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2012

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

 

Seven  Databases in Seven Weeks (A Guide to Modern Databases and the NoSQL Movement) is a book written Eric Redmond (@coderoshi) and Jim Wilson (@hexlib), part of The Pragmatic Programmers (@pragprog) series that  takes a look at several non SQL based database systems.

 

Cover image of seven databases in seven weeks book image

 

Coverage includes PostgreSQL, Riak, Apache HBase, MongoDB, Apache CouchDB, Neo4J and Redis with plenty of code and architecture examples. Also covered include relational vs. key value, columnar and document based systems among others.

 

The details: Seven Databases in Seven Weeks
  Paperback: 352 pages
  Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf (May 18, 2012)
  Language: English
  ISBN-10: 1934356921
  ISBN-13: 978-1934356920
  Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9 inches

 

Buzzwords (or keywords) include availability, consistency,  performance and related themes. Others include MongoDB, Cassandra, Redis,  Neo4J, JSON, CouchDB, Hadoop, HBase, Amazon Dynamo, Map Reduce, Riak (Basho) and Postgres along with  data models including relational, key value, columnar, document and graph along  with big data, little data, cloud and object storage.

 

While this book is not a how to tutorial or installation  guide, it does give a deep dive into the different databases covered. The  benefit is gaining an understanding of what the different databases are good  for, strengths, weakness, where and when to use or choose them for various  needs.

 

Look inside seven databases in seven weeks book image

A look inside my copy of Seven Databases in Seven Days

 

Who should this book includes applications developers, programmers,  Cloud, big data and IT/ICT architects, planners and designers along with  database, server, virtualization and storage professionals. What I like about the book is that it is a great intro and overview along with sufficient depth to understand what these different solutions can and cannot do, when, where and why to use these tools for different situations in a quick read format and plenty of detail.
 
Would I recommend buying it: Yes, I bought a copy myself on Amazon.com,  get your copy by clicking here.

 

Ok, nuff said

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

 

Recently while I was in Europe presenting some sessions at conferences and doing some seminars, I was invited by Ed Saipetch (@edsai) of Inktank.com to attend the first Ceph Day in Amsterdam.

 

Ceph day image

 

As luck or fate would turn out, I was in Nijkerk which is about an hour train ride from Amsterdam central station plus a free day in my schedule. After a morning train ride and nice walk from Amsterdam Central I arrived at the Tobacco Theatre (a former tobacco trading venue) where Ceph Day was underway, and in time for lunch of Krokettens sandwich.

 

Attendees at Ceph Day

 

Lets take a quick step back and address for those not familiar what is Ceph (Cephalanthera) and why it was worth spending a day to attend this event. Ceph is an open source distributed object scale out (e.g. cluster or grid) software platform running on industry standard hardware.

 

Dell server supporting ceph demoSketch of ceph demo configuration

 

Ceph is used for deploying object storage, cloud storage and managed services, general purpose storage for research, commercial, scientific, high performance computing (HPC) or high productivity computing (commercial) along with backup or data protection and archiving destinations. Other software similar in functionality or capabilities to Ceph include OpenStack Swift, Basho Riak CS, Cleversafe, Scality and Caringo among others. There are also the  tin wrapped software (e.g. appliances or pre-packaged) solutions such as Dell DX (Caringo), DataDirect Networks (DDN) WOS, EMC ATMOS and Centera, Amplidata and HDS HCP among others. From a service standpoint, these solutions can be used to build services similar  Amazon S3 and Glacier, Rackspace Cloud files and Cloud Block, DreamHost DreamObject and HP Cloud storage among others.

 

Ceph cloud and object storage architecture image

 

At the heart of Ceph is RADOS a distributed object store that consists of peer nodes functioning as object storage devices (OSD). Data can be accessed via REST (Amazon S3 like) APIs, Libraries, CEPHFS and gateway with information being spread across nodes and OSDs using a CRUSH based algorithm (note Sage Weil is one of the authors of CRUSH: Controlled, Scalable, Decentralized Placement of Replicated Data). Ceph is scalable in terms of performance, availability and capacity by adding extra nodes with hard disk drives (HDD) or solid state devices (SSDs). One of the presentations pertained to  DreamHost that was an early adopter of Ceph to make their DreamObjects (cloud storage) offering.

