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2011

Drew Robb has a good article about what IT industry pundits including vendors, analysts, and advisors loath including comments from myself.

In the article Drew asks: What do you really love about  storage and what are your pet peeves?

 

One of my comments and perspectives is that I like Hybrid  Hard Disk Drives (HHDDs) in addition to traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD) along with Solid State Devices (SSDs). As much as I like HHDDs, I also believe that with  any technology, they are not the best solution for everything, however they  can also be used in many ways than being seen. Here is the  fifth installment of a series on HHDDs that I have done since June 2010 when I  received my first HHDD a Seagate Momentus XT. You can read the other  installments of my momentus moments here, here, here and here.

 

Seagate Momentus XT
HHDD with integrated nand flash SSD photo courtesy Seagate.com

 

Molly Rector VP of marketing at magnetic tape vendor Spectra Logic  mentioned that what she does not like is companies that base their business  plan on patent law trolling. I would have expected something different along the lines  of countering or correcting people that say tape sucks, tape is dead, or that tape is the cause problem of anything wrong with storage thus clearing the air or putting up a fight  that tape  is alive. Go figure...

 

Another of my comments involved clouds of which there  are plenty of conversations taking place. I do like clouds (I even recently wrote a book involving them) however Im a fan of using them  where applicable to coexist and enhance other IT resources.  Dont be scared of clouds, however  be ready, do your homework, listen, learn, do proof of concepts to decide  best practices, when, where, what and how to use them.

 

Speaking of clouds, click here to read about who is responsible for cloud data loss and cast your vote, along with viewing what do you think about IT clouds in general here.

 

Mike Karp (aka twitter @storagewonk ) an analyst with Ptak Noel mentions  that midrange environments dont get respect from big (or even startup) vendors.

 

I would take that a step further by saying compared to six or so years ago, SMB  are getting night and day better respect along with attention by most vendors,  however what is lacking is respect of the SOHO sector (e.g. lower end of SMB  down to or just above consumer).

 

Granted some that have traditional sold into  those sectors such as server vendors including Dell and HP get it or at least  see the potential along with traditional enterprise vendor EMC via its Iomega . Yet I still  see many vendors including startups in general discounting, shrugging off or sneering at the SOHO space similar  to those who dissed or did not respect the SMB space several years ago. Similar  to the SMB space, SOHO requires different products, packaging, pricing and  routes to market via channel or etail mechanisms which means change for some  vendors. Those vendors who embraced the SMB and realized what needed to change  to adapt to those markets will also stand to do better with the SOHO.

 

Here is  the reason that I think SOHO needs respect.

 

Simple, SOHOs grow up to become  SMBs, SMBs grow up to become SMEs, SMEs grow up to become enterprises and not  to mention that the amount of data being generated, moved, processed and stored  continues to grow. The net result is that SMBs along with SOHO storage demands  will continue to grow and for those vendors who can adjust to support those  markets will also stand to gain new customers that in turn can become plans for other solution offerings.

 

Cloud conversations

 

Not surprising Eran Farajun of Asigra which has been  doing cloud backups decades before they were known as clouds loves backup (and  restores). However I am surprised that Eran did not jump on the its time to  modernize and re architect data protection theme. Oh well, will have to have a  chat with Eran on that sometime.

 

What was surprising were comments from Panzura who has a  good distributed (e.g. read also cloud) file system that can be used for various  things including online reference data. Panzura has a solution that normally I  would not even think about in the context of being pulled into a Datadomain or  dedupe appliance type discussion (e.g tape sucks or other similar themes). So it is odd that they are playing to the tape sucks  camp and theme vs. playing to where the technology can really shine which IMHO is in the global, distributed, scale out and cloud file system space. Oh well, I guess you  go with what you know or has worked in the past to get some attention.

 

Molly Rector of Spectra also mentioned that she likes  High Performance Computing, surprised that she did not throw in high  productivity computing as well in conjunction with big data, big bandwidth,  green, dedupe, power, disk, tape and related buzzword bingo terms.

