Spectrum no more: IBM drops brand name for storage products

IBM Storage is becoming a brand, with Big Blue dropping the Spectrum prefix for its storage products.

The Spectrum prefix washed over IBM’s storage software products in 2015 when it said planned to invest more than $1bn in the portfolio over the subsequent five years. The brandname applied to a whole, um, spectrum of products.

For example:

  • Spectrum Connect – orchestrates IBM storage in containerized, VMware, and PowerShell setups
  • Spectrum Elastic Storage System (ESS) – software-defined storage for AI and big data
  • Spectrum Discover – file cataloging and indexing product
  • Spectrum Fusion – containerized derivative of Spectrum Scale plus Spectrum Protect data protection
  • Spectrum Protect – data protection
  • Spectrum Scale – scale-out, parallel file system software (the prior GPFS)
  • Spectrum Virtualize – operating, management, and virtualization software for the Storwize and FlashSystem arrays and SAN Volume Controller
  • Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud (SVPC) – available for the IBM public cloud, AWS, and Azure

There was a Spectrum NAS once, based on Compuverde software. It quietly went away when Pure Storage bought Compuverde.

IBM’s storage business unit gained some of Red Hat’s storage products in October 2022, after it had bought the open-source software company in 2018. These were Red Hat Ceph Storage, Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation (ODF), Rook, and NooBaa. The base for Spectrum Fusion became ODF. But Ceph did not become Spectrum Ceph, the first sign, had we realized, that the wall-to-wall coverage of the Spectrum brand across IBM’s storage software offerings was coming to an end.

Now the Spectrum brand prefix is on the way out and we will have an IBM Storage prefix replacing it. 

We recognized the first signs of this a couple of days ago when told that IBM documentation referred to Storage Scale and Storage Fusion, instead of Spectrum Scale and Spectrum Fusion. The makeover was inconsistent, as the long Storage Scale datasheet still refers to Spectrum Scale while a shorter Storage Fusion solution brief document refers to IBM Storage Fusion.

An IBM spokesperson told us: “At IBM, we are constantly seeking out ways to enhance and simplify our customer experience. To that end, IBM Storage is reimagining its portfolio and aligning the offerings with what we’ve heard our clients need most now. We’ll be providing more information on this in the following weeks.”