 

Ceph cloud and object storage deployment image

 

In addition to storage nodes, there are also an odd number of monitor nodes to coordinate and manage the Ceph cluster along with optional gateways for file access. In the above figure (via DreamHost), load balancers sit in front of gateways that interact with the storage nodes. The storage node in this example is a physical server with 12 x 3TB HDDs each configured as a OSD.

 

Ceph dreamhost dreamobject cloud and object storage configuration image

 

In the DreamHost example above, there are 90 storage nodes plus 3 management nodes, the total raw storage capacity (no RAID) is about 3PB (12 x 3TB = 36TB x 90 = 3.24PB). Instead of using RAID or mirroring, each objects data is replicated or copied to three (e.g. N=3) different OSDs (on separate nodes), where N is adjustable for a given level of data protection, for a usable storage capacity of about 1PB.

 

Note that for more usable capacity and lower availability, N could be set lower, or a larger value of N would give more durability or data protection at higher storage capacity overhead cost. In addition to using JBOD configurations with replication, Ceph can also be configured with a combination of RAID and replication providing more flexibility for larger environments to balance performance, availability, capacity and economics.

 

Ceph dreamhost and dreamobject cloud and object storage deployment image

 

One of the benefits of Ceph is the flexibility to configure it how you want or need for different applications. This can be in a cost-effective hardware light configuration using JBOD or internal HDDs in small form factor generally available servers, or high density servers and storage enclosures with optional RAID adapters along with SSD. This flexibility is different from some cloud and object storage systems or software tools which take a stance of not using or avoiding RAID vs. providing options and flexibility to configure and use the technology how you see fit.

 

Here are some links to presentations from Ceph Day:
Introduction and Welcome by Wido den Hollander
Ceph: A Unified Distributed Storage System by Sage Weil
Ceph in the Cloud by Wido den Hollander
DreamObjects: Cloud Object Storage with Ceph by Ross Turk
Cluster Design and Deployment by Greg Farnum
Notes on Librados by Sage Weil

 

Presentations during ceph day

 

While at Ceph day, I was able to spend a few minutes with Sage Weil Ceph creator and  founder of inktank.com to record a pod cast (listen here) about what Ceph is, where and when to use it, along with other related topics. Also while at the event I had a chance to sit down with Curtis (aka Mr. Backup) Preston where we did a simulcast video and pod cast. The simulcast involved Curtis recording this video with me as a guest discussing Ceph, cloud and object storage, backup, data protection and related themes while I recorded this pod cast.

 

One of the interesting things I heard, or actually did not hear while at the Ceph Day event that I tend to hear at related conferences such as SNW is a focus on where and how to use, configure and deploy Ceph along with various configuration options, replication or copy modes as opposed to going off on erasure codes or other tangents. In other words, instead of focusing on the data protection protocol and algorithms, or what is wrong with the competition or other architectures, the Ceph Day focused was removing cloud and object storage objections and enablement.

 

Where do you get Ceph? You can get it here, as well as via 42on.com and inktank.com.

 

Thanks again to Sage Weil for taking time out of his busy schedule to record a pod cast talking about Ceph, as well  42on.com and inktank for hosting, and the invitation to attend the first Ceph Day in Amsterdam.

 

View of downtown Amsterdam on way to train station to return to Nijkerk
Returning to Amsterdam central station after Ceph Day

 

Ok, nuff said.

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

 

There  are many business drivers and technology reasons for adopting data center  infrastructure management (DCIM) and infrastructure Resource Management (IRM) techniques, tools and best practices. Today's agile  data centers need updated management systems, tools, and best practices that  allow organizations to plan, run at a low-cost, and analyze for workflow  improvement. After all, there is no such thing as an information recession  driving the need to move process and store more data. With budget and other  constraints, organizations need to be able to stretch available resources  further while reducing costs including for physical space and energy  consumption.

 

The  business value proposition of DCIM and IRM includes:

 

DCIM, Data Center, Cloud and storage management figure

 

Data  Center Infrastructure Management or DCIM also known as IRM has as their names  describe a focus around management resources in the data center or information factory. IT resources include physical  floor and cabinet space, power and cooling, networks and cabling, physical  (and virtual) servers and storage, other hardware and software management tools. For some  organizations, DCIM will have a more facilities oriented view focusing on  physical floor space, power and cooling. Other organizations will have a  converged view crossing hardware, software, facilities along with how those are  used to effectively deliver information services in a cost-effective way.

