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Storage I/O trends

What does gaining industry traction or adoption mean too you?


Is it based on popularity or how often something that is talked about, blogged, tweeted, commented, video or similar?

What are the indicators that something is gaining  traction?

Perhaps it is tied to the number of press releases,  product or staffing announcements including who has joined the organization along with added  coverage of it?


Maybe its based on how many articles, videos or some  other content and coverage that helps to show traction and momentum?


On the other hand is it tied to how many prospects are  actually trying a product or service as part of a demo or proof of concept?


Then again, maybe it is associated with how many real paying or  revenue installed footprints and customers or what is also known as industry  deployment(customer adoption).


Of those customers actually buying and deploying, how  many have continued using the technology even after industry adoptionsubsides  or does the solution become shelf ware?


Does the customer deployment actually continue to rise  quietly while industry adoption or conversations drop off (past the cycle of hype)?


buzzword bingo

Gaining context with industry traction


Gaining traction can mean different things  to people, however there is also a difference  between industry adoption (what's being  talked about among the industry) and industry deployment(what customers are  actually buying, installing and continue to use).


Often the two can go hand in  hand, usually one before the other, however they can also be separate. For  example it is possible that something new will have broad industry adoption  (being talked about) yet have low customer deployment (even over time). This  occurs when something is new and interesting that might be fun to talk about or  the vendor, solution provider is cool and fun to hang out and be with, or  simply has cool giveaways.


On the other hand there can be customer deployment  and adoption with little to no fan fare (industry adoption) for different  reasons.


Storage I/O trends

Here's my point


Not long ago if you asked or listened to some, you would think that once high-flying cloud storage vendor Nirvanix was gaining traction based on their marketing along with other activities, yet they recently closed their doors. Then there was Kim Dotcoms hyped Megacloud launch earlier this year that also has now gone dark or shutting down. This is not unique to cloud service providers or solutions as the same can, has and will happen again to traditional hardware, software and services providers (startups and established).


How about former high-flying FusionIO, or the new startup by former FusionIO founder and CEO David Flynn called Primary Data. One of the two is struggling to gain or keep up revenue traction while having declined in industry popularity traction. The other is gaining in industry popularity traction with their recently secured $50 Million in funding yet are still in stealth mode so rather difficult to gain customer adoption or deployment traction (thus for now its industry adoption focus for them

. in the news

If you are a customer or somebody actually deploying and using technology, tools, techniques and services for real world activity vs. simply trying new things out, your focus on what is gaining traction will probably be different than others. Granted it is important to keep an eye on what is coming or on futures, however there is also the concern of how it will really work and keep working over time.


For example while Hard Disk Drives (HDD) continue to support industry deployment traction (customer adoption and usage) traction. However they are not new and when new models apear (such as Seagate Ethernet based Kinetic) they may not get the same industry adoption traction as a newer technology might. Case in point Solid State Devices (SSD) continue to gain in customer deployment adoption with some environments doing more than others, yet have very high industry adoption traction status.


Storage I/O SSD trends


Relative SSD customer adoption and deployment along with future opportunities


On the other hand if your focus is on what's new and emerging which is usually more industry centered, then it should be no surprise what traction means and where it is focused. For example the following figure shoes where different audiences have various timelines on adoption (read more here).

SSD trends
Current and emerging memory, flash and other SSD technologies for different audiences

Wrap up


When you hear that something is gaining traction, ask  yourself (or others) what that means along with the applicable context.


Does that mean something is popular and trending to  discuss (based on GQ or looks), or that it is actually gaining real customer adoption based on G2 (insight- they are  actually buying vs. simply trying our a free version).


Does it mean one form of traction along with industry adoption (what's being talked about) vs. industry deployment (real customer adoption) is better than the other?


No, it simply means putting things into the applicable context. Ok, nuff said (for now). Cheers

Storage I/O trends

Some fall 2013 AWS cloud storage and compute enhancements

I just received via Email the October Amazon Web Services (AWS) Newsletter in advance of  the re:Invent eventnext week in Las Vegas (yes I will be attending).

AWS October newsletter and enhancement updates


What this means

AWS is arguably the largest of the public cloud services with a diverse set of services and options across multiple geographic regions to meet different customer needs. As such it is not surprising to see AWS continue to expand their service offerings expanding their portfolio both in terms of features, functionalities along with extending their presences in different geographies.

