloud

The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) surveyed over 1,000 executives in 19 industries headquartered in 20 countries to help quantify the rapid industry shift toward hybrid multicloud. They found 85 percent of companies were already operating some workloads in a multicloud environment in 2018 and that by 2021, that model of computing would be practically ubiquitous.

The challenge for these organizations is how to take advantage of hybrid cloud technology without the expense of replacing current storage with cloud-capable storage systems or the complexity of different cloud solutions from different storage vendors. IBM Spectrum Virtualize in SVC and the cloud enables a common cloud solution for all supported storage regardless of vendor. IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud enables new use cases including cloud DR, DevOps and analytics, cyber resiliency, and workload migration.

Data reduction for enhanced efficiency

SVC can apply data reduction to new or existing storage to significantly increase usable capacity while maintaining application performance. This can help eliminate or drastically reduce costs for storage acquisition, rack space, power, and cooling, and can extend the useful life of existing storage assets. SVC data reduction includes compression, deduplication, thin provisioning, and SCSI unmap.

Improved application availability

Moving data is one of the most common causes of planned downtime. IBM Spectrum Virtualize with SVC enables moving data from one storage system to another, or between arrays, while maintaining access to the data. This function can be used when replacing older storage with newer storage, as part of load-balancing work, or when moving data in a tiered storage infrastructure from disk drives to flash.

Should an SVC engine fail, a new “hot spare” capability enables the system to rapidly switch to a standby engine, restoring full redundancy and performance in seconds.

The IBM HyperSwap function supports storage and servers in two data centers. In this configuration, the solution enables servers at both data centers to access data concurrently with automated switch-over in case of failure. When combined with server data mobility functions such as VMware vMotion or IBM PowerVM Live Partition Mobility, this configuration enables nondisruptive storage and virtual machine mobility between the two data centers, which can be up to 300 km (186 miles) apart.

Tiered storage

Automated storage tiering with Easy Tier can help improve performance at a lower cost by enabling more efficient use of flash storage, storage-class memory (SCM) or multiple tiers of disk drives. Easy Tier automatically identifies more active data and moves that data to flash.

Easy Tier can use any supported flash storage to benefit data on any other storage. This approach delivers greater benefits from flash storage than tiering systems that are limited to just a single storage system.

Flexible replication

With many conventional storage systems, replication operations are limited to in-box or likebox-to-like-box circumstances. Functions from different vendors can operate in different ways, which makes operations in mixed environments more complex and increases the cost of changing storage types. But IBM Spectrum Virtualize software in SVC is designed to enable administrators to apply a single set of advanced, network-based replication services that operate in a consistent manner, regardless of the type of storage being used.

IBM Spectrum Protect Snapshot is designed to perform near-instant, application-aware snapshot backups using SVC IBM FlashCopy local replication, but with minimal impact to IBM Db2, Oracle, SAP, VMware, Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Exchange databases.

SVC also supports remote mirroring to enable organizations to create copies of data at remote locations for disaster recovery. Replication can occur between any systems built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize and can include any supported storage (including cloud with IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud software). Support for VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager helps speed disaster recovery.

Simplified management

IBM Spectrum Virtualize software delivers a modern user interface for centralized management. With this single interface, administrators can perform configuration, management and service tasks in a consistent manner over multiple storage systems—even from different vendors—vastly simplifying management and helping reduce the risk of errors. Plug-ins to support Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, VMware vCenter, and Red Hat Ansible help enable more efficient, consolidated management in these environments. The interface is consistent with other members of the IBM Spectrum Storage family, to simplify tasks for administrators and help reduce the risk of error.

Greater storage visibility, insight and control

As the resource on which your business depends, data is paramount. Your storage systems take on even greater importance. IBM Storage Insights and IBM Storage Insights Pro provide critical capabilities that enhance your experience throughout that data’s lifetime:

  • A single dashboard so you can see the status of all your IBM block storage at a glance
  • Trend information about capacity and performance so you can make better and more informed decisions
  • Storage health information that helps you bring your configuration in line with best practices
  • When support is needed, the ability to easily open a ticket, upload log information, and view open tickets
  • Detailed configuration data available to IBM specialists to help close tickets quickly

Delivered as a service from IBM Cloud at no charge, Storage Insights is quick and easy to set up and requires no ongoing software maintenance. IBM Storage Insights Pro is an upgrade that provides more detailed information and additional capabilities including support for cloud storage managed by IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud.