 

Common  to all DCIM and IRM practices are metrics and measurements along with other  related information of available resources for gaining situational awareness.  Situational awareness enables visibility into what resources exist, how they  are configured and being used, by what applications, their performance,  availability, capacity and economic effectiveness (PACE) to deliver a given  level of service. In other words, DCIM enabled with metrics and measurements  that matter allow you to avoid flying blind to make prompt and  effective decisions.

 

  DCIM, Data Center and Cloud Metrics Figure

 

DCIM comprises the following:

  • Facilities, power (primary and standby, distribution), cooling,  floor space
  • Resource planning, management, asset and resource tracking 
  • Hardware (servers, storage, networking)
  • Software (virtualization, operating systems, applications, tools)
  • People, processes, policies and best practices for management  operations
  • Metrics and measurements for analytics and insight (situational  awareness)

 

The  evolving DCIM model is around elasticity, multi-tenant, scalability, flexibility,  and is metered and service-oriented. Service-oriented, means a combination of  being able to rapidly give new services while keeping customer experience  and satisfaction in mind. Also part of being focused on the customer is to  enable organizations to be competitive with outside service offerings while  focusing on being more productive and economic efficient.

 

DCIM, Data Center and Cloud E2E management figure

 

While  specific technology domain areas or groups may be focused on their respective  areas, interdependencies across IT resource areas are a matter of fact for  efficient virtual data centers. For example, provisioning a virtual server  relies on configuration and security of the virtual environment, physical  servers, storage and networks along with associated software and facility  related resources.

 

You can read  more about DCIM, ITSM and IRM in this   white paper that I did, as well as in my books Cloud and Virtual Data Storage  Networking (CRC Press) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press).

 

Ok, nuff said, for now.

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

Normally solid state devices (SSD) including  non-persistent DRAM, and persistent nand flash are thought of in the context of  performance including bandwidth or throughput, response time or latency, and IOPS or transactions. However there is another role where SSD are commonly used where  the primary focus is not performance. Besides consumer devise such as iPhones,  iPads, iPods, Androids, MP3, cell phones and digital cameras, the other use is  for harsh environments.

 

Harsh environments include those (both commercial and  government) where use of SSDs are a solution to vibration or other rough  handling. These include commercial and military aircraft, telemetry and mobile  command, control and communications, energy exploration among others.

 

What's also probably not commonly thought about is that  the vendors or solution providers for the above specialized environments include  mainstream vendors including IBM (via their TMS acquisition) and EMC among  others. Yes, EMC is involved with deploying SSD in different environments  including all nand flash-based VNX systems.

 

In a normal IT environment, vibration should not be an  issue for storage devices assuming quality solutions with good enclosures are used. However  some environments that are pushing the limits on density may become more  susceptible to vibration. Not all of those use cases will be SSD opportunities,  however some that can leverage IO density along with tolerance to vibration  will be a good fit.

 

Does that mean HDDs can not or should not be used in high  density environments where vibration can be an issue?

 

That depends.

 

If the right drive enclosures, type of drive are used  following manufactures recommendations, then all should be good. Keep  in mind that there are many options to leverage SSD for various  scenarios.

 

Which tool or technology to use when, where or how much will depend on the  specific situation, or perhaps your preferences for a given product or  approach.

 

Ok, nuff said.

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

 

Recently I was in Europe for a couple of weeks including stops at Storage Networking World (SNW) Europe in Frankfurt, StorageExpo Holland, Ceph Day in Amsterdam (object and cloud storage), and Nijkerk where I delivered two separate 2 day, and a single 1 day seminar.

 

Image of Frankfurt transtationImage of inside front of ICE train going from Frankfurt to Utrecht

 

At the recent StorageExpo Holland event in Utrecht, I gave a couple of presentations, one on cloud, virtualization and storage networking trends, the other taking a deeper look at Solid State Devices (SSD's). As in the past, StorageExpo Holland was great in a fantastic venue, with many large exhibits and great attendance which I heard was over 6,000 people over two days (excluding exhibitor vendors, vars, analysts, press and bloggers) which was several times larger than what was seen in Frankfurt at the SNW event.