 

Also there are some comments from myself about cost  cutting.

 

While I see the need for organizations to cut costs during tough economic times, Im not a fan  of simply cutting cost for the sake of cost cutting as opposed to finding and removing complexity that in  turn remove costs of doing work. In other words, Im a fan of finding and  removing waste, becoming more effective and productive along with removing the  cost of doing a particular piece of work. This in the end meets the aim  of bean counters to cut costs, however can be done in a way that does not  degrade service levels or customer service experience. For example instead of  looking to cut backup costs, do you know where the real costs of doing data  protection exist (hint swapping out media is treating the symptoms) and if so,  what can be done to streamline those from the source of the problem downstream  to the target (e.g. media or medium). In other words, redesign, review,  modernize how data protection is done, leverage data footprint reduction (DFR)  techniques including archive, compression, consolidation, data management,  dedupe and other technologies in effective and creative ways, after all,  return on innovation is the new ROI.

 

Checkout Drews article here to read more on the above topics and themes.

 

Ok, nuff said for now

 

Cheers gs

It only makes sense that a book about Clouds, Virtualization, Data Storage and Networking be available via a cloud service in electronic format. Today Amazon and my publisher (CRC Press Taylor and Francis) released a Kindle version of my new book Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking which joins the previously released hardcopy version also available at Amazon.com among other venues.

Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking book on Kindle

 

Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking has been declared The New Enterprise Tech Bible by noted industry blogger and host of the Nekkid Tech (@NekkidTech) pod cast Greg Knieriemen (@Knieriemen). Check out Episode #11 (The Enterprise Tech Bible) of the Nekkid Tech pod cast show here.

Comments and reviews about Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking can be found at Amazon.com along with those from Stephen Guendert, PhD (@DrSteveGuendert) at CMG MeasureIT (@cmgnews) who says: Gregs latest book is the ibuprofen that will make these cloud computing information overload headaches go away. Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking is the single source you can read to get a clear understanding of the fundamentals of the cloud.

 

Greg Brunton, EDS, an HP Company commented: With all the chatter in the market about cloud storage and how it can solve all your problems, the industry needed a clear breakdown of the facts and how to use Cloud cloud storage effectively. Gregs latest book does exactly that.

 

Google preview of Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking book

 

Want to know more besides viewing the Google preview above?

 

Check out this free PDF download of Chapter 1 and view a PDF flyer with more information about the book including discount codes for ordering via the CRC Press or visit the StorageIO books page. In addition to Amazon Kindle version, other ebook formats including (PDF) are available here (bookdepository.com), and here (CRCnetBase) including each chapter.

 

View this post which has links too more information about cloud conversations and discussions.

 

Ok, nuff said for now

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO News Letter Image Fall (December) 2011 News letter

Welcome to the Fall (December) 2011 edition of the Server and StorageIO Group (StorageIO) news letter. This follows the Summer 2011 edition.

You can get access to this news letter via various social media venues (some are shown below) in addition to StorageIO web sites and subscriptions.

 

Click on the following links to view the Fall (December) 2011 edition as an HTML or PDF or, to go to the news letter page to view previous editions.

 

 

Enjoy this edition of the StorageIO newsletter, let me know your comments and feedback.

 

Nuff said for now

 

Cheers
Gs

Solid  state devices (SSD) are a popular topic gaining both industry adoption and  customer deployment to speed up storage performance. Here is a link to a recent conversation that I had with John Hillard to discuss industry trends and  perspectives pertaining to using SSD to boost performance and productivity for  SMB and other environments.

 

I/O consolidation from Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press) www.storageio.com/book3.html

 

SSDs  can be a great way for organizations to do IO consolidation to reduce costs in  place of using many hard disk drives (HDDs) grouped together to achieve a  certain level of performance. By consolidating the IOs off of many HDDs that  often end up being under utilized from a space capacity basis, organizations  can boost performance for applications while reducing, or reusing HDD based  storage capacity for other purposes including growth.

