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2013

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

It is still early in 2013, so I can make some  cloud, virtualization, storage and IO related predictions, or more aptly, talk about some trends, in addition  to those that I made in late 2012,  looking forward and back. Common over-riding themes will continue to include convergence (people and technology), valueware, clouds (public, private, hybrid and community) among others.

cloud virtualization storage I/O data center image

Certainly, solid  state drives (SSDs) will  remain popular, both in terms of industry adoption, and industry deployment. Big-data (and little data) management tools and purpose-build storage systems or solutions continue to be  popular, as are those for supporting little data applications. On the cloud  storage front, there are many options for various use cases  available. Watch for more emphasis on service-level agreements (SLA),  service-level objectives (SLO), security, pricing transparency, and tiers of  service.

 

storage I/O rto rpo dcim image

 

Cloud and object storage will continue to gain in  awareness, functionality, and options from various providers in terms of  products, solutions, and services. There will be a mix of large-scale solutions  and smaller ones, with a mix of open-source and proprietary pieces. Some of  these will be for archiving, some for backup or data protection. Others will be  for big-data, high-performance computing, or cloud on a local or wide area  basis, while others for general file sharing.

 

Ceph object storage architecture example

 

Along with cloud and object storage, watch for more options about how those products or services can be accessed using traditional NAS  (NFS, CIFS, HDFS and others) along with block, such as iSCSI object API's,  including Amazon S3, REST, HTTP, JSON, XML, iOS and CDMI along with programmatic bindings.

 

Data  protection modernization, including backup/restore, high-availability,  business continuity, disaster recovery, archiving, and related technologies for  cloud, virtual, and traditional environments will remain popular themes.

 

cloud and virtual data center image

 

Expect more Fibre Channel over Ethernet for networking with  your servers and storage, PCIe Gen 3 to move data in and out of servers, and Serial-attached SCSI (SAS) as a means of attaching  storage to servers or as the back-end storage for larger storage systems and  appliances. For those who like to look out over the horizon, keep an eye  and ear open for more discussion around PCI gen 3 deployment and gen  4 definitions, not to mention DDR4  and nand flash moving close to the processors.

 

With VMware buying Virsto, that should keep software defined marketing (SDM) and Storage hypervisors, storage virtualization, virtual storage,  virtual storage arrays (VSA's) active topic themes. Lets also keep in mind for storage space capacity optimization Data footprint reduction (DFR) including archiving, backup  and data protection modernization, compression, consolidation, dedupe and data  management.

 

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

 

Recently VMware  announced that it is acquiring the IO performance optimization and  acceleration software vendor Virsto for an undisclosed amount.

Some may know Virsto due to their latching and jumping onto  the Storage Hypervisor bandwagon  as part of storage virtualization and virtual storage. On the other hand, some may  know Virsto for their software that plugs into server virtualization Hypervisor  such as VMware and Microsoft  Hyper-V. Then there are all of those who either did not or still don't know  of Virsto or their solutions yet they need to learn about it.

 

Unlike virtual  storage arrays (VSAa), or virtual storage appliances, or storage virtualization software that  aggregates storage, the Virsto software address  the IO performance aggravation caused by aggregation.

 

Keep in mind that the  best IO is the IO that you do not have to do. The second best IO is the one  that has the least impact and that is cost effective.

 

A common approach, or  preached best practice by some vendors server virtualization and virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) that result in IO bottlenecks  is to throw more SSD or HDD hardware at the problem.

 

server virtualization aggregation causing aggravation

 

Turns out that the problem with virtual machines (VMs) is  not just aggregation (consolidation) causing aggravation, it's also the mess of  mixed applications and IO profiles. That is where IO optimization and acceleration  tools come into play that are plugged into applications, file systems, operating  systems, hypervisor's or storage appliances.

 

In the case of Virsto (read  more about their solution here), their technology plugs into the hypervisor  (e.g. VMware vSphere/ESX or Hyper-V) to group and optimize IO operations.