 

Image of Ilja Coolen (twitter @@iCoolen) who was session host for SSD presentation in UtrechtImage of StorageExpo Holland exhibit show floor in Utrecht

 

Both presentations were very well attended and included  lively interactive discussion during and after the sessions. The theme of my second talk was SSD, the question is not if, rather what to use where, how and when which brings us up to this post.

 

For those who have been around or using SSD for more than  a decade outside of cell phones, camera, SD cards or USB thumb drives, that  probably means DRAM based with some form of data persistency mechanisms. More  recently mention SSD and that implies nand flash-based, either MLC or eMLC or  SLC or perhaps emerging mram or PCM. Some might even think of NVRAM or other forms of  SSD including emerging mram or mem-resistors among others, however lets stick to  nand flash and dram for now.

 

image of ssd technology evolution

 

Often in technology what is old can be new, what is new  can be seen as old, if you have seen, experienced or done something before you  will have a sense of DejaVu and it might be evolutionary. On the other hand, if you have  not seen, heard, experienced, or found a new audience, then it can be  revolutionary or maybe even an industry first ;).

 

Technology evolves, gets improved on, matures, and can  often go in cycles of adoption, deployment, refinement, retirement, and so  forth. SSD in general has been an on again, off again type cycle technology for  the past several decades except for the past six to seven years. Normally there  is an up cycle tied to different events, servers not being fast enough or affordable  so use SSD to help address performance woes, or drives and storage systems not  being fast enough and so forth.

 

Btw, for those of you who think that the current SSD focused technology (nand flash) is new, it is in fact 25 years old and still evolving and far from reaching its full potential in terms of customer deployment opportunities.

 

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

 

Nand flash memory has helped keep SSD practical for the past  several years riding the similar curve that is keeping hard disk drives (HDD's) that they were supposed  to replace alive. That is improved reliability, endurance or duty cycle, better  annual failure rate (AFR), larger space capacity, lower cost, and enhanced interfaces, packaging,  power and functionality.

 

Where SSD can be used and options

 

DRAM historically at least for enterprise has been the  main option for SSD based solutions using some form of data persistency. Data  persistency options include battery backup combined with internal HDD's to  de stage information from the DRAM before power was lost. TMS (recently bought  by IBM) was one of the early SSD vendors from the DRAM era that made the  transition to flash including being one of the first many years ago to combine  DRAM as a cache layer over nand flash as a persistency or de-stage layer. This  would be an example of if you were not familiar with TMS back then and their  capacities, you might think or believe that some more recent introductions are  new and revolutionary, and perhaps they are in their own right or with enough  caveats and qualifiers.

 

An emerging trend, which for some will be Dejavu, is that of using more DRAM in combination with nand flash SSD.

 

Oracle is one example of a vendor who IMHO rather  quietly (intentionally or accidentally) has done this in the 7000 series  storage systems as well as ExaData based database storage systems. Rest assured they are not alone  and in fact many of the legacy large storage vendors have also piled up large  amounts of DRAM based cache in their storage systems. For example EMC with 2TByte of DRAM cache in their VMAX 40K, or similar systems from Fujitsu HP, HDS, IBM and NetApp (including recent acquisition of DRAM based CacheIQ) among others. This has also prompted the question of if SSD has been successful in traditional storage arrays, systems or appliances as some would have you believe not, click here to learn more and cast your vote.

 

SSD, IO, memory and storage hirearchy

 

So is the future in the past? Some would say no, some  will say yes, however IMHO there are lessons to learn and leverage from the past while  looking and moving forward.

 

Early SSD's were essentially RAM disks, that is a portion  of main random access memory (RAM) or what we now call DRAM set aside as a non  persistent (unless battery backed up) cache or device. Using a device driver,  applications could use the RAM disk as though it were a normal storage  system. Different vendors springing up with drivers for various platforms and disappeared as their need were reduced with faster storage systems,  interfaces and ram disks drives supplied by vendors, not to mention SSD  devices.