 

Here are some related material and comments:
Has SSD put Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) On Endangered Species List?
SSD and Storage System Performance
Are Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) getting too big?
Solid state devices and the hosting industry
Achieving Energy Efficiency using FLASH SSD
Using SSD flash drives to boost performance
Four ways to use SSD storage
4 trends that shape how agencies handle storage
Giving storage its due

 

You can read a transcript of the conversation and listen  to the pod cast here, or download the MP3 audio here.

 

Ok, nuff said about SSD (for now)

 

Cheers Gs

http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/laptops/laptop-hdd/

Seagate  recently announced the next generation Momentus XT Hybrid Hard Disk Drive  (HHDD) with a capacity of 750GB in a 2.5 inch form factor and MSRP of $245.00  USD including integrated NAND flash solid state device (SSD). As a refresher,  the Momentus XT is a HHDD in that it includes a 4GB nand flash SSD integrated  with a 500GB (or larger) 7,200 RPM hard disk drive (HDD) in a single 2.5 inch  package.

 

Seagate Momentus XT
HHDD with integrated nand flash SSD photo courtesy Seagate.com

 

This is the  fifth installment of a series that I have done since June 2010 when I  received my first HHDD a Seagate Momentus XT. You can read the other  installments of my momentus moments here, here, here and here.

 

Whats is new with the new  generation.
Besides  extra storage space capacity up to 750GB (was 500GB), there is twice as  much single level cell (SLC) nand flash memory (8GB vs. 4GB in previous  generation) along with an enhanced interface using 6Gb per second SATA that  supports native command queuing (NCQ) for better performance. Note that NCQ was  available on the previous generation Momentus XT that used a 3Gb SATA interface.  Other enhancements include a larger block or sector size of 4096 bytes vs.  traditional 512 bytes on previous generation storage devices.

 

This bigger  sector size results in less overhead with managing data blocks on large  capacity storage devices. Also new are caching enhancements are FAST Factor  Flash Management, FAST Factor Boot and Adaptive Memory Technology. Not to be  confused with EMC Fully Automated Storage Tiering the other FAST; Seagate FAST  is technology that exists inside the storage drive itself. FAST Factor boot  enables systems to boot and be productive with speeds similar to SSD or several  times faster than traditional HDDs.

 

The FAST  Factor Flash Management provides the integrated intelligence to maximize use of  the nand flash or SSD capabilities along with spinning HDD to boot performance,  keep up compatibility with different systems and their operating systems. In  addition to performance and interoperability, data integrity and SSD flash  endurance are also enhanced for investment protection. The Adaptive Memory  technology is a self learning algorithm to give SSD like performance for  often used applications and data to close the storage capacity too  performance gap that has increased along with data center bottlenecks.

 

Some questions and discussion  comments:

 

When to use SSD vs. HDD vs.  HHDD?
If you need  the full speed of SSD to boost performance across all data access and cost is  not an issue for available capacity that is where you should be focused.  However if you are looking for lowest total cost of storage capacity with no  need for performance, than lower cost high capacity HDDs should be on your  shopping list. On the other hand, if you want a mix of performance and capacity  at an effective price, than HHDDs should be considered.

 

Why the price jump compared to  first generation HHDD?
IMHO, it  has a lot to do with current market conditions, supply and demand.

 

With recent  floods in Thailand and forecasted HDD and other technology shortages, the lay  of supply and demand applies. This means that the supply may be constrained for  some products causing demand to rise for others. Your particular vendor or  supplier may have inventory however will be less likely to heavily discount  while there are shortages or market opportunities to keep prices high. There  are already examples of this if you check around on various sites to compare  prices now vs. a few months ago. Granted it is the holiday shopping season for  both people as well as organizations spending the last of their available  budgets so more demand for available supplies.