 

By using SSD as a persistent cache, tools such as Virsto can help make better use of  underlying storage systems including HDD and SSD, while also removing the aggravation as a result of aggregation.

 

What will be interesting to watch is to see if VMware  continues to support other hypervisor's such as Microsoft Hyper-V or close the  technology to VMware only.

 

It will also be interesting to see how VMware and  their parent EMC can leverage Virsto technology to complement virtual SANs as  well as VSAs and underlying hardware from VFcache to storage arrays with SSD and SSD appliances as opposed to  compete with them.

 

With the Virsto technology now part of VMware, hopefully  there will be less time on talking about storage hypervisor's and more around  server IO optimization and enablement to create broader awareness for the  technology.

 

Congratulations to VMware (and EMC) along with Virsto.

 

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

In the spirit of solid state devices (SSD) including DRAM  and nand flash, not to mention emerging phase chance memory (PCM) among others that help to  boost productivity and cut latency, here are a couple of quick notes and links.

 

Here are a some more pieces to have a quick look at:
SSD & Real Estate: Location, Location, Location matters
SSD Is in Your Future: Where, When & With What Are the  Questions
Storage & IO trends for 2013 and beyond
SSD,  flash and DRAM, DejaVu or something new?

 

Storage I/O ssd timeline image

 

Is SSD only for performance?

Have  SSDs been unsuccessful with storage arrays (with poll)?
End the Hardware Numbers Game

 

Desum poll planned SSD use image
Image via 21cit (desum): The SSD hardware numbers game

 

What's your take on SSD in storage arrays, cast your vote and see results here.

 

Also check  out here what Micron has in mind with merging nand flash with the DDR4  (e.g. DRAM socket) memory bus for servers in a year or two.

 

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

NetApp  announced the other day a new all nand flash solid-state devices (SSD) storage system called the EF540 that is available now. The EF540 has something's new and cool, along with some  things familiar, tried, true and proven.

 

What is new is that  the EF540 is an all nand flash multi-level  cell (MLC)  SSD storage system. What is old is that the EF540 is based on the  NetApp E-Series (read more here and here)  and SANtricity software with hundreds of thousands installed systems. As a refresher, the E-Series are  the storage system technologies and solutions obtained via the Engenio acquisition from LSI in 2011.

 

Image of NetApp EF540 via ntapgeek.com
Image via www.ntapgeek.com

 

The EF540 expands the NetApp SSD flash portfolio which includes  products such as FlashCache (read cache aka PAM) for controllers in ONTAP based storage systems. Other NetApp items in the NetApp flash portfolio include FlashPool SSD drives for persistent read and write storage in ONTAP based  systems. Complimenting FlashCache and FlashPool is the server-side PCIe caching  card and software FlashAccel.  NetApp is claiming to have revenue shipped 36PB of flash complimenting over 3 Exabytes (EB) of storage while continuing to ship a large amount of SAS and  SATA HDD's.

 

NetApp also previewed its future FlashRay storage system that should appear in beta later in 2013 and general availability  in 2014.

 

In addition to SSD and flash related announcements, NetApp  also announced enhancements to its ONTAP FAS/V6200 series including the  FAS/V6220, FAS/V6250 and FAS/V6290.

 

Some characteristics  of the NetApp EF540 and SANtricity include:

  • Two models with 12 or 24 x 6Gbs SAS 800GB MLC  SSD devices 
  • Up to 9.6TB or 19.2TB physical storage in a  2U (3.5 inch) tall enclosure
  • Dual controllers for redundancy,  load-balancing and availability
  • IOP performance of over 300,000 4Kbyte random 100% reads under 1ms
  • 6GByte/sec performance of 512Kbyte sequential  reads, 5.5Gbyte/sec random reads
  • Multiple RAID levels (0, 1, 10, 3, 5, 6)  and flexible group sizes
  • 12GB  of DRAM cache memory in each controller (mirrored)
  • 4  x 8GFC host server-side ports per controller
  • Optional  expansion host ports (6Gb SAS,  8GFC, 10Gb iSCSI, 40Gb IBA/SRP)
  • Snapshots  and replication (synchronous and asynchronous) including to HDD systems
  • Can  be used for traditional IOP intensive little-data, or bandwidth for big-data
  • Proactive SSD wear monitoring and  notification alerts
  • Utilizes SANtricity  version 10.84

 

Poll, Are large storage arrays day's numbered?