 

Oh, for you tech trivia types, there was also database machines from the late 80’s such as Briton Lee that would offload  your database processing functions to a specialized appliance. Sound like Oracle ExaData  I, II or III to anybody?

 

Image of Oracle ExaData storage system

 

Ok, so we have seen this movie before, no worries, old  movies or shows get remade, and unless you are nostalgic or cling to the past,  sure some of the remakes are duds, however many can be quite good.

 

Same goes  with the remake of some of what we are seeing now. Sure there is a generation  that does not know nor care about the past, its full speed ahead and leverage  what will get them there.

 

Thus we are seeing in memory databases again, some of you  may remember the original series (pick your generation, platform, tool and  technology) with each variation getting better. With 64 bit processor, 128 bit  and beyond file system and addressing, not to mention ability for more DRAM to  be accessed directly, or via memory address extension, combined with memory  data footprint reduction or compression, there is more space to put things (e.g. no such thing as a data or information recession).

 

Lets also keep in mind that the best IO is the IO that  you do not have to do, and that SSD which is an extension of the memory map  plays by the same rules of real estate. That is location matters.

 

Thus, here we go again for some of you (DejaVu), while for  others get ready for a new and exciting ride (new and revolutionary). We are back to the future with  in memory database which while for a time will take some pressure from  underlying IO systems until they once again out grow server memory addressing limits (or IT budgets).

 

However for those who do not fall into a false sense of  security, no fear, as there is no such thing as a data or information  recession. Sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, sooner or  later those IO's that were or are being kept in memory will need to be de-staged  to persistent storage, either nand flash SSD, HDD or somewhere down the road  PCM, mram and more.

 

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

 

There is another trend  that with more IOs being  cached, reads are moving to where they should resolve which is closer to the  application or via higher up in the memory and IO pyramid or hierarchy (shown above).

 

Thus, we could see a  shift over time to more writes and ugly IOs being sent down to the storage  systems. Keep in mind that any cache historically provides temporal relieve,  question is how long of a temporal relief or until the next new and  revolutionary or DejaVu technology shows up.

 

Ok, go have fun now, nuff said.

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

 

Do you know the computer technology saying, garbage data  in results in garbage information out?

 

In other words even with the best algorithms and  hardware, bad, junk or garbage data put in results in garbage information delivered.  Of course, you might have data analysis and cleaning software to look for, find  and remove bad or garbage data, however that’s for a different post on another  day.

 

If garbage data in results in garbage information out,  does garbage big data in result in big garbage out?

 

 

I'm sure my sales and marketing friends or their  surrogates will jump at the opportunity to tell me why and how big data is the  solution to the decades old garbage data in problem.

 

Likewise they will  probably tell me big data is the solution to problems that have not even occurred  or been discovered yet, yeah right.

 

However garbage data does not discriminate or  show preference towards big data or little data, in fact it can infiltrate all  types of data and systems.

 

Lets shift gears from big and little data to how all of  that information is protected, backed up, replicated, copied for HA, BC, DR,  compliance, regulatory or other reasons. I wonder how much garbage data is really out there and many garbage backups, snapshots, replication or other copies of  data exist? Sounds like a good reason to modernize data protection.

 

If we don’t know where the garbage data is,  how can we know if there is a garbage copy of the data for protection  on some other tape, disk or cloud. That also means plenty of garbage  data to compact (e.g. compress and dedupe) to cut its data footprint impact particular with tough economic times.

 

Does this mean then that the cloud is the new  destination for garbage data in different shapes or forms, from online primary  to back up and archive?

 

Does that then make the cloud the new virtual garbage  dump for big and little data?

 

Hmm, I think I  need to empty my desktop trash bin and email deleted  items among other digital house keeping chores now.

 

On the other hand, just had a  thought about orphaned data and orphaned storage, however lets leave those  sleeping dogs lay where they rest for now.

 

Ok, nuff said.

 

Cheers gs

Now also available via Gregs StorageIO Podcast on Apple iTunes.

 

This is a new episode in the continuing StorageIO industry trends and perspectives pod cast series (you can view more episodes or shows along with other audio and video content here) as well as listening via iTunes or via your preferred means using this RSS feed (http://storageio.com/StorageIO_Podcast.xml).

