Spectrum Scale UK April 2018 report

That’s a wrap!

Yes, we’ve made it to the end of another successful Spectrum Scale user group! This year has been our most highly attended group with over 110 registrations and around a 90% attendance rate. We had representation from 56 organisations and delegates from 13 countries as well as 29 speakers over 28 sessions. A big thank you goes out to all our IBM, sponsor and user speakers.

For 2018, we headed back to London and the IBM Client Centre London on the South Bank. The client centre team rightly deserve our thanks – where nothing was too much trouble for them. Finding us cables to plug our streaming kit and generally making sure the logistics of the venue were all dealt with.

Continue reading “Spectrum Scale UK April 2018 report”

UK May 2016 group report

Well, the 2016 UK May user group has finished. It has been a lot of work getting here, and a lot of organisation to get our first 2-day event up and running. Jez commented at the start of his talk on how far the user group has come – six years ago it was 12 people in a room with a bad Skype link, and now we over 100 attendees, nearly 30 speakers and two packed days of user talks, IBM talks and sponsor talks. We even had a VP or two along this year to hear what everyone had to say. We were amazed how fast we “sold out” (we’re free to attend!)!
IBM South Bank
First, a note of thanks, to Claire O’Toole, our group Secretary (and OCFer!) and Ulf Troppens, our IBM development liaison for getting the event together. And also to all the speakers for coming along, talking to us, listening to us and allowing us to challenge them for the future. We brought together speakers and users from across the globe – three continents (and that wasn’t just the IBM speakers!).

We had attendees from across the whole “Spectrum” of sectors, research institutions, VARs, finance and media, and hopefully the attendees were happy with the programme we put together. It was also great to see some of the L1 support guys from the UK – a great opportunity to put a face to a name. This year was the first time we’ve put together a two-day programme and hopefully people learned new things, found it useful and maybe most importantly, that we’ve inspired some people to look at new features of Spectrum Scale, try things out and upgrade from 3.5!

This year we returned to the IBM Client Centre at IBM South Bank, chatting to some of the speakers, it was the first time they’d been to IBM South Bank, and for some their first visit to London – I hope we impressed them with our event!

A bunch of us met up for an informal dinner and drinks the evening before, which was a great way of meeting people, and checking that the IBM speakers flying in had all made it … Claire and I didn’t have to make any contingency plans for the agenda which was nice!

This year we filmed many of the talks, and we’re hoping to post videos from the talks over the next few weeks – we need to cut them down and plan to fix up the slides, in the meantime, many of the slide decks are already posted on the presentations page.

Doris OpeningDay one started with myself and Claire opening the meeting and handing over to Doris Conti (Development Director for Spectrum Scale) to give us our keynote talk. Doris mentioned that she wants the people at the user group to each year to say “Wow” about what they have been doing over the past year, there’s certainly some areas where I think that is the case.

Ulf's Opening talk
Ulf followed on bringing us an overview of the development priorities for 2016 and was followed by Markus giving us a sneak peak of the next GUI release coming this summer. Just before lunch, we finished with the first of our Sponsor talks – Ray from Seagate talked on Spectrum Scale and IoT, some interesting deployments using Spectrum Scale for Windows as an ingest target for CCTV systems.

After lunch, we were met with another sponsor talk. Jez from ArcaStream talked on their Python API and gave a short demo of it in use. Our first user deployment talk, Dave from MilkVFX gave a fascinating overview of their deployment of AFM between their London and Cardiff offices (and their showreel video got a round of applause as well). Next up, a sponsor talk, Mo from NetApp spoke on the E series systems and how they can be deployed for HPC file-systems.

Our second user deployment talk came from Pam at NCAR, talking on their massive deployment changes happening this summer. The final pre-break talk came from IBM with a deep dive look at the Hadoop integration of Spectrum Scale and how the new transparency layer works. Check-out the slides for details on accessing your POSIX file-system data from your Hadoop workloads!