Lets see what else AWS announces next week in Las Vegas at their 2013 re:Inventevent.


Click here to view the current October 2013 AWS newsletter. You can view (and signup for)  earlier AWS newsletters here, and while you are at it, view the current and  recent StorageIO Update newsletters here. Ok, nuff said (for now)



Storage I/O trends

DataDynamics StorageX 7.0 file and data management migration software

Some of you may recall back in 2006 (here and here) when Brocade bought a file management storage startup called NuView whose product was StorageX, and then in 2009 issued end of life (EOL) notice letters that the solution was being discontinued.


Fast forward to 2013 and there is a new storage startup (DatraDynamics) with an existing product that was just updated and re-released called StorageX 7.0.


Software Defined File Management - SDFM?

Granted from an industry buzz focused adoption perspective you may not have heard of DataDynamics or perhaps even StorageX. However many other customers around the world from different industry sectors have as well as are using the solution.


The current industry buzz is around software defined data centers (SDDC) which has lead to software defined networking (SDN), software defined storage (SDS), and other software defined marketing (SDM) terms, not to mention Valueware. So for those who like software defined marketing or software defined buzzwords, you can think of StorageX as software defined file management (SDFM), however don't ask or blame them about using it as I just thought of it for them ;).


This is an example of industry adoption traction (what is being talked about) vs. industry deploymentand customer adoption (what is actually in use on a revenue basis) in that DataDynamics is not a well-known company yet, however they have what many of the high-flying startups with industry adoption don't have which is an installed base with revenue customers that also now have a new version 7.0 product to deploy.


StorageX 7.0 enabling intelligent file and data migration management

Thus, a common theme is adding management including automated data movement and migration to carry out structure around unstructured NAS file data. More than a data mover or storage migration tool, Data Dynamics StorageX is a software platform for adding storage management structure around unstructured local and distributed NAS file data. This includes heterogeneous vendor support across different storage system, protocols and tools including Windows CIFS and Unix/Linux NFS.


Storage I/O image


A few months back prior to its release, I had an opportunity to test drive StorageX 7.0 and have included some of my comments in this industry trends perspective technology solution brief (PDF). This solution brief titled Data Dynamics StorageX 7.0 Intelligent Policy Based File Data Migration is a free download with no registration required (as are others found here), however per our disclosure policy to give transparency, DataDynamics has been a StorageIO client.


If you have a new for gaining insight and management control around your file unstructured data to support migrations for upgrades, technology refresh, archiving or tiering across different vendors including EMC and NetApp, check out DataDynamics StorageX 7.0, take it for a test drive like I did and tell them StorageIO sent you.


Ok, nuff said, Cheers

Storage I/O trends

EMC announces XtremIO flash SSD General Availability

EMC announced  today the general availability (GA) if the all flash  Solid State Device (SSD) XtremIO that they  acquired a little over a year ago. Earlier this year EMC announced directed  availability (DA) of the EMC version of XtremIO as part of other SSD hardware  and software updates (here and here).  The XtremIO GA announcement also follows that of the VNX2 or MCx released in September of this year that also has flash SSD  enhancements along with doing more  with available resources.

EMC XtremIO flash SSD boosting storage I/O performance

As  an industry trend, the question is not if SSD is in your future, rather  where, when, how much, what to use along with coexistence to complement Hard  Disk Drive (HDD)  based solutions in some environments. This also means that SSD is like real  estate where location matters, not to mention having different types of  technologies, packaging, solutions to meet various needs (and price points).  This all ties back to the best  server and storage I/O or IOP is the one that you do know have to do, the  second best is the one with the least impact and best application benefit.

From industry adoption to customer deployment

EMC has evolved the XtremIO platform from a  pre-acquisition solution to an first EMC version that was offered to an early  set of customers e.g. DA.

I suspect that the DA was as much a focus on getting  early customer feedback, addressing immediate needs or opportunities as wells  as getting the EMC sales and marketing teams messaging, marching orders aligned  and deployed. The latter would be rather important to decrease or avoid the  temptation to cannibalize existing product sales with the shiny new technology  (SNT). Likewise, it would be important for EMC to not create isolated pockets  or fenced off products as some other vendors often do.

EMC XtremIO X-Brick
25 SSD drive X-Brick

What is being announced?