 

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

 

In this episode, we go virtual, both with the topic (virtualization) and communicating around the world via Skype. My guest is Alastair Cooke (@DemitasseNZ) who joins me from New Zealand to talk about VMware education, training and social networking. Some of the topics that we cover include vForums, vBrownbags, VMware VCDX certification, VDI, Autolab, Professional vBrownbag tech talks, coffee and more. If you are into server virtualization or virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI), or need to learn more, Alastair talks about some great resources. Check out Alastairs site www.demitasse.co.nz for more information about the AutoLab, VMware training and education, along with the vBrownbag podcasts that are also available on iTunes as well as the APAC Virtualisation podcasts.

 

Click here (right-click to download MP3 file) or on the microphone image to listen to the conversation with Alastair and myself.

StorageIO podcast

 

Also available via Gregs StorageIO Podcast on Apple iTunes

 

Watch (and listen) for more StorageIO industry trends and perspectives audio blog posts pod casts  and other upcoming events. Also be sure to heck out other related pod casts, videos, posts, tips and industry commentary at StorageIO.com and StorageIOblog.com.

 

Enjoy this episode vBrownbags, vForums and VMware vTraining with Alastair Cooke.

 

Ok, nuff said.

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

 

I hear people talking about how Solid State Devices (SSDs) have not been successful  with or for vendors of storage arrays, particular legacy storage systems. Some people  have also asserted that large  storage arrays are dead at the hands of new purpose-built SSD appliances or  storage systems (read more here).

As a reference, legacy storage systems include those from EMC (VMAX and VNX), IBM (DS8000, DCS3700, XIV, and V7000), and NetApp FAS along with those from  Dell, Fujitsu, HDS, HP, NEC and Oracle among others.

 

Granted EMC have launched  new SSD based solutions in addition to buying startup eXtremeIO (aka Project X), and IBM bought SSD industry veteran TMS. IMHO, neither of those actions  by either vendor signals an early retirement for their legacy storage solutions,  instead opening up new markets giving customers more options for addressing data center and IO  performance challenges. Keep in mind that the best IO is the one that you do not  have to do with the second best being the least impact to applications in a  cost-effective way.

 

SSD, IO, memory and storage hirearchy

 

Sometimes I even hear people citing or using some other person or  source to attribute or make their assertions sound authoritative. You know the  game, according to XYZ or, ABC said blah blah blah blah. Of course if you say  or repeat something often enough, or hear it again and again, it can  become self-convincing (e.g. industry  adoption vs. customer deployments). Likewise depending on how many degrees of separation exists  between you and the information you get, the more that it can change from  what it originally was.

 

So what about it, has SSD not been successful for legacy storage system  vendors and is the only place that SSD has had success is with startups or non-array  based solutions?

 

While there have been some storage systems (arrays and appliances) that  may not perform up to their claimed capabilities due to various internal  architecture or implementation bottlenecks. For the most part the large vendors  including EMC, HP, HDS, IBM, NetApp and Oracle have done very well shipping SSD  drives in their solutions. Likewise some of the clean sheet new design based  startup systems, as well as some of the startups with hybrid solutions combing HDDs  and SSDs have done well while others are still emerging.

 

Where SSD can be used and options

 

This could also be an example where myth becomes reality based on industry adoption vs. customer  deployment. What this means is that the myth is that it is the startups  that are having success vs. the legacy vendors from an industry adoption  conversation standpoint and thus believed by some.

 

On the other hand, the myth is that vendors such as EMC or NetApp have  not had success with their arrays and SSD yet their customer deployments  prove otherwise. There is also a myth that only PCIe based SSD can be of  value and that drive based SSDs are not worth using which I have a good idea  where that myth comes from.

 

IMHO it is a depends, however safe to say from what I have seen  directly that there are some vendors of storage arrays, including so-called legacy  systems that have had very good success with SSD. Likewise have seen where some  startups have done ok with their new clean sheet designs, including EMC (Project X). Oh, at least for now I am not a believer  that with the all SSD based project "X" over at EMC that the venerable VMAX  formerly known as DMX and its predecessors Symmetric have finally hit the end  of the line. Rather they will be positioned and play to different markets for  some time yet.