The final set of talks began with a sponsor talk, with Darren from Mellanox giving an overview on how fabric cards could be used in the future to support storage systems. Another two deep dive technical sessions followed, with Robert talking about the Transparent Cloud Tiering product coming later this year, and then Mathias spoke on Problem Determination, the new features in the 4.2.1 release and the new mmhealth command.

We wrapped up the day on time and then many of us headed down to Namco Funscape in County Hall for the evening social event. The bumper cars and bowling proved a massive hit along with the pool and table tennis tables. Ulf and I even checked out the rollercoaster simulator!

Namco Funscape

Day two started a little earlier – we figured most people would already be in London, and it was great to see pretty much everyone make it for the 9:30 start, even with the evening social ….

We kicked off the morning with parallel break-out sessions, with a well-attended talk on licensing from David, and an equally well attended sponsor talk from Laurence at OCF talking on Scale out NAS. I was surprised at how few people (OK only me!) have faced the PVU to Socket conversion … the take-away is to start the process early!

Breakout sessions

Our breakouts continued with Indulis talking on metadata (with real actual numbers and how it works), a session to chat with the GUI developers, and Nils leading a series of Spectrum Protect (TSM!) talks – covering Spectrum Protect Space Management (ILM), Archive (LTFS-EE)SOBAR and using Spectrum Scale as a store for Spectrum Protect. Our other breakout speakers included Madhav on AFM and Olaf and Yohann talking on encryption and compressions. There was also a packed session on monitoring, with Doris opening to the floor for open discussion on what we’d like to see and how to integrate.

Lunch saw the IBM Client Centre people reset the rooms back into a single space for our afternoon slots. Doug asked for a few minutes to present the results of day 1’s survey – how much storage we looked after in the room, and how many people do it … We found amazingly that its 2.9PB/person!

Vic from DDN brought us another sponsor talk, covering adventures in AFM, and looked at their Imperial College London deployment and the massive effect link latency can have on AFM throughput. Gaurang followed up talking on OpenStack integration, covering the Cinder driver and also the object on file work and gave a demo of using object on file with the Manilla driver to have file-based access to a file whilst simultaneously having access to the same file via Swift. The session was wrapped up with Madhav speaking on IBM Life Sciences and how Spectrum Scale can be used to underpin the demanding research needs of the life sciences areas.

Time for another break, followed by Michael from Lenovo, a sponsor talk, clarifying a few post Lenovo divesture myths and talking about development of the GSS solution and how they are still working closely with IBM to deliver the product. We closed the talks with Sven talking about IBM research giving us an insight into what is being thought about for the future and also on some major performance developments which have been driven by major contracts that have a benefit to all.

Doris provided us with some closing remarks and thoughts on the day before Claire and myself wrapped up the day. For me, it has been a great but tiring few days. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback so it was well worth it!

Oh, and we event started discussions about finding a bigger venue for 2017. We’re still hoping to bring together a meet the devs later this year and also hope to coordinate another (much!) smaller user group meeting towards the end of the year.

Finally, a note of thanks to the sponsors for the event, without their support we couldn’t have made the evening event happen.


May 2016 UK User Group

The UK May user group will take place over two days on 17th and 18th May 2016 at the IBM Client Centre in South Bank, London. We’d like to thank IBM and our sponsors for supporting the event and the evening networking/social event on the evening of 17th May 2016.
As usual we’ll have a packed agenda with speakers from the IBM development teams, user talks as well as technical talks from our sponsors. This is the first year we’ve run a two day user group event, so we’re hoping it’ll be a great event with more talks and networking opportunities than ever before! And in addition to that, we’ve planned a networking/social event just a few minutes walk from the user group venue where we’ll have food, drinks, pool, ping-pong, bowling and tokens for the machines and bumper cars! … Anyone for an IBM vs tournament?


The slides from the day are now available on the presentations page.