  • General availability vs. directed or limited availability
  • Version 2.2 of the XIOS platform software
  • Integrating with EMC support and service tools

Let us get back go this announcement and XtremIO of which  EMC has indicated that they have several customers who have now done either $1M  or $5M USD deals. EMC has claimed over 1.5  PBytes have been booked and deployed, or with data footprint reduction (DFR)  including dedupe over 10PB effective capacity. Note that for those who are  focused on dedupe or DFR reduction ratios 10:1.5 may not be as impressive as  seen with some backup solutions, however keep in mind that this is for primary  high performance storage vs. secondary or tertiary storage devices.

As part of this announcement, EMC has also release V2.2  of the XtremIO platform software (XIOS). Hence a normal  new product should start with a version 1.0 at launch, however as explained  this is both a new version of the technology as well as the initial GA by EMC.

Also as part of this announcement, EMC is making  available XtremIO 10TB X-Bricks with 25 eMLC SSD drives each, along with dual  controllers (storage processors). EMC has indicated that it will make available  a 20TB X-Brick using larger capacity SSD drives in January 2014. Note that the  same type of SSD drives must be used in the systems. Currently there can be up  to four X-Bricks per XtremIO cluster or instance that are interconnected using  a dedicated InfiniBand Fabric. Application servers access the XtremIO X-Bricks  using standard Fibre Channel or Ethernet and IP based iSCSI. In addition to the  hardware platform items, the XtremIO platform software (XIOS) includes built-in  on the fly data footprint reduction (DFR) using global dedupe during data ingestion  and placement. Other features include thin provisioning, VMware VAII, data  protection and self-balancing data placement. Storage I/O trends

Who or what applications are XtremIO being positioned  for?

Some of XtremIO industry sectors include: 

  • Financial and insurance services
  • Medical, healthcare and life sciences
  • Manufacturing, retail and warehouse management
  • Government and defense
  • Media and entertainment

Application and workload focus: 

  • VDI including  replacing linked clones with ability to do full clone without overhead
  • Server  virtualization where aggregation causes aggravation with many mixed IOPs
  • Database for  reducing latency, boosting IOPs as well as improving software license costs.

Databases such as IBM DB2, Oracle RAC, Microsoft SQLserver and MySQL  among others have traditionally for decades been a prime opportunity for SSD  (DRAM and flash). This also includes newer NoSQL or key value stores and meta  data repositories for object such as Mongo, Hbase, Cassandra, Riak among others. Typical focus includes placing entire instances, or  specific files and objects such as indices, journals and redo logs,  import/export temp or scratch space, message queries and high activity tables  among others.

What about overlap with other EMC products?

If you simply looked at the above list of sectors (among others) or  applications, you could easily come to a conclusion that there is or would be  overlap. Granted in some environments there will be which means XtremIO (or  other vendors solutions) may be the primary storage solution. On the other hand  since everything is not the same in most data centers or information factories,  there will be a mix of storage systems handling various tasks. This is where EMC  will need to be careful learning what they did during DA on where to place  XtremIO and how to positing to complement when and where needed other  solutions, or as applicable being a replacement.

XtremIO Announcement Summary

  • All flash SSD  storage solution with iSCSI and Fibre Channel server attachment
  • Scale out and  scale up performance while keeping latency low and deterministic
  • Enhanced flash  duty cycle (wear leveling) to increase program / erase (P/E) cycles durability
  • Can complement  other storage systems, arrays or appliances or function as a standalone
  • Coexists and  complements host side caching hardware and software
  • Inline always on  data footprint reduction (DFR) including dedupe (global dedupe without  performance compromise), space saving snapshots and copies along with thin  provisioning

  Storage I/O trends

Some General Comment and Perspectives

Overall, XtremIO gives EMC and their customers, partners  and prospects a new technology to use and add to their toolbox for addressing  various challenges. SSD is in your future, when, where, with what and how are  questions not to mention how much. After all, a bit of flash SSD in the  right location used effectively can have a large impact. On the other hand, a  lot of flash SSD in the wrong place or not used effectively will cost you lots  of cash. Key for EMC and their partners will be to articulate clearly, where  XtremIO fits vs. other solutions without adding complexity.

Checkout part II of this seriesto learn more about  XtremIO including what it is, how it works, competition and added perspectives.