Complement server virtualization and containerization

IBM Spectrum Virtualize in SVC complements server virtualization with technologies such as PowerVM, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vSphere, Kubernetes and CRI-O.

Similar to virtualized servers, provisioning with SVC is achieved with software and with thin provisioning and is designed to become an almost entirely automated function. Without SVC, server provisioning could be slowed by the need to provision storage.

Containerization is a key enabling technology for flexibly delivering workloads to private and public cloud and DevOps. SVC enables any supported storage to be used as persistent storage in container environments with support for the Container Storage Interface (CSI), improving flexibility, simplifying deployment and helping to lower costs while offering clients the confidence of deploying stateful containers using highly available storage with enterprise capabilities.

Many organizations run mixed environments with a variety of virtualized and non-virtualized servers and expect to do so for years to come. SVC offers an external storage solution to provide consistent services for all attached servers, whether or not those servers are virtualized.

Scalability and performance

SVC is an integrated, modular highly scalable system. SVC engines are deployed in pairs for high availability; a system contains one to four pairs. SVC systems can be upgraded without disruption with more engines for greater performance. Two engine models are available to suit differing price/performance needs. Available networking options include 32 Gbps fibre channel, 10 Gbps ethernet, and 25 Gbps ethernet. SVC supports iSCSI, fibre channel, FC-NVMe, iWARP, and RoCE protocols.

Foundation for cloud deployments

Improving efficiency and delivering a flexible, responsive IT infrastructure are essential requirements for any cloud deployment. Technologies for delivering this infrastructure include virtualization, consolidation and automation.

With its robust storage capabilities, high-availability architecture and compatibility with PowerVM, Hyper-V, VMware, OpenStack, Kubernetes and CRI-O, SVC complements virtualized and containerized servers that are at the heart of cloud deployments.


Improve data value

Reduce the cost of storing data by increasing utilization and using data reduction, and accelerating applications to speed business insights.

Increase data security

Help protect data from disclosure, and enable a complete high availability strategy including data and application mobility and full DR protection including to the cloud.

Enhance data simplicity

Support a data strategy independent of infrastructure choice with tightly integrated enterprise-class functionality and consistent management across heterogeneous storage.

Six 9's availability

Gain the highest levels of availability to support your mission-critical applications.


IBM SAN Volume Controller Specifications
Shared SMP processor configuration per engine Model SA2: Dual 8-core 2.1GHz Intel Xeon 4208 (Cascade Lake) processors with 128-768GiB memory
Model SV2: Dual 16-core 2.3GHz Intel Xeon 5218 (Cascade Lake) processors with 128-768GiB memory
Processor memory per engine 128 to 768 GiB
Host adapter interfaces per engine
  • Up to twelve 32-Gbps Fibre Channel ports (FC or FC-NVMe)
  • Up to six 25-Gbps optical (SFP+) Ethernet ports for (iSCSI, iWARP, RoCE)
  • Four 10-Gbps copper (RJ45) Ethernet ports
Maximum storage capacity Up to 32 PB usable capacity
Storage and server attachment Fibre Channel, FC-NVMe, and iSCSI
Storage system support More than 500 flash, hybrid and disk storage systems from IBM and other vendors


IBM SAN Volume Controller Front and Rear


Download the IBM SAN Volume Controller Datasheet (.PDF)

Pricing Notes:

IBM Products
IBM SAN Volume Controller
IBM SAN Volume Controller Entry Storage Engine (2145 Model SA2)
Two Intel Cascade Lake, 8 core processors and 128 GB of base memory, with options for up to 768 GB of memory. 10 Gb iSCSI connectivity is standard, with options for 16 or 32 Gb FC, and 25 Gb iSCSI/RoCE/iWARP over Ethernet connectivity.
Get a Quote!
IBM SAN Volume Controller Storage Engine (2145 Model SV2)
Two Intel Cascade Lake, 16 core processors and 128 GB of base memory, with options for up to 768 GB of memory. 10 Gb iSCSI connectivity is standard, with options for 16 or 32 Gb FC, and 25 Gb iSCSI/RoCE/iWARP over Ethernet connectivity.
Get a Quote!