The agenda for the day is a bit further down the page…


We’d very much like to thank the following sponsors for supporting the user group meeting by providing funding to support the evening social event:



Day 1 – 17th May 2016

10:00 Registration & Coffee
10:30 Opening & Welcome – Simon Thompson & Claire O’Toole
10:45 Keynote talk – Doris Conti
11:05 4.2 Roadmap & 2016 Priorities, Ulf Troppens
11:35 Deep Dive – 4.2 GUI & Live Demo, Markus Rohwedder
12:05 Sponsor Talk 1 – Seagate: Using Spectrum Scale in the IoT World, Ray Coetzee
12:25 Lunch & Networking
13:25 Sponsor Talk 2 – ArcaStream: Python API & Demo, Jez Tucker
14:00 User Talk 1 – NCAR’s Globally Accessible Data Environment, Pamela Gillman, NCAR
14:20 Sponsor Talk 3 – NetApp: TBC, Mohinder Toor
14:40 User Talk 2 – Milk flows freely from London to Cardiff with AFM, Dave Goodbourn, Milk Visual Effects
15:00 Deep Dive – Hadoop Integration, Piyush Chaudhary
15:30 Coffee Break
16:00 Sponsor Talk 4 – Mellanox: Accelerating storage functions in a co-design network, Darren Harkins
16:20 Technical Deep Dive – Tiering to the Cloud / MC Store, Robert Basham
16:50 Technical Deep Dive – Problem Determination Enhancements, Mathias Dietz
17:50 Wrap-up
18:00 Finish
18:30 Evening Social Event – Namco Funscape

Day 2 – 18th May 2016

09:00 Arrival & Coffee
09:30 Parallel Talk Session

  • Talk 1: Licensing, David Cremise
  • Sponsor Talk 5 – OCF: Scale out NAS for the masses, Laurence Horrocks-Barlow
10:00 Parallel Breakout/workshop session 1

  • Spectrum Scale ILM & Spectrum Archive, Nils Haustein (introductory)
  • Metadata sizing / tuning, Indulis Bernsteins, Madhav Ponamgi (advanced)
  • Upcoming GUI Enhancements / I have a Spectrum Scale question, Markus Rohwedder, Sven Oehme, Olaf Weiser
11:00 Parallel Breakout/workshop session 2

  • AFM Introduction and use cases, Madhav Ponamgi (introductory)
  • Spectrum Protect Integration & Best Practices, Nils Haustein (Backup and HSM) (advanced)
  • Upcoming GUI Enhancements / I have a Spectrum Scale question, Markus Rohwedder, Sven Oehme, Olaf Weiser
12:00 Parallel Breakout/workshop session 3

  • Encryption / Compression, Olaf Weiser, Yoann Lechevallier (introductory)
  • Spectrum Protect with Spectrum Scale, Nils Haustein (Backup and HSM) (advanced)
  • Upcoming GUI Enhancements / I have a Spectrum Scale question, Markus Rohwedder, Sven Oehme, Madhav Ponamgi
13:00 Lunch & Networking
14:00 Sponsor Talk 6 – DDN: Adventures in AFM, Vic Cornell
14:20 Deep Dive – OpenStack Integration, Gaurang Tapase
15:00 Sponsor Talk 7 – IBM: Life Sciences, Frank Lee
15:20 Coffee Break
15:50 Sponsor Talk 8 – Lenovo, Michael Hennecke
16:10 A look into the future by IBM Research, Sven Oehme
17:10 Wrap-up and feedback
17:30 Finish


To register for this year’s event, please use our EventBrite event page at:

Registration opens for users from 14th March 2016.

Please note that we are currently limiting registrations to 3 per organisation to ensure as many organisations as possible are able to attend and places are strictly limited due to room capacity. We will be operating a wait list, so if you can’t get a ticket now, then we’ll hold details in case they become available nearer the date.

May User group meeting … save the date!

The next UK user group meeting will be held on May 17th and 18th 2016. This will be our first venture into a two day event and we still have a fun packed agenda!

We’ll be opening user registrations in mid March, so check back for registration details and agenda then.

We’d like to thank our sponsors from ArcaStreamDDNIBMLenovoNetAppMellanox and OCF for supporting the user group with speakers and supporting the evening networking/social event on 17th.