File and Object Storage

How IBM Spectrum Scale and ESS becomes the ultimate solution for a hybrid cloud infrastructure

By David Wohlford posted Tue January 12, 2021 12:29 PM


90% of enterprises by 2021 will build their IT strategies around a MIX of on-premises private clouds, public clouds and their existing platforms.  The question is are they ready?  In these uncertain times customer want the maximum agility.  Customer want to move or access data from wherever it currently resides, legacy storage, on the edge, in the data center, on a tape, in the cloud or even on a modern container platform.


Active file management (AFM) is the patented technology that is integrated with IBM Spectrum Scale and ESS nodes.  It is a scalable, high-performance, file system caching layer integrated with the GPFS™ cluster file system which is the operating system of IBM Spectrum Scale. AFM allows you to create associations from a local GPFS cluster to a remote cluster or storage, and to define the location and flow of file data to automate the management of the data. This allows you to implement a single namespace view across sites around the world.

This feature is available with IBM Spectrum Scale™ Standard Edition or higher.

AFM masks wide-area network latencies and outages by using GPFS to cache massive data sets, allowing data access and modifications even when remote storage cluster is unavailable. In addition, AFM performs updates to the remote cluster asynchronously, which allows applications to continue operating while not being constrained by limited outgoing network bandwidth.

The AFM implementation leverages the inherent scalability of GPFS to provide a multinode, consistent cache of data located at a home cluster. By integrating with the file system, AFM provides a POSIX-compliant interface, making the cache completely transparent to applications. AFM is easy to deploy, as it relies on open standards for high-performance file serving and does not require any proprietary hardware or software to be installed at the home cluster.

By using NFSv3 or GPFS protocol to cache data, AFM can improve network performance to any home cluster. The performance of AFM is limited by NFS whenever the NFS protocol is used.


You can learn more about the solution by visiting the Spectrum Scale web page or find out more about the architecture here.