 

Over at IBM I don't think the DS8000 or XIV or V7000 and SVC folks are  winding things down now that they bought SSD vendor TMS who has SSD appliances  and PCIe cards. Rest assured there have been success by PCIe flash card vendors both as targets  (FusionIO) and cache or hybrid cache and target systems such as those from  Intel, LSI, Micron, and TMS (now IBM) among others. Oh, and if you have not noticed, check out what Qlogic, Emulex and some of the other  traditional HBA vendors have done with and around SSD caching.

 

So where does the FUD that storage systems have not had success with  SSD come from?

 

I suspect from those who would rather not see or hear about those who  have had success taking away attention from them or their markets. In other  words, using Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) or some community peer pressure,  there is a belief by some that if you hear enough times that something is dead  or not of a benefit; you will look at the alternatives.

 

Care to guess what the preferred alternative is for some? If you  guessed a PCIe card or SSD based appliance from your favorite startup that  would be a fair assumption.

 

On the other  hand, my  educated guess (ok, its much  more informed than a guess ;) ) is that if you ask a vendor such as EMC  or NetApp they would disagree, while at the same time articulate benefits of  different approaches and tools. Likewise, my  educated guess is that if you ask some others, they will say mixed things and  of course if you talk with the pure plays, take a wild yet educated guess what  they will say.

 

Here  is my point.

 

SSD, DRAM, PCM and storage adoption timeline

 

The SSD market, including DRAM, nand flash (SLC  or MLC or any other xLC), emerging PCM or future mram among other technologies  and packaging options is still in its relative infancy. Yes, I know there have  been significant industry adoption and many early customer deployments, however  talking with IT organizations of all size as well as with vendors and vars,  customer deployment of SSD is far from reaching its full potential meaning a  bright future.

 

Simply  putting an SSD, card or drive into a solution does not guarantee results.

 

Likewise  having a new architecture does not guarantee things will be faster.

 

Fast  storage systems need fast devices (HDD, HHDD and SSDs) along with fast  interfaces to connect with fast servers. Put a fast HDD, HHDD or SSD into a storage system  that has bottlenecks (hardware, software, architectural design) and you may not  see the full potential of the technology. Likewise put fast ports or interfaces  on a storage system that has fast devices however also a bottleneck in its  controller has or system architecture and you will not realize the full  potential of that solution.

 

This  is not unique to legacy or traditional storage systems, arrays or appliances as  it is also the case with new clean sheet designs.

 

There are many new solutions  that are or should be as fast as their touted marketing stories present,  however just because something looks impressive in a YouTube video or slide  deck or WebEx does not mean it will be fast in your environment. Some of these new design SSD based solutions will displace some legacy storage systems or arrays while many others will find new opportunities. Similar to how previous generation SSD storage appliances found roles complementing traditional storage systems, so to will many of these new generation of products.

 

What  this all means is to navigate your way through the various marketing and  architecture debates, benchmarks battles, claims and counter claims to  understand what fits your needs and requires.

 

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

      

What say you?

      

Click here to cast your vote and see others perspectives.

      

Ok, nuff said

 

Cheers Gs

Now also available via Gregs StorageIO Podcast on Apple iTunes

This is a new episode in the continuing StorageIO industry trends and perspectives pod cast series (you can view more episodes or shows along with other audio and video content here) as well as listening via iTunes or via your preferred means using this RSS feed (http://storageio.com/StorageIO_Podcast.xml)

 

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

 

In this episode, I talk with SSD nand flash and DRAM chip analyst Jim Handy of Objective Analysis at the LSI AIS (Accelerating Innovation Summit) 2012 in San Jose. Our conversation includes SSD past, present and future, market and industry trends, who are doing what and things to keep an eye and ear, open for along with server, storage and memory convergence.

 

Click here (right-click to download MP3 file) or on the microphone image to listen to the conversation with Jim and myself.

 

StorageIO podcast

Also available via Gregs StorageIO Podcast on Apple iTunes

 

Watch (and listen) for more StorageIO industry trends and perspectives audio blog posts pod casts  and other upcoming events. Also be sure to heck out other related pod casts, videos, posts, tips and industry commentary at StorageIO.com and StorageIOblog.com.

 

Enjoy this episode SSD Past, Present and Future with Jim Handy.

 

Ok, nuff said.

 

Cheers gs