Ok, nuff said (for now). Cheers


November 2013 Server and StorageIO Update Newsletter & AWS reinvent info


Welcome to the November 2013 edition of the StorageIO Update (newsletter) containing trends perspectives on cloud, virtualization and data infrastructure topics. Fall (here in North America) has been busy with in-person, on-line live and virtual eventsalong with various client projects, research, time in the StorageIO cloud, virtual and physical lab test driving, validating and doing proof of concept research among other tasks. Check out the industry trends perspectives articles, comments and blog posts below that covers some activity over the past month.     


Last week I had the chance to attend the second annual AWS re:Invent eventin Las Vegas, see my comments, perspectives along with a summary of announcements from that conference below.              


Watch  for future  posts, commentary, perspectives and other information down the road (and in the not so distant future) pertaining to information and data infrastructure topics, themes and trends across cloud, virtual, legacy server, storage, networking, hardware and software. Also check out our downloads page (Under the resources section on for various presentation, book chapter downloads and other content.              


Enjoy this edition of the StorageIO Update newsletter.              


Ok, nuff said (for now)              

Cheers gs             

StorageIO Industry Trends and Perspectives

Industry trends: Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent



Last week I attended the AWS re:Invent eventin Las Vegas. This was the second annual AWS re:Invent conference which while having an AWS and cloud theme, it is also what I would describe as a data infrastructure event.                      

As a data infrastructure event AWS re:Invent spans traditional legacy IT and applications to newly invented, re-written, re-hosted or re-platformed ones from existing and new organizations. By this I mean a mix of traditional IT or enterprise people as well as cloud and virtual geek types (said with affection and all due respect of course) across server (operating system, software and tools), storage (primary, secondary, archive and tools), networking, security, development tools, applications and architecture.                      

That also means management from application and data protection spanning High Availability (HA), Business Continuance (BC), Disaster Recovery (DR), backup/restore, archiving, security, performance and capacity planning, service management among other related themes across public, private, hybrid and community cloud environments or paradigms. Hmm, I think I know of a book that covers the above and other related topic themes, trends, technologies and best practices called Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press) available via in print and Kindle(among other) versions.                      

During the event AWS announced enhanced and new services including:                      

    • WorkSpaces (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure - VDI) announced as a new service for cloud based desktops across various client devices including laptops, Kindle Fire, iPad and Android tablets using PCoIP.
    • Kinesis which is a managed service for real-time processing of streaming (e.g. Big) data at scale including ability to collect and process hundreds of GBytes of data per second across hundreds of thousands of data sources. On top of Kinesis you can build your big data applications or conduct analysis to give real-time key performance indicator dashboards, exception and alarm or event notification and other informed decision-making activity.
    • EC2 C3 instances provide Intel Xeon E5 processors and Solid State Device (SSD) based direct attached storage (DAS) like functionality vs. EBS provisioned IOPs for cost-effective storage I/O performance and compute capabilities.
    • Another EC2 enhancement are G2 instance that leverage high performance NVIDIA GRID GPU with 1,536 parallel processing cores. This new instance is well suited for 3D graphics, rendering, streaming video and other related applications that need large-scale parallel or high performance compute (HPC) also known as high productivity compute.
    • Redshift (cloud data warehouse) now supports cross region snapshots for HA, BC and DR purposes.
    • CloudTrail records AWS API calls made via the management console for analytics and logging of API activity.
    • Beta of Trusted Advisor dashboard with cost optimization saving estimates including EBS and provisioned IOPs
    • Relational Database Service (RDS)  support for PostgresSQL including multi-AZ deployment.
    • Ability to discover and launch various software from AWS Marketplace via the EC2 Console. The AWS Marketplace for those not familiar with it is a catalog of various software or application titles (over 800 products across 24 categories) including free and commercial licensed solutions that include SAP, Citrix, Lotus Notes/Domino among many others.
    • AppStream is a low latency (STX protocol based) service for streaming resource (e.g. compute, storage or memory) intensive applications and games from AWS cloud to various clients, desktops or mobile devices. This means that the resource intensive functionality can be shifted to the cloud, while providing a low latency (e.g. fast) user experience off-loading the client from having to support increased compute, memory or storage capabilities. Key to AppStream is the ability to stream data in a low-latency manner including over networks normally not suited for high quality or bandwidth intensive applications. IMHO AppStream while focused initially on mobile app's and gaming, being a bit streaming technology has the potential to be used for other similar functions that can leverage download speed improvements.