 

What kind of performance or productivity  have I seen with HHDDs?
While I  have not yet tested and compared the second generation or new devices, I can  attest to the performance improvements resulting in better productivity over  the past year using Seagate Momentus XT HHDDs compared to traditional HDDs.  Here is a post that you can follow to see some boot performance comparisons as  part of some virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) sizing testing I did earlier  this year that included both HHDD and HDD.

 

When will I jump on the SSD  bandwagon?
Great  question, I already have and have been using SSD. I have actually been on the SSD train for several decades using them,  selling them, covering, analyzing and consulting around them along with other  storage mediums including HDD, HHDD, cloud and tape. I have some SSDs and will  eventually put them into my laptops, workstations and servers as primary  storage when the opportunity makes sense. However instead of waiting and wishing for that larger capacity, lower cost SSD, Im gaining benefits today by leveraging the HHDDs.

 

Will HHDDs help backup and  other data protection tasks?
Yes, in  fact I initially used my Momentus XTs as backup or data protection targets  along with for moving large amounts of data between systems faster than what my  network could support.

 

Why not use a SSD?
If you need the performance and can afford the price, go SSD!

On the  other hand, if you are looking to add a small 64GB, 128GB or even 256GB SSD  while retaining a larger capacity, slower and lower cost HDD, an HHDD should be  considered as an option. By using an HHDD instead of both a SSD and HDD, you  will cut the need of figuring out how to install both in space  constrained laptops, desktop or workstations. In addition, you will cut  the need to either manually move data between the different devices or avoid having  to acquire software or drivers to do that for you.

 

How much does the new Seagate  Momentus XT HHDD cost?
Manufactures Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is listed at $245 for a  750GB version.

 

Does the Momentus XT HHDD need  any special drivers, adapters or software?
No, they  are plug and play. There is no need for caching or performance acceleration  drivers, utilities or other software. Likewise no needs for tiering or data  movement tools.

 

How do you install an HHDD  into an existing system?
Similar to  installing a new HDD to replace an existing one if you are familiar with that  process. If not, it goes like this (or uses your own preferred approach).

  • Attach a new HHDD to an existing system using a  cable
  • Utilize a disk clone or image tool to make a  copy of the existing HDD to HHDD
  • Note that the system may not be able to be used  during the copy, so plan ahead.
  • After the clone or image copy is made, shutdown  system, remove existing HDD and replace it with the HHDD that was connected to  the system during the copy (remember to remove the copy cable).
  • Reboot the system to verify all is well, note  that it will take a few reboots before the HHDD will start to learn your data  and files along with how they are used.
  • Regarding your old HDD, save it, put it in a  safe place and use it as a disaster recovery (DR) backup. For example if you  have a safe deposit box or somewhere else safe, put it there for when you will  need it in the future.


Seagate Momentus XT and USB to SATA cable

 

Can an HHDD fit into an  existing slot in a laptop, workstation or server?
Yes. In fact,  unlike a HDD and SSD combination, that requires multiple slots or forcing one  device to be external, HHDDs like the Momentus XT simply use the space where  your current HDD is installed.

 

How do you move data to it?
Beyond the  first installation described above, the HHDD appears as just another local  device meaning you can move data to or from it like any other HDD, SSD or CD.

 

Do you need automated tiering  software?
No, not  unless you need it for some other reason or if you want to use an HHDD as the  lower cost, larger capacity option as a companion to a smaller SSD.

 

Do I have any of the new or  second generation HHDDs?
Yes, one arrived the other day after they were offically released, stay tuned for some follow up information in a future momentus moment.

 

Bottom  line (for now), If  you are considering a large capacity, HDDs check out the HHDDs for an added  performance boost including faster boot times as well as accessing other  data quicker.

 

On  the other hand if you want an SSD however your budget restricts you to a  smaller capacity version, look into how an HHDD can be a viable option for some  of your needs.

 

Ok,  nuff said

 

Cheers gs