 

EMC and NetApp (along with other vendors) continue to sell large  numbers of HDD's as well as large amounts of SSD. Both EMC and NetApp are  taking similar approaches of leveraging PCIe flash cards as cache adding software  functionality to compliment underlying storage systems. The benefit is that the  cache approach is less disruptive for many environments while allowing improved  return on investment (ROI) of existing assets.

 

The best IO is the one that  you do not have to do, however the next best are those that have the least  cost or affect which is where SSD comes into play. SSD is  like real estate in that location matters in terms of providing benefit, as  well as how much space or capacity is needed.

What does this all mean?

The NetApp EF540 based on the E-Series storage system architecture is  like one of its primary competitors (e.g. EMC VNX also available as an all-flash  model). The similarity is that both have been competitors, as well as have  been around for over a decade with hundreds of thousands of installed systems.  The similarities are also that both continue to evolve their code base  leveraging new hardware and software functionality. These improvements have  resulted in improved performance, availability, capacity, energy effectiveness  and cost reduction.

 

Whats your take on RAID still being relevant?

 

From a performance perspective, there are plenty of public workloads  and benchmarks including Microsoft ESRP and SPC among others to confirm  its performance. Watch for NetApp to release EF540 SPC results given their history of  doing so with other E-Series based systems. With those or other results, compare  and contrast to other solutions looking not just at IOPS or MB/sec (bandwidth),  also latency, functionality and cost.

 

What  does the EF540 compete with?


The  EF540 competes with all  flash-based SSD solutions (Violin,  Solidfire, Purestorage, Whiptail, Kaminario, IBM/TMS, up-coming EMC Project “X”  (aka XtremeIO)) among others. Some of those systems use general-purpose  servers combined SSD drives, PCIe cards along with management software where  others leverage customized platforms with software. To a lesser extent,  competition will also be mixed mode SSD and HDD solutions along with some PCIe  target SSD cards for some situations.

 

What  to watch and look for:

It  will be interesting to view and contrast public price performance results using  SPC or Microsoft ESRP among others to see how the EF540 compares. In addition,  it will be interesting to compare other storage based, as well as  SSD systems beyond the number of IOPS. What will be interesting is to keep an  eye on latency, as well as bandwidth, feature functionality and associated  costs.

 

Given  that the NetApp E-Series are OEM or sold by third parties, let's see if  something looking similar or identical to the EF540 appear at any of those or  new partners. This includes traditional general purpose and little-data environments,  along with cloud, managed service provider, high performance compute and high  productivity compute (HPC), super computer (SC), big data and big bandwidth  among others.

 

Poll, Have SSD been successful in traditional storage systems and arrays

 

The  EF540 could also appear as a storage or IO accelerator for large-scale out,  clustered, grid and object storage systems for meta data, indices, key value  stores among other uses either direct attached to servers, or via shared iSCSI, SAS, FC and InfiniBand (IBA)  SCSI Remote Protocol (SRP).

 

Keep  an eye on how the startups that have been primarily Just a Bunch Of SSD (JBOS)  in a box start talking about adding new features and functionality such as snapshots,  replication or price reductions. Also, keep an eye and ear open to what EMC  does with project “X” along with NetApp FlashRay among other improvements.

 

For NetApp customers, prospects, partners, E-Series OEMs and their customers with the need for IO consolidation, or performance optimization for big-data, little-data and related applications the EF540 opens up new opportunities and should be good news. For EMC competitors, they now have new competition which also signals an expanding market with new opportunities in adjacent areas for growth. This also further signals the need for diverse ssd portfolios and product options to meet different customer application needs, along with increased functionality vs. lowest cost for high capacity fast nand SSD storage.

 

Some related reading:

 

Disclosure:  NetApp, Engenio (when LSI), EMC and TMS (now IBM) have been clients of  StorageIO.

 

Ok,  nuff said

 

Cheers gs

Vote for Greg Schulz (StorageIO) in top vBlogs

 

Eric Siebert (@Ericsiebert) author of the book Maximum vSphere (get your copy on Amazon.com here) has opened up voting for the annual top vBlog over at his site (vSphere-land).

 

Maximum vSphere book by Eric Siebert

 

While there is a focus on VMware and Virtualization blogs, there are also other categories such as Storage, Scripting, pod casting as well as independent for the non vendors and VARs.

 

VMware vExpert

 

It is an honor to be included in the polling along with my many 2012 fellow vExperts on the list.

 

Last year I made Eric's 2012 top 50 list as well as appearing in the storage and some other categories in those rankings (thanks to all who voted last year).

 

This year I forgot to nominate myself (it's a self nomination process) so while I am not on the storage, independent bloggers, pod cast sub-categories, I am however included in the general voting having made the top 50 list last year (#46).

 

A summary of Eric's recommended voting criteria vs. basic popularity are:

  • Longevity: How long has somebody been blogging and  posting for vs. starting and stopping.
  • Length: Short quick snippet posts vs more original  content, time and effort vs. just posting.
  • Frequency: How often do posts appear, lots of short  pieces vs. regular longer ones vs. an occasional post.
  • Quality: What's in the post, original ideas, tips,  information, insight, analysis, thought perspectives vs. reposting or reporting what others are doing.

 

Voting is now open (click here on the vote image) and closes on March 1, 2013 so if you read this or any of my other posts, comments and content or listen to our new pod casts at storageio.tv (also on iTunes).

 

Vote for Greg Schulz (StorageIO) in top vBlogs

 

Thank you in advance for your continued support and watch for more posts, comments, perspectives and pod casts about data and information infrastructure topics, trends, tools and techniques including servers, storage, IO networking, cloud, virtualization, backup/recovery, BC, DR and data protection along with big and little data (among other things).

 

Ok, nuff said.

 

Cheers gs

gregschulz Hot Shot
vExpert

VCE revisited, now & zen

Posted by gregschulz Feb 24, 2013

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

 

Yesterday VCE  and their proud parents announced revenues had reached an annual run rate  of a billion dollars. Today VCE announced some new products along with enhancements to others.

 

Before  going forward though, lets take go back for a moment to help set the stage to  see where things might be going in the future. A little over a three years ago, back in November 2009 VCE was born and initially named ACADIA by its proud parents (Cisco, EMC, Intel and VMware). Here is a post that I did back then.

 

VCE logo

 

Btw  the reference to Zen might cause some to think that I don’t how to properly refer to the Xen hypervisor. It is really a play from Robert  Plants album Now & Zen and its song Tall  Cool One. For those not familiar, click  on the link and listen (some will have DejaVu, others might think its new  and cool) as it takes a look back as well as present, similar to VCE.

 

Robert plant now & zen vs. Xen hypervisor

 

On  the other hand, this might prompt the question of when will Xen be available on  a Vblock? For that I defer you to VCE  CTO Trey Layton (@treylayton).

 

VCE  stands for Virtual Computing Environment and was launched as a joint initiative  including products and a company (since renamed from Acadia to VCE) to bring  all the pieces together. As a company, VCE is based in Plano (Richardson) Texas just  north of downtown Dallas and down the road from EDS or what is now left of it  after the HP acquisition  The primary  product of VCE has been the Vblock. The Vblock is a converged solution  comprising components from their parents such as VMware virtualization and management  software tools, Cisco servers, EMC storage and software tools and Intel  processors.

 

Not  surprisingly there are many ex-EDS personal at VCE along with some Cisco, EMC,  VMware and many other people from other organizations in Plano as well  as other cites. Also interesting to note that unlike other youngsters that  grow up and stay in touch with their parents via technology or social media  tools, VCE is also more than a few miles (try hundreds to thousands) from the  proud parent headquarters on the San Jose California and Boston areas.

 

VCE logo

 

As  part of a momentum update, VCE and their parents (Cisco, EMC, VMware and Intel)  announced annual revenue run rate of a billion dollars in just three years. In  addition the proud parents and VCE announced that they have over 1,000 revenue  shipped and installed Vblock  systems (also here)  based on Cisco  compute servers, and EMC storage solutions.

 

The VCE announcement  consists of:

  • SAP HANA database  application optimized Vblocks (two modes, 4 node and 8 node)
  • VCE Vision management  tools and middleware or what I have refered to as Valueware
  • Entry level Vblock (100 and 200) with Cisco C  servers and EMC (VNXe  and VNX) storage
  • Performance and  functionality enhancements to existing Vblock models 300 and 700
  • Statement of direction for  more specialized Vblocks besides SAP HANA


Images  courtesy with permission of VCE.com

 

While  VCE is known for their Vblock converged, stack, integrated, data center in a  box, private cloud or among other descriptors, there is more to the story. VCE  is addressing convergence of  common IT building blocks for cloud, virtual, and traditional physical  environments. Common core building blocks include servers (compute or  processors), networking (IO and connectivity), storage, hardware, software,  management tools along with people,  processes, metrics, policies and protocols.

 

Storage I/O image of cloud and virtual IT building blocks

 

I  like the visual image that VCE is using (see below) as it aligns with and has themes  common to what I have discussing in the past.

 


Images  courtesy with permission of VCE.com

 

VCE  Vision is software with APIs that collects information about Vblock hardware  and software components to give insight to other tools and management  frameworks. For example VMware vCenter plug-in and vCenter  Operations Manager Adapter which should not be a surprise. Customers will also  be able to write to the Vision API to meet their custom needs. Let us watch and  see what VCE does to add support for other software and management tools, along  with gain support from others.

 


Images  courtesy with permission of VCE.com

 

Vision  is more than just an information source feed for VMware vCenter or VASA or tools and frameworks from  others. Vision is software developed by VCE that will enable insight and  awareness into the Vblock and applications, however also confirm and give  status of physical and logical component configuration. This means the basis  for setting up automated or programmatic remediation such as determining what  software or firmware to update based on different guidelines.

 


Images  courtesy with permission of VCE.com

 

Initially  VCE Vision provides (information) inventory and perspective of how those  components are in compliance with firmware or software releases, so stay  tuned. VCE is indicating that Vision will continue to evolve after all this is  the V1.0 release with future enhancements targeted towards taking action,  controlling or active management.

 

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

Some trends, thoughts and perspectives

 

The industry adoption buzz is around software  defined X where X can be data center (SDDC), or storage (SDS) or networking  (SDN), or marketing (SDM) or other things. The hype and noise around software  defined which in the case of some technologies is good. On the marketing hype  side, this has led to some Software Defined BS (SDBS).

 

Thus, it was refreshing at least in the  briefing session I was involved in to hear a minimum focus around software  defined and more around customer and IT business enablement with technology  that is shipping today.

 

VCE Vision is a good example of adding  value hence what I refer to as Valueware around converged components. For those vendors who have similar solutions, I  urge them to streamline, simplify and more clearly articulate their value  proposition if they have valueware.

 

VCE logo

 

Vendors including VCE continue to  evolve their platform based converged solutions by adding more valueware,  management tools, interfaces, APIs, interoperability and support for more  applications. The support for applications is also moving beyond simple line  item ordering or part number skews to ease acquisition and purchasing. Some solutions  include VCE Vblock, NetApp  FlexPod that also uses Cisco compute servers, IBM PureSystems (PureFlex etc) and Dell vStart among others are extending their support and optimization for various software  solutions. These software solutions range from SAP (including HANA), Microsoft  (Exchange, SQLserver, Sharepoint), Citrix desktop (VDI), Oracle, OpenStack,  Hadoop map reduce along with other little-data,  big-data and big-bandwidth applications to name a few.

 

Additional and related reading:
Acadia VCE: VMware + Cisco + EMC =  Virtual Computing Environment
Cloud  conversations: Public, Private, Hybrid what about Community Clouds?
Cloud, virtualization, Storage I/O  trends for 2013 and beyond
Convergence: People, Processes,  Policies and Products
Hard product vs. soft product
Hardware,  Software, what about Valueware?
Industry  adoption vs. industry deployment, is there a difference?
Many faces of storage hypervisor,  virtual storage or storage virtualization
The Human  Face of Big Data, a Book Review
Why  VASA is important to have in your VMware CASA

 

Congratulations to VCE, along with  their proud parents, family, friends and partners, now how long will it take to  reach your next billion dollars in annual run rate revenue. Hopefully it wont be three years until the next VCE revisited now and Zen ;).

 

VCE logo

 

Disclosure: EMC and Cisco have been  StorageIO clients, I am a VMware  vExpert that gets me a free beer after I pay for VMworld and Intel has named two of my books listed on their Recommended Reading List for Developers.

 

Ok, nuff said, time to head off to vBeers over in Minneapolis.

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

Sometimes what should be understood, or that is common sense  or that you think everybody should know needs to be stated. After all, there  could be somebody who does not know what some assume as common sense or what others  know for various reasons. At times, there is simply the need to restate or have  a reminder of what should be known.

 

Storage I/O data center image

 

Consequently, in the data center or information  factory, either traditional, virtual, converged, private, hybrid or public cloud,  everything is not the same. When I say not everything is the same, is that  different applications with various service level objectives (SLO's) and service  level agreements (SLA's).  These are based on different characteristics from performance, availability, reliability,  responsiveness, cost, security, privacy among others. Likewise, there are  different size and types of organizations with various requirements from  enterprise to SMB, ROBO and SOHO, business or government, education or  research.

 

Various levels of HA, BC and DR

 

There are also different threat risks for various  applications or information services within in an organization, or across  different industry sectors. Thus various needs for meeting availability SLA's, recovery  time objectives (RTO's)  and recovery  point objectives (RPO's)  for data protection ranging from backup/restore, to high-availability (HA),  business continuance (BC), disaster recovery (DR) and archiving. Let us not  forget about logical and physical security of information, assets and people, processes  and intellectual property.

 

Storage IO RTO and RPO image

 

Some data centers or information factories are compute intensive  while others are data centric, some are IO or activity intensive with a mix  of compute and storage. On the other hand, some data centers such as a communications  hub may be network centric with very little data sticking or being stored.

 

SLA and SLO image

 

Even within in a data center or information factory, various  applications will have different profiles, protection requirements for big data  and little data. There can also be a mix of old legacy applications and new  systems developed in-house, purchased, open-source based or accessed as a  service. The servers and storage may be software defined (a new buzzword that  has already jumped the shark), virtualized or operated in a private, hybrid or  community cloud if not using a public service.

 

Here are some related posts tied to everything is not the  same:
  Optimize Data  Storage for Performance and Capacity
  Is SSD only for  performance?
  Cloud  conversations: Gaining cloud confidence from insights into AWS outages
  Data  Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) and IRM
  Saving  Money with Green IT: Time To Invest In Information Factories
  Everything  Is Not Equal in the Datacenter, Part 1
  Everything  Is Not Equal in the Datacenter, Part 2
  Everything  Is Not Equal in the Datacenter, Part 3

 

Storage I/O data center image

 

Thus, not all things are the same in the data center, or  information factories, both those under traditional management paradigms, as  well as those supporting public,  private, hybrid or community clouds.

 

Ok, nuff said.

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

 

Depending on whom you talk to or ask, you will get  different views and opinions, some of them stronger than others on if magnetic  tape is dead or alive as a data storage medium. However an aspect of tape that  is alive are the discussions by those for, against or that simply see it as one  of many data storage mediums and technologies whose role is changing.

 

Here  is a link to an a ongoing discussion over in one of the Linked In group  forums (Backup & Recovery Professionals) titled About  Tape and disk drives. Rest assured, there is plenty of fud and hype  on both sides of the tape is dead (or alive) arguments, not very different from  the disk is dead vs. SSD or cloud arguments. After all, not everything is the same in data  centers, clouds and information factories.

 

Fwiw, I removed tape from my environment about 8 years ago,  or I should say directly as some of my cloud providers may in fact be using  tape in various ways that I do not see, nor do I care one way or the other as  long as my data is safe, secure, protected and SLA's are meet. Likewise, I consult and advice for organizations where tape still exists yet its role is  changing, same with those using disk and cloud.

 

Storage I/O data center image

 

I am not ready to adopt the singular view that tape is  dead yet as I know too many environments that are still using it, however agree  that its role is changing, thus I am not part of the tape cheerleading camp.

 

On the other hand, I am a fan of using disk based data  protection along with cloud in new and creative (including for my use) as  part of modernizing data protection. Although I see disk as having a very  bright and important future beyond what it is being used for now, at least  today, I am not ready to join the chants of tape is dead either.

 

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

 

Does that mean I can’t decide or don’t want to pick a  side? NO

 

It means that I do not have to nor should anyone have to  choose a side, instead look at your options, what are you trying to do, how can  you leverage different things, techniques and tools to maximize your return on  innovation. If that means that tape is, being phased out of your organization  good for you. If that means there is a new or different role for tape in your  organization co-existing with disk, then good for you.

 

If somebody tells you that tape sucks and that you are  dumb and stupid for using it without giving any informed basis for those  comments then call them dumb and stupid requesting they come back when then can  learn more about your environment, needs, and requirements ready to have an  informed discussion on how to move forward.

 

Likewise, if you can make an informed value proposition  on why and how to migrate to new ways of modernizing data protection without  having to stoop to the tape is dead argument, or cite some research or  whatever, good for you and start telling others about it.

 

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

 

Otoh, if you need to use fud and hype on why tape is  dead, why it sucks or is bad, at least come up with some new and relevant  facts, third-party research, arguments or value propositions.

 

You can read more about tape and its changing role at tapeisalive.com or Tapesummit.com.

 

Ok, nuff said.

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

 

Have  you heard of a community clouds?

 

Cloud  computing including cloud storage and services as products, solutions and  services offer different functionality and enable benefits for various types  of organizations, entities or individuals.

 

various types of clouds image

 

Public  clouds, private clouds and hybrids leveraging public and private continue to evolve  in technology, reliability, security and functionality along with the awareness  around them.

 

IT  professionals tell me they are interested in clouds however they have concerns.

 

Cloud concerns range from security,  compliance, industry or government regulations, privacy and budgets among  others with private, public or hybrid clouds. Peer, cooperative (co-op),  consortium or community clouds can be a solution for those that traditional  public, private, hybrid, AaaS, SaaS, PaaS or IaaS  do not meet their needs.

 

various types, layers and services of clouds image

 

From  a technology standpoint, there should have to be much if any difference between  a community cloud and a public, private or hybrid. Instead, they community  clouds are more about thinking outside of the box, or outside of common cloud  thinking per say. This means thinking beyond what others are talking about or  doing and looking at how cloud products, services and practices can be used in  different ways to meet your concerns or requirements.

 

cloud image

 

What's your take on clouds, click here to cast your vote and see results

 

Read more about community clouds including common questions in part II here.

 

Ok, nuff said (for now)...

 

Cheers gs

StorageIO Industry trends and perspectives image

This is the second of a two part series, read part I here.

 

Common  community cloud conversation questions include among others:

 

Who  defines the standards for community clouds?

The  members or participants, or whoever they hire or get to volunteer to do it.

 

Who  pays for the community cloud?

The  members or participants do, think about a co-op or other resource sharing  consortium with multi-tenant (shared) capabilities to isolate and keep members  along with what they are doing separate.

 

cloud image

 

Who  are community clouds for, when to use them?

If  you cannot justify a private cloud for yourself, or, if you need more  resiliency than what can be provided by your site and you know of a peer,  partner, member or other with common needs, those could be a fit. Another  variation is you are in an industry or agency or district where pooling of  resources, yet operating separate has advantages or already being done. These  range from medical and healthcare to education along with various small medium businesses  (SMBs) that do not want to or cannot use a public facility for various reasons.

 

What  technology is needed for building a  community cloud?

Similar  to deploying a public or private cloud, you will need various hard products  including servers, storage, networking, management software tools for provisioning,  orchestration, show back or charge back, multi-tenancy, security and authentication,  data protection (backup, bc, dr, ha) along with various middleware and  applications.

 

Storage I/O cloud building block image

 

What  are community clouds used for?

Almost  anything, granted there are limits and boundaries based tools, technologies,  security and access controls among other constraints. Applications can range  from big-data to little-data on  all if not most points in between. On the other hand, if they are not safe or  secure enough for your needs, then use a private cloud or whatever it is that you are currently using.

 

What  about community cloud security, privacy and compliance regulations?

Those  are topics and reasons why like-minded or affected groups might be able to  leverage a community cloud. By being like-minded or affected groups, labs,  schools, business, entities, agencies, districts, or other organizations that  are under common mandates for security, compliance, privacy or other regulations  can work together, yet keep their interests separate. What tools or techniques  for achieving those goals and objectives would be dependent on those who  offer services to those entities now?

  

data centers, information factories and clouds

 

Where  can you get a community cloud?

Look  around using Google or your favorite search tool; also watch the comments section to see how long it  takes someone to jump in to say how he or she can help. Also talk with solution  providers, business partners and VARs. Note that they may not know the term or phrases  per say, so here is what to tell them. Tell them that you would like to deploy  a private cloud at some place that will then be used in a multi-tenant way  to safely and securely support different members of your consortium.

 

For  those who have been around long enough, you can also just tell them that you  want to do something like the co-op or consortium time-sharing type  systems from past generations and they may know what you are looking for. If although they look at you with a blank deer in the head-light stare eyes  glazed over, just tell them it’s a new lead-edge, software defined new and revolutionary  (add some superlatives if you feel inclined) and then they might get excited.  If they still don’t know what to do or help  you with, have them get in touch with me and I will explain it to them, or, I’ll  put you in touch with those can help.

 

data centers, information factories and clouds

 

Where  do you put a community cloud?

You  could deploy them in your own facility, other member’s locations or both for resiliency.  You could also use a safe secure co-lo facility already being used for other  purposes.

 

Do  community clouds have organizers?

Perhaps,  however they are probably more along the lines of a coordinator, administrator,  manager, controller as opposed to a community organizer per say. In other words,  do not confuse a community cloud with a cloud community organized, aligned and  activated for some particular cause. On  the other hand, maybe there is value prop for some cloud activist to be  organized and take up the cause for community clouds in your area of interest  ;).

 

data centers, information factories and clouds

 

Are  community clouds more of a concept vs. a product?

If  you have figured out that a community or peer cloud is nothing more than a  different way of deploying, using and managing a combination of private, public  and hybrid and putting a marketing name on them, congratulations, you are now  thinking outside of the box, or outside of the usual cloud conversations.

 

What  about public cloud services for selected audiences such as Amazons GovCloud? On one hand, I  guess you could call or think of that as a semi-private public cloud, or a  semi-public private cloud, or if you like superlatives an uber gallistic  hybrid  community cloud.

 

How you go about building, deploying and managing your community, coop, consortium, and agency, district or peer cloud will be how you leverage various hard and software products. The results of which will be your return on innovation (the new ROI) to address various needs and concerns or also known as valueware. Those results should be able to address or help close gaps and leverage clouds in general as a resource vs. simply as a tool, technology or technique.

 

Ok, nuff said...

 

Cheers gs