When I asked an AWS person if or what role AppStream might have or related to WorkSpaces their only response was a large smile and no comment. Does this mean WorkSpaces leverages AppStream? Candidly I don't know, however if you look deeper into AppStream and expand your horizons, see what you can think up in terms of innovation. Updated 11/21/13 AWS has provided clarification that WorkSpaces is based on PCoIP while AppStream uses the STX protocols.                        

Check out AWS Sr. VP Andy Jassy keynote presentation here.                                               

                       Overall I found the AWS re:Invent event to be a good conference spanning many aspects and areas of focus which means I will be putting it on my must attend list for 2014.

StorageIO Industry Trends and PerspectivesIndustry trends tips, commentary, articles and blog posts
                     What is being seen, heard and talked about while out and about

The following is a synopsis of some StorageIOblog posts, articles and comments in different venues on various industry trends, perspectives and related themes about clouds, virtualization, data and storage infrastructure topics among related themes.                                             

Storage I/O posts                                         Recent industry trends, perspectives and commentary by StorageIO Greg Schulz in various venues:                                            

NetworkComputing: Comments on Software-Defined Storage Startups Win Funding
                   Digistor: Comments on SSD and flash storage
                  InfoStor: Comments on data backup and virtualization software
                   ITbusinessEdge: Comments on flash SSD and hybrid storage environments
                   NetworkComputing: Comments on Hybrid Storage Startup Nimble Storage Files For IPO
                   InfoStor: Comments on EMC's Light to Speed: Flash, VNX, and Software-Defined
                   InfoStor: Data Backup Virtualization Software: Four Solutions
                   ODSI: Q&A With Greg Schulz - A Quick Roundup of Data Storage Industry

Recent StorageIO Tips and Articles in various venues:        

FedTechMagazine:   3 Tips for Maximizing Tiered Hypervisors
           InfoStor:                RAID Remains Relevant, Really!
                               Storage I/O trends       

Recent StorageIO blog post:                        EMC announces XtremIO General Availability (Part I) - Announcement analysis of the all flash SSD storage system
                       Part II: EMC announces XtremIO General Availability, speeds and feeds - Part two of two part series with analysis
                       What does gaining industry traction or adoption mean too you? - There is a difference between buzz and deployment
                       Fall 2013 (September and October) StorageIO Update Newsletter - In case you missed the fall edition, here it is
                       StorageIO Industry Trends and Perspectives                     

Check out our page where you will find a growing collection of information and links on cloud and object storage themes, technologies and trends.

                           Server and StorageIO seminars, conferences, web cats, events, activities                                                 StorageIO activities (out and about)
                                               Seminars, symposium, conferences, webinars
                         Live in person and recorded recent and upcoming events


While 2013 is winding down, the StorageIO calendarcontinues to evolve, here are some recent and upcoming activities.                                         

December 11, 2013 Protection for Cloud 201Backup.U
Google+ hangout
December 3, 2013 Protection for Cloud 101Backup.U
Online Webinar
November 19, 2013 Protection for Virtualization 201Backup.U
Google+ hangout
November 12-13, 2013AWS re:InventAWS re:Invent eventLas Vegas, NV
November 5, 2013 Protection for Virtualization 101Backup.U
Online Webinar
October 22, 2013 Protection for Applications 201Backup.U
                  Google+ hangout


Click here to view other upcoming along with earlier event activities. Watch for more 2013 events to be added soon to the StorageIO events calendar page. Topics include data protection modernization (backup/restore, HA, BC, DR, archive), data footprint reduction (archive, compression, dedupe), storage optimization, SSD, object storage, server and storage virtualization, big data, little data, cloud and object storage, performance and management trends among others.                    

Vendors, VAR's and event organizers, give us a call or send an email to discuss having us involved in your upcoming pod cast, web cast, virtual seminar, conference or other events.


If you missed the Fall (September and October) 2013 StorageIO update newsletter, click here to view that and other previous editions as HTML or PDF versions. Subscribe to this newsletter (and pass it along)                                              and click here to subscribe to this news letter. View archives of past StorageIO update news letters as well as download PDF versions at: