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Storage I/O trends

Until the focus expands to data protection, backup is staying alive!

This is the first of a three-part series discussing how and why vendors are keeping backup alive, read part two here.


Some vendors, Value Added Resellers (VARs), pundits (consultants, analysts, media, bloggers) and their followers want backup to not only be declared dead, they also want to attend (or send flowers) to the wake and funeral not to mention proof of burial so to speak.


Yet many of these same vendors, VARs and their pundits also are helping or causing backup to staying alive.


Sure there are plenty of discussion including industry adoption and customer deployment around modernizing backup and data protection that are also tied to disaster recovery (DR), business continuance (BC), high availability (HA) and business resiliency (BR).


On the other hand the usual themes are around talking about product or technology deployment to modernize backup by  simply swapping out hardware (e.g. disk for tape, cloud for disk), applying data footprint reduciton (DFR) including archiving, compression and dedupe or, another common scenario of switching from one vendors tool to another.

How vendors are helping backup staying alive?

One of the routine things I hear from vendors among others is that backup needs to move from the 70's or 80's or 90's to the current era  when the John Travolta and Oliva Newton John movie Saturday Night Fever and the Bee Gees song "Stayin Alive" appeared (click here to hear the song via Amazon).


Stayin Alive Image via


Some vendors keep talking and using the term backup instead of expanding the conversation to data protection that includes backup/restore, business continuance (BC), disaster recovery (DR) along with archiving and security. Now let's be  that we can not expect something like backup to be removed from the vocabulary overnight as its been around for decades, hence it will take time.


IMHO: The biggest barrier to moving away from backup is the industry including vendors, their pundits, press/media, vars and customers who continue to insist on using or referring to back up vs. expanding the conversation to data protection. - GS @StorageIO


Until there's a broad focus on shifting to and using the term data protection including backup, BC, DR and archiving, people will simply keep referring to what they know, read or hear (e.g. backup). On the other hand if the industry starts putting more focus on using data protection with backup, people will stat following suit using the two and over time backup as a term can fade away.


Taking a step back to move forward

Some of the modernizing backup discussions is actually focused on take a step back to reconsider why, when, where, how and with what different applications, systems and data gets protected. certainly there are the various industry trends, challenges and opportunities some of which are shown below including more facts to protect, preserve and service for longer periods of time.


Likewise there are various threat risks or scenarios to protect information assets from or against, not all of which are head-line news making event situations.


data protection threat risk scenarios

Not all threat risks are headline news making events

There is an old saying in and around backup/restore, BC, DR, BR and HA of never letting a disaster go to waste. What this means is that if you have never noticed, there is usually a flurry of marketing and awareness activity including conversations about why you should do something BC, DR and other data protection activities right around, or shortly after a disaster scenario. However not all disasters or incidents are headline news making events and hence there should be more awareness every day vs. just during disaster season or situations. In addition, this also means expanding the focus on other situations that are likely to occur including among others those in the following figure.


data protection headline news and beyond


Continue reading part two of this series here to see what can be done about shifting the conversation about modernizing data protection. Also check out   conversations about trends, themes, technologies, techniques  perspectives in my ongoing data protection diaries discussions (e.g.


Ok, nuff said

Cheers  Gs

Storage I/O trends

Data Protection Diaries – My data protection needs and wants

Rather than talking about what others should do or consider for their data protection needs, for this post I wrote down some notes using my Livescribe about what I need and want for my environment. As part of walking the talk in future posts I'm going to expand a bit more on what I'm doing as well as considering for enhancements to my environment for data protection which consists of cloud, virtual and physical.

Why and what am I Protecting?

live scribe example
Livescribe notes that I used for creating the following content

What is my environment

Server and StorageIO (aka StorageIO) is a small  business that is focused in and around data infrastructures which includes data  protection as a result, have lots of data including videos, audio, images,  presentations, reports, research as well, file serving as back-office  applications.  Then there are websites,  blog, email and related applications, some of which are cloud based that are also part of my environment that have different availability, durable, and accessibility requirements.


My  environment includes local on-site physical as well as virtual systems, mobile  devices, as well as off-site resources including a dedicated private server  (DPS) at a service provider. On one hand as a small business, I could  easily move most if not everything into the cloud using an as a service model. However, I also have a lab and research environment for doing various things  involving data infrastructure including data protection so why not leverage those  for other things.


Why do I need to protect my information and data infrastructure?

  • Protect  and preserve the business along with associated information as well as assets
  • Compliance  (self and client based, PCI and other)
  • Security  (logical and physical) and privacy to guard against theft, loss, instrusions
  • Logical  (corruption, virus, accidental deletion) and physical damage to systems, devices,  applications and data
  • Isolate  and contain faults of hardware, software, networks, people actions from  spreading to disasters
  • Guard  against on-site or off-site incidents, acts of man or nature, head-line news  and non head-line news
  • Address  previous experience, incidents and situations, preventing future issues or  problems
  • Support  growth while enabling agility, flexibity
  • Walk  the talk, research, learning increasing experience

My wants - What I would like to have

  • Somebody else pay for it all, or exist in world where there are no threat risks to information (yeh right ;) )
  • Cost  effective and value (not necessarily the cheapest, I also want it to work)
  • High  availability and durability to protect against different threat risks (including  myself)
  • Automated,  magically to take care of everything enabled by unicorns and pixie dust ;).

My requirements - What I need (vs. want):

  • Support  mix of physical, virtual and cloud applications, systems and data
  • Different  applications and data, local and some that are mobile
  • Various operating environments including Windows and Linux
  • NOT  have to change my environment to meet limits of a particular solution or  approach
  • Need  a solution (s) that fit my needs and that can scale, evolve as well as enable  change when my environment does
  • Also  leverage what I have while supporting new things

Wrap and summary (for now)

Taking a step back to look at a high-level of what my data protection needs are involves looking at business requirements along with various threat risks, not to mention technical considerations. In a future post I will outline what I am doing as well as considering for enhancements or other changes along with different tools, technologies used in hybrid ways. Watch for more posts in this ongoing series of the data protection dairies via


Ok, nuff said  (for now)

Cheers Gs

Storage I/O trends

Welcome to the Data Protection Dairies

This is a series of posts about data protection which includes security  (logical and physical), backup/restore, business continuance (BC), disaster  recovery (DR), business resiliency (BR) along with high availability (HA),  archiving and related topic themes, technologies and trends.


Think of data protection like protect, preserve and serve information across cloud, virtual and  physical environments spanning traditional servers, storage I/O networking along  with mobile (ok, some IoT as well), SOHO/SMB to enterprise.


Getting started, taking a step back

Recently I have done a series of webinars and Google+ hangouts as part of the BackupU  initiative brought to you by Dell Software (that’s a disclosure btw ) that  are vendor and technology neutral. Instead of the usual vendor product or  technology focused seminars and events, these are about getting back to the  roots, the fundamentals of what to protect when and why, then decide your  options as well as different approaches (e.g. what tools to use when).


In  addition over the  past year (ok, years) I have also been doing other data protection related  events, seminars, workshops, articles, tips, posts across cloud, virtual and  physical from SOHO/SMB to enterprise. These are in addition  to the other data infrastructure server and  storage I/O stuff (e.g. SSD, object storage, software defined, big data, little  data, buzzword bingo and others).


Keep in mind that in the data center or information factory everything is not the same as there are different applications, threat risk scenarios, availability and durability among other considerations. In this series like the cloud conversations among others, I'm going to be pulling various data protection themes together hopefully to make it easier for others to find, as well as where I know where to get them.


data protection diaries
Some notes for an upcoming post in this series using my Livescribe about data protection

Data protection topics, trends, technologies and related themes

Here are some more posts to checkout pertaining to data protection trends, technologies and perspectives:

Ok, nuff said  (for now)

Cheers  Gs

Storage I/O trends

IT and data center sustainability convergence

Recently Hailey Lynne McKeefry (@HaileyMcK), Editor in Chief over at Data Center Acceleration (@DataAccelerate) reached out for a conversation about well, data center themes and topics. Given Hailey's background in covering technology as well as business supply chain we somehow ended up talking about business, IT and data center sustainability. Hailey wrote a piece about Driving for Datacenter Sustainability and in addition I was honored to be an invited guest for a live on-line chat yesterday (you can view the conversation here).


Excerpt from Haileys piece:


Too often, sustainability efforts in the datacenter are written off as feel-good, public relations efforts. In reality, green is about economics -- and done well, it can save the datacenter tons of cash.


"You mention green, and datacenter managers run or cringe and roll their eyes, because there's been so much green washing done in the past few years," said Greg Schulz, founder of IT consultancy StorageIO. "It's really about green economics, though, and getting more work done with the same budget."


Read more of Hailey's piece here

Many different faces of IT and data center sustainability

Granted, when you here the term sustainability, IT and data centers you may think of different things depending on your view or area of focus.


For some it will  be Green or environmental focused such as use of renewable and EH&S  themes, recycling among others Related to the previous item some will see  sustainability as being tied to energy, either tied to cost, availability/accessibility,  standby or alternative and renewable Yet for others, it will  mean business continuance (BC), disaster recovery (DR), business  resiliency (BR), high availability or reliability availability service (RAS)  among others Then  the economics concerns of keeping the business running  to discuss top and bottom line concerns.


Otoh, if your  focus is on one of the above or a subset of one of them, you might not view  the other areas as being tied to sustainability.


It data center sustainability


Likewise, you  might even want to not be included in another other, let alone share your area  with others. For example if your focus is on security you may not want to  see or hear that data protection is part of sustainability, not to mention  backup/restore, bc, dr and so forth.

Learning, education and knowledge sustainability

Part of  sustainability is also continuing to learn about new things not only in your field or  focus area, also in adjacent spaces.


Keep in mind  that there is more of a data center or information factory than just a building  or facility with power, cooling as there are the technologies,  tools, people, process, delivery/distribution network, warehouse for  storing raw and finished material, metrics and management that all go into  delivering the product which is information services.


Hence there are  many aspects to IT and data center sustainability and thus think  more pragmatically about sustaining information factories, however lets  also be realistic and not jump the shark by declaring everything as  sustainable ;).


Check out the live talk chat that we had yesterday over at Data Center Acceleration by clicking here.

Some related more reading:
Green IT, Green  Gap, Tiered Energy and Green Myths
The new Green  IT: Efficient, Effective, Smart and Productive
Saving Money  with Green IT: Time To Invest In Information Factories
PUE, Are you  Managing Power, Energy or Productivity?
Green IT  deferral blamed on economic recession might be result of green gap
IT and storage  economics 101, supply and demand
The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) - Intel Recommended Reading List
Driving for Datacenter Sustainability
Live Chat 01/23:  Building the Sustainable Datacenter


Ok, nuff said

Cheers Gs

Storage I/O trends

Lenovo buys IBM's xSeries x86 server business for $2.3B USD, what about EMC?

Once again Lenovo is new owner of some IBM computer  technology, this time by acquiring the x86 (e.g. xSeries) server business unit  from big blue. Today Lenovo announced its plan to acquire the IBM x86 server storage business unit for $2.3B USD.


Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Armonk, New York –  January 23, 2014


Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) and IBM (NYSE: IBM)  have entered into a definitive agreement in which Lenovo plans to acquire IBM’s x86 server business. This includes System x, BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and associated software, blade networking and maintenance operations. The purchase price is approximately US$2.3 billion, approximately two billion of which will be paid in cash and the balance in Lenovo stock.


IBM will retain its System z mainframes, Power Systems, Storage Systems, Power-based Flex servers, and PureApplication and PureData appliances.


Read more here


If you recall (or didn't’t know) around a decade or so ago IBM  also spun off its Laptop (e.g. Thinkpads) and workstation business unit to  Lenovo after being one of the early PC players (I still have a model XT in my  collection along with Mac SE and Newton).


What this means for IBM?

What this means is that IBM is selling off a portion of its systems technology  group which is where the servers, storage and related hardware, software  technologies report into. Note however that IBM is not selling off its entire  server portfolio, only the x86 e.g. Intel/AMD based products that make up the  xSeries as well as companion Blade and related systems. This means that IBM is  retaining its Power based systems (and processors) that include the pSeries,  iSeries and of course the zSeries mainframes   in addition to the storage hardware/software portfolio.


However as part  of this announcement, Lenovo is also licensing from IBM the Storwize/V7000 technology  as well as Tape, GPFS based scale out file systems used in SONAS and related  products that are part of solution bundles tied to the x86 business.


Again to  be clear, IBM is not selling off (or at least at this time) Storwize, tape or  other technology to Lenovo other than x86 server business. By server business, this means the technology, patents,  people, processes, products, sales, marketing, manufacturing, R&D along with  other entities that form the business unit, not all that different from  when IBM divested the workstation/laptop aka PC business in the past.


Storage I/O trends

What this means for Lenovo?

What Lenovo gets are an immediate (once the deal closes)  expansion of their server portfolio including high-density systems for cloud,  HPC as well as regular enterprise, not to mention also for SME and SMB. Lenovo  also gets blade systems as well as converged systems (server, storage,  networking, hardware, software) hence why IBM is also licensing some technology  to Lenovo that it is not selling. Lenovo also gets the sales, marketing,  design, support and other aspects to also expand their server business. By  gaining the server business unit, Lenovo will now be in a place to take on  Dell (who was also rumored to be in the market for the IBM servers), as well as  HP, Oracle and other x86 system based suppliers.


What about EMC and Lenovo?

Yes, EMC, that storage company who is also a primary  owner of VMware, as well as partner with Cisco and Intel in the VCE initiatives,  not to mention who also entered into a partnership with Lenovo a year or so  ago.


In case you forgot or didn't’t know, EMC after breaking up  with Dell, entered into a partnership with Lenovo back in 2012.


This partnership and initiatives included developing servers that in turn EMC could use for their various storage and data  appliances which continue to leverage x86 type technology. In addition, that  agreement found the EMC Iomega brand transitioning over into the Lenovo line-up  for both domestic North America, as well as international including the  chinese market. Hence I have an older Iomega IX4 that says EMC, and a newer  one that says EMC/Lenovo, also note that at CES a few weeks ago, some new Iomega  products were announced.


In checking with Lenovo today, they indicated that  it is business as usual and no changes with or to the EMC partnership.


Via email from Lenovo spokesperson today:


A key piece to Lenovo's Enterprise strategy has always included strong  partnerships. In fact today's announcements reinforce that strategy very clearly.


Given the new scale, footprint and Enterprise credibility that this server acquisition affords Lenovo, we see great opportunity in offering complimentary storage offerings to new and existing customers.      


Lenovo's partnership with EMC is multifaceted and stays in-tact as an important part of Lenovo's overall strategy to offer customers compelling solutions built on world-class technology.      


Lenovo will continue to offer Lenovo/EMC NAS products from our joint venture as well as resell EMC stand-alone storage platforms.


IBM Storwize storage and other products are integral to the in-scope platforms and solutions we acquired. In order to ensure continuity of business and the best customer experience we will partner with IBM for storage products as well.  


We believe this is a great opportunity for all three companies, but most importantly these partnerships are in place and will remain healthy for the benefit for our customers.


Hence it is my opinion that for now it is business as  usual, the IBM x8x business unit has a new home, those people will be getting  new email addresses and business cards similar to how some of their associates  did when the PC group was sold off a few years ago.


Otoh, there may also be new  products that might become opportunities to be placed into he Lenovo EMC  partnership, however that is just my speculation at this time. Likewise while  there will be some groups within Lenovo focused on selling the converged Lenovo  solutions coming from IBM that may in fact compete with EMC (among others) in  some scenarios, that should be no more and hopefully less than what IBM has  with their server groups at times competing with themselves.


Storage I/O trends

What does this mean for Cisco, Dell, HP and others?

For Cisco, instead of competing  with  one of their OEMs (e.g. IBM) for networking equipment (note IBM also owns some  of its own networking), the server competition shifts to Lenovo who is also a  Cisco partner (its called coopitition), and perhaps business as usual in many  areas. For Dell, in the mid-market space, things could get interesting  and the Round Rock folks need to get creative and beyond VRTX.


For HP, this is where IMHO it's going to get really interesting as  Lenovo gets things transitioned. Near-term, HP could have a  disruptive upper hand, however longer-term, HP has to get their A-Game on.  Oracle is in the game as are a bunch of others from Fujitsu to SuperMicro to outside of North America and in particular china there is also Huawei. Back to EMC and VCE,  while I expect the Cisco partnership to stay, I also see a wild card where  EMC can leverage their Lenovo partnership into more markets, while Cisco  continues to move into storage and other adjacent areas (e.g. more coopitition).


What this means now and going forward?

Thus this is as much about enterprise, SME, SMB as it is  HPC, cloud and high-density where the game is about volume. Likewise there is  also the convergence or data infrastructure angle combing server, storage, networking  hardware, software and services.


One of the things I have noticed about Lenovo  as a customer using ThinkPads for over 13 years now (not the same one) is that  while they are affordable, instead of simply cutting cost and quality, they  seem to have found ways to remove cost which is different then simply cutting  to go cheap.


Lenovo X1


Case in point about a year and a half ago I dropped my iPhone on  my Lenovo X1 keyboard that is back-lit and broke a key. Calling Lenovo after  trying to find a replacement key on the web, they said no worries and next  morning a new keyboard for the laptop was on my doorstep by 10:30Am with  instructions on how to remove the old, put in the new, and do the RMA, no questions  asked (read more about this here).


The reason I mention that story about my X1 laptop is that  it ties to what I'm curious and watching with their soon to be expanded new  server business.


Will they go in and simply look to reduce cost by making  cuts from design to manufacturing to part quality, service and support, or,  find ways to remove complexity and cost while providing more value?


Now I wonder whose technology will join my HP and Dell systems to fill some empty rack space in the not so distant future to support growth?


Time will tell, congratulations to Lenovo and the IBMers  who now have a new home best wishes.


Ok, nuff said

Cheers gs

Storage I/O trends

Securing your information assets and data, what about your storage?

Recently I did a piece over at the site Information  Security Buzz  title How Secure Is Your Data Storage? that takes a cursory look at  securing your digital assets from a storage perspective. Keep in mind that data protection can mean many things to different people from various focus or technology domain perspectives. Likewise there are various threat risks to protect against and, not all of them are head-line news making events.

data protection threat risk scenarios

Protecting data and data protection

Protecting your data  or data protection is a diverse topic and not  exclusive to just backup/restore, business continuance (BC), disaster recovery  (DR), high availability (HA), durability, archiving, privacy and compliance (PCI, Hippa,  High-tech, Sarbox, etc) or security (logical [encryption, access control, identity management] and physical).


In the broader scope and context of information infrastructures and data infrastructures, think of data protection as part of or enabling protect, process, preserve and serving of information in an effective way that does not introduce complexity or compromise your digital and physical assets.


Following is an excerpt from the piece over at Information Security Buzz:


The usual belief is that information behind firewall's and on storage attached to servers that have rights access control and find access, all is safe; hence no need to encrypt the real storage device.    

There is a couple of other usual comments or statements  that people make to me about encrypting storage devices  that it is too  difficult due to lack of good key management, and the other is that people say  the encryption algorithms are no good. Both can be valid points, particular  given what we are hearing with the NSA and other government activities. My  usual response is a) have spare keys placed in safe trusted locations and b) do  you lock the doors and windows on your home as somebody who really wants to get  in probably can, hence need for multiple rings of security, however the  encryption will deter the casual or more typical adversary.


Click to read more

Additional data protection topics and links

In addition to the above, also check out the following related items on the many difference faces or facets of data protection.

Various StorageIO tips and articles from different venues: Via StateTech Magazine - 5 Tips for Factoring Software into Disaster Recovery Plans and Via the StorageIO fall November 2013 news letter, Cloud and data protection perspectives.

Also via StorageIOblog: Data protection modernization, more than swapping out media and Cloud conversations: Has Nirvanix shutdown caused cloud confidence and data protection concerns? along with In the data center or information factory not everything is the same plus Securing data at rest and fast secure erase with SED's.

Also check out BackupU ( series of webinars and Google+ hangouts that I'm involved with about modernizing and rethinking data protection. Note that while Dell is the sponsor of these events, they are also vendor and technology neutral, that's a disclosure btw fwiw ).


Closing perspective, for now...

Only you can prevent data loss


Only you can prevent data loss as it is a shared responsibility!


Ok, nuff said (for now)

Cheers gs

Storage I/O trends

Book review: Rethinking Enterprise Storage - A Hybrid Cloud Model by Marc Farley


The O'Reilly @oreillymedia media folks (oops, excuse me,  Microsoft Press) sent me out (that's a disclosure btw) an real soft cover print copy of Rethinking  Enterprise Storage - A Hybrid Cloud Model by Marc Farley aka @MicroFarley of Microsoft/Storsimple that features a  forward by Martin Glassborow aka @Storagebod.


Rethinking Enterprise Storage - A Hybrid Cloud Model

Topics and themes covered in the book


  • Understanding scale storage architectures (hmm,  great way of saying hybrid
  • Rethinking data protection including disaster recovery  (DR) best practices
  • Enhancing data protection using cloud snapshots beyond  traditional backups
  • Deterministic thin recovery capabilities while dynamically  expanding capacity to the cloud
  • Implement data footprint reduction (DFR) including  archiving digital documents to the cloud
  • Insight and awareness into keep performance indicators  along with various use cases

Rethinking Enterprise Storage book Details

Publisher: Microsoft Press
  Author: Marc Farley
  Paper back
  Features: Many diagrams, figures, index, glossary
    Pages: 101
    ISBN: 978-0-7356-7990-3
    Published: 2013
    MSRP: $9.99 USD


Sample pages of rethinking enterprise storage
One of the many books many figures on the right, on the left i needed to hold a page down ;)!

What's inside the book


Make no mistake that this is a Microsoft and Storsimple  themed book, however IMHO Marc (aka Farley) does a great job of making it more  relevant than just another vendor product book (JAVPB). While it is a  Microsoft focused book around enabling hybrid cloud storage for various applications,  the premises presented could be adapted for other environments or  implementations. The book at 101 pages including table of contents (TOC),  index, appendix, glossary and other front matter is a very easy and fast read  while providing more information or coverage than what might be found in a  "Dummies" type themed book.


Looking inside Rethinking Enterprise Storage by Marc Farley
Start thinking outside the box (or cloud), imagine what you can do with a Hybrid cloud!



Overall I found the book to be good and  not just because I know Marc or that the O'Reilly folks sent me a free copy (I had  actually previously received the electronic ebook version), rather that it is  timely and does a nice job of conveying the topic theme and setting up the  conversation, time to rethink storage for enterprise and other environments.  IMHO the question is not if hybrid cloud storage is in your future, rather when,  where, why, for what, how, with whom and related conversations. While you can  buy a copy of the book at various venues, it shouldn't take a lot of  effort to get your own printed soft cover copy, or an ebook version.

Btw, here's a pod cast discussion with Marc Farley from  spring 2013 at SNW, as well as a link to a hybrid cloud and object storage post he did over at Microsoft Technet.


To summarize and quote Marc Farley "Hey  now...."


Ok, nuff said

Cheers gs

Storage I/O trends

IoD, IoT, IoE, IoS, IoP, IoU and IoX are in your future


Have you figured out the new buzzword trend for 2014that starting  ramping up in 2013?


Yup, its Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of  Devices's (IoD)


Assuming that IoT, IoD and other variations catch on which looks like they will, this could bring relief and rest for the over-worked Big Data and Software Defined "X" buzzword bingo bandwagon usage.


Buzzword bingo

Introducing IoX?


For those not familiar with Software Defined "X", simply replace "X" with your favorite term such as Data Center (SDDC), Networking (SDN), Storage (SDS), Marketing, (SDM) among the new IT (and beyond) industry term might just take some pressure from the  over-worked  software defined "x" usage (you pick "x" such as data center,  networking, storage, marketing, etc).


This is good news as we now have IoX where "X" can be leveraged from Things (IoT) and Devices (IoD) to People, Places, Protocols or Platforms (IoP), not to mention APIs, Applications and Apple (IoA).

How about Internet of Items (IoI) or Internet of Objects (IoO)?


We are already seeing Cisco with Internet of Everything (IoE) from CES and rest assured the Big Datafolks will want to get all over IoBD while storage folks serve up Internet of Storage (IoS), granted that might be a little close to Apple's OS for comfort of some.


Of course this should also prompt the question of if instead of Internet of Things (IoT) or IoX as being public, then would a Intranet of Things or other items (e.g. IoX) be considered private?


And if you just said or thought, what hybrid, sure, why not, its 2014 after all...


Here's my point


There are many other variations particular if you apply some cloud and virtual based Big Data analytics with some software defined marketing creativity.


So what's your take on IoT, IoD, IoP and other IoX, is it all IoH (Internet of Hype) and Internet of Marketing (IoM), something new to get excited about for those who suffer from technology buzzword ADD?


What say you?


Ok, nuff said


Storage I/O trends

Some Windows Server Storage I/O related commands


The following are some commands and tools for Microsoft Windows environments that are useful for storage I/O activities (among others).


Microsoft Windows

Finding a Windows physical disk, SSD or storage system device name


So you may know and how to find out the more familiar Windows storage device (Solid State Device - SSD, Hard Disk Drives - HDD among others) names such as A:, B:, C:, D: as what you can view from the Windows Explorer, Computer or Admin tools.


Windows storage devices


However what if you need to find out a physical name for raw (not mounted) and mounted devices for configuration? For example, if you have a tool that wants the physical name for your C: drive that might be  \\.\PhysicalDrive0\?


No worries, use the command WMIC DISKDRIVE LIST BRIEF


WIndows physical device name


Need more detail about the devices beyond what is shown above?


Then use WMIC DISKDRIVE LIST or as in the above example, direct the output to a file with the results shown below (scroll to the left or right to see more detail information).


        Availability  BytesPerSector  Capabilities  CapabilityDescriptions                 CompressionMethod  ConfigManagerErrorCode  ConfigManagerUserConfig  DefaultBlockSize  Description  DeviceID            ErrorCleared  ErrorDescription  ErrorMethodology  Index  InstallDate  InterfaceType  LastErrorCode  Manufacturer            MaxBlockSize  MaxMediaSize  MediaLoaded  MediaType              MinBlockSize  Model                                  Name                NeedsCleaning  NumberOfMediaSupported  Partitions  PNPDeviceID                                                  PowerManagementCapabilities  PowerManagementSupported  SCSIBus  SCSILogicalUnit  SCSIPort  SCSITargetId  SectorsPerTrack  Signature   Size           Status  StatusInfo  SystemName  TotalCylinders  TotalHeads  TotalSectors  TotalTracks  TracksPerCylinder  
              512             {3, 4}        {"Random Access", "Supports Writing"}                     0                       FALSE                                      Disk drive   \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE2                                                    2                   SCSI                          (Standard disk drives)                              TRUE         Fixed hard disk media                ATA ST3000DM001-1CH1 SCSI Disk Device  \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE2                                         0           SCSI\DISK&VEN_ATA&PROD_ST3000DM001-1CH1\5&3626375C&0&000600                                                         0        0                3         6             63               0           3000590369280  OK                  DBIOTEST    364801          255         5860528065    93024255     255                
              512             {3, 4}        {"Random Access", "Supports Writing"}                     0                       FALSE                                      Disk drive   \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE3                                                    3                   SCSI                          (Standard disk drives)                              TRUE         Fixed hard disk media                SEAGATE ST600MP0034 SCSI Disk Device   \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE3                                         0           SCSI\DISK&VEN_SEAGATE&PROD_ST600MP0034\5&3626375C&0&000A00                                                          0        0                3         10            63                           600124654080   OK                  DBIOTEST    72961           255         1172118465    18605055     255                
              512             {3, 4}        {"Random Access", "Supports Writing"}                     0                       FALSE                                      Disk drive   \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE4                                                    4                   SCSI                          (Standard disk drives)                              TRUE         Fixed hard disk media                SEAGATE ST600MX0004 SCSI Disk Device   \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE4                                         0           SCSI\DISK&VEN_SEAGATE&PROD_ST600MX0004\5&3626375C&0&000C00                                                          0        0                3         12            63                           600124654080   OK                  DBIOTEST    72961           255         1172118465    18605055     255                
              512             {3, 4}        {"Random Access", "Supports Writing"}                     0                       FALSE                                      Disk drive   \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE1                                                    1                   SCSI                          (Standard disk drives)                              TRUE         Fixed hard disk media                SEAGATE ST9300603SS SCSI Disk Device   \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE1                                         0           SCSI\DISK&VEN_SEAGATE&PROD_ST9300603SS\5&3626375C&0&000400                                                          0        0                3         4             63                           299992412160   OK                  DBIOTEST    36472           255         585922680     9300360      255                
              512             {3, 4}        {"Random Access", "Supports Writing"}                     0                       FALSE                                      Disk drive   \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE0                                                    0                   SCSI                          (Standard disk drives)                              TRUE         Fixed hard disk media                VMware Virtual disk SCSI Disk Device   \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE0                                         2           SCSI\DISK&VEN_VMWARE&PROD_VIRTUAL_DISK\5&1982005&1&000000                                                           0        0                2         0             63               -873641784  64420392960    OK                  DBIOTEST    7832            255         125821080     1997160      255    

Remembering (or learning) Xcopy


Some of you might be familiar with Xcopy and if not, it is a handy tool for copying files, folders and directories to local as well as networked storage. Some handy Xcopy command switches include:


/j = use un-buffered IO for large files
  /y = suppress prompting
  /c = continue if error
  /E = copy sub directories
  /H = copy hidden files
  /Q = quiet mode (don't list files being copied) 


In the following example the content of the Videos folder and its sub-directories (83.5GB) are copied to another destination. Note the Time /T command that is also shown which is useful for timing how long the copy takes (e.g. subtract start-time from end-time and you have elapsed time). In this example 83.5GB are copied from one place to another on the same SSD device and using the results of the Time /T command the elapsed time was about 12 minutes.


Windows SSD TRIM

Xcopy command example

Diskpart, don't be scared, however be careful


Ever have a Windows storage device or system that failed to boot, or a problem with a partition, volume or other issue?


How about running into a situation where you are not able to format a device that you know and can confirm is ok to erase, yet you get a message that the volume is write protected or read only?


Diskpart is handy, powerful and potentially dangerous tool if you are not careful as you could mistakenly drop a good volume or partition (e.g. the importance of having good backups). However Diskpart can be used to help repair storage devices that have boot problems, or for clearing read only attributes among other tasks. If you are prefer GUI interfaces, many of the Diskpart functions can also be done via Disk Management interface (e.g. Control Panel -> All Control Panel Items -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Storage -> Disk Management ). Note that Diskpart to do certain functions will need to be run as Administrator.


windows diskpart


In the above example the LIST DISK command shows what disks are present (on-line or off-line) which means that you may see devices here that do not show up elsewhere. Also shown is selecting a disk and then listing partitions, selecting a partition and showing attributes. The Attribute command can be used for clearing Read Only modes should a partition become write protected.


Hint, ever have a device that was once had VMware installed on it, then you move it to Windows and try to reformat for use and get a Read Only error? If so, you will want to have a look at Diskpart and the Attribute commands. However BE CAREFULL and pay attention which disk, partition and volumes you are working with as you can easily cause a problem that would result in testing how good your backups are.



If you have a SATA SSD the TRIM command is a form of garbage collection that is supported with Windows 7 (SAS drives use the SCSI UNMAP). Not sure if your system has TRIM enabled? Try the following command as administrator. Note that if you see a result of "0" then TRIM is enabled while a value of "1" means that it is disabled for your system.


Windows SSD TRIM


Want to learn more about TRIM, check out this piece from Intel as well as this Microsoft Windows item.

Having issues with collecting CPU and performance statistics?


Have an issue or problem collecting your system statistics, or when  running a benchmark, workload generation tool such as vdbench and getting an "Unable  to obtain CPU statistics"?


Try the Lodctr /R command (as administrator), however read this Microsoft Tip first to learn more.


Windows Lodctr /R

Sdelete and drive erase


Like its name implies, if you do not have this tool, you can download it here from Microsoft to not only delete files, folders, as well as write "0" patterns across a disk to secure erase it. You can specify the number of times you want to run the write "0" patterns across a disk to meet your erasure requirements.


There is also another use for Sdelete which is if you need or want to pre-condition a SSD or other device such as for testing, you can run a pre-conditioning pass using Sdelete.


Some command options include -p #n where "n" is the number of times to run, -s recursive to process sub-directories, -z to write "0" or zero out the space on the device, -c for clean, -a to process read-only attributes. Learn more and get your copy of Sdelete from Microsoft here.

Rufus, Seatools, Samsung Disk Magician and Cyberduck


A handy tool available from Seagate (may only work with Seagate and their partner devices) is SeaTools that can give drive information, health and status as well as perform various tests including SMART.


Seagate Seatools
Seagate Seatools example


Different HDD and SSD as well as storage system vendors give tools for configuration, monitoring, management and in some cases data movement with their solutions. Samsung SSD Magician is a tool I have installed for managing my SSDs (830 and 840 Pros) that has features for updating firmware, drive health as well as performance optimization. Other hand tools include the Samsung copy tool based on Clonix as Acronis among other clone or data migration utilities (more on those in a future post).


Samsung SSD Magician
Samsung SSD Magician


While the Microsoft WIndows USB Tool is handy for dealing with Microsoft ISO, however for creating USB's with ISO's such as for installing VMware or Linux on bare metal systems, Rufus is a handy tool to have in the tool-box.


Rufus ISO to USB tool


Another useful tool that functions as an SSH and FTP utility is Cyberduck that also supports access to Amazon S3 among other cloud services.

Cyberduck cloud storage access


There are many other tools for server, storage I/O and other activities on WIndows, not to mention other platforms, however hopefully you find the above useful.


How about it, what's your favorite Windows server, storage I/O tools and commands?


Ok, nuff said (for now)


Storage I/O trends

Good by 2013 and hello 2014 along with predictions past, present and future

First, for those who may have missed this, thanks to all who helped make 2013 a great year!


2013 season greetings


Looking back at 2013 I saw a continued trend of more vendors and their media public relations (PR) people reaching out to have their predictions placed  in articles, posts, columns or trends perspectives pieces.

Hmm, maybe a new trend is predictions selfies?


Not to worry, this is not a wrapper piece for a bunch of those pitched and placed predictions requests that I received in 2013 as those have been saved for a rainy or dull day when we need to have some fun .

What about 2013 server storage I/O networking, cloud, virtual and physical?


2013 end up with some end of year  spree's including Avago acquiring storage I/O and networking vendor LSI for about $6.6B USD (e.g. SSD cards, RAID cards, cache cards, HBA's (Host Bus Adapters), chips and other items) along with Seagate buying Xyratexfor about $374M USD (a Seagate suppliers and a customer partner).


Xyratex is known by some for making the storage enclosures that house hard disk drive (HDD's) and Solid State Device (SSD) drives that are used by many well-known, and some not so well-known systems and solution vendors. Xyratex also has other pieces of their business such as appliances that combine their storage enclosures for HDD and SSD's along with server boards, along with a software group focus on High Performance Compute (HPC) Lustre. There is another part of the Xyratex business that is not as well-known which is the test equipment used by disk drive manufacturers such as Seagate as part of their manufacturing process. Thus the Seagate acquisition moves them up market with more integrated solutions to offer to their (e.g. Seagate and Xyratex) joint customers, as well as streamline their own supply chain and costs (not to mention sell equipment to the other remaining drive manufactures WD and Toshiba).

Storage I/O trends


Other 2013 acquisitions included (Whiptail by Cisco, Virident by WD (who also bought several other companies), Softlayer by IBM) along with various mergers, company launches, company shutdowns (cloud storage Nirvanix and SSD maker OCZ bankruptcy filing), and  IPO's (some did well like Nimble while Violin not so well), while earlier high-flying industry darlings such as FusionIO are now the high-flung darling targets of the shareholder sock lawsuit attorneys.


2013 also saw the end of SNW (Storage Network World), jointly produced by SNIA and Computerworld Storage in the US after more than a decade. Some perspectives from the last US SNW held October 2013 can be found in the Fall 2013 StorageIO Update Newsletter here, granted those were before the event was formal announced as being terminated.


Speaking of events, check out the November 2013 StorageIO Update Newsletter here for perspectives from attending the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference which joins VMworld, EMCworld and a bunch of other vendor world events.

Lets also not forget Dell buying itself in 2013.

StorageIO in the news

Click on the following links  read (and here) more about various 2013 industry perspectives trends commentary of mine  in various venues, along with  tips, articles, newsletters, events, pod cast, videos and other items.


What about 2014?


Perhaps 2014 will build on the 2013 momentum of the annual rights of pages refereed to as making meaningless  future year trends and predictions as being passe?


Not that there is anything wrong with making predictions for the coming year, particular if they actually have some relevance, practicality not to mention track record.


However that past few years seems to have resulted in press releases along with product (or services) plugs being masked as predictions, or simply making the same predictions for the coming year that did not come to be for the earlier year (or the one before that or before that and so forth).


On the other hand, from an entertainment perspective, perhaps that's where we will see annual predictions finally get classified and put into perspectives as being just that.


Storage I/O trends


Now for those who still cling to as well as look forward to annual predictions, ok, simple, we will continue in 2014 (and beyond) from where we left off in 2013 (and 2012 and earlier) meaning more (or continued):

    • Software defined "x" (replace "x" with your favorite topic) industry discussion adoption yet customer adoption or deployment question conversations.


    • Cloud conversations shifted from lets all go to the cloud  as the new shiny technology to questioning the security, privacy, stability,  vendor or service viability not to mention other common sense concerns that  should have been discussed or looked into earlier. I have also heard from  people who say Amazon (as well as Verizon, Microsoft, Blue host, Google,  Nirvanix, Yahoo and the list goes on) outages are bad for the image of clouds  as they shake people's confidences. IMHO people confidence needs to be shaken  to that of having some common sense around clouds including don’t be scared, be  ready, do your homework and basic due diligence. This means cloud conversations over concerns set the stage for increased awareness into decision-making, usage, deployment and best practices (all of which are good things for continued cloud deployments). However if some vendors or  pundits feel that people having basic cloud concerns that can be addressed is  not good for their products or services, I would like to talk with them because  they may be missing an opportunity to create long-term confidence with their  customers or prospects.


    • VDI as a technology being deployed continues to grow  (e.g. customer adoption) while the industry adoption (buzz or what's  being talked about) has slowed a bit which makes sense as vendors jump from one  bandwagon to the new software defined bandwagon.


    • Continued awareness around modernizing data protection including backup/restore, business continuance (BC), disaster recovery (DR), high availability, archiving and security means more than simply swapping out old technology for new, yet using it in old ways. After all, in the data center and information factory not everything is the same. Speaking of data protection, check out the series of technology neutral webcast and video chats that started last fall as part of BackupU brought to you by Dell. Even though Dell is the sponsor of the series (that's a disclosure btw ) the focus of the sessions is on how to use different tools, technologies and techniques in new ways as well as having the right tools for different tasks. Check out the information as well as register to get a free Data Protection chapter download from my book Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press) at the BackupU site as well as attend upcoming events.


    • The nand flash solid state devices (SSD) cash-dash (and shakeout) continues with some acquisitions and IPO's, as well as disappearances of some weaker vendors, while appearance of some new. SSD is showing that it is real in several ways (despite myths, fud and hype some of which gets clarified here) ranging  from some past IPO vendors (e.g. FusiuonIO) seeing exit of their CEO and  founders while their stock plummets and arrival of shareholder investor  lawsuits, to Violins ho-hum IPO. What this  means is that the market is real, it has a very bright future, however there  is also a correction occurring showing that reality may be settling in for the  long run (e.g. next couple of decades) vs. SSD being in the realm of  unicorns.

Storage I/O trends


    • Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Devices (IoD) may give some relief for Big Data, BYOD, VDI, Software Defined and Cloud among others that need a rest after they busy usage that past few years. On the other hand, expect enhanced use of earlier buzzwords combined with IoT and IOD. Of course that also means plenty of questions around what is and is not IoD along with IoT and if actually relevant to what you are doing.


    • Also in 2014 some will discover storage and related data infrastructure topics or some new product / service thus having a revolutionary experience that storage is now exciting while others will have a DejaVu moment that it has been exciting for the past several years if not decades.


    • More big data buzz as well as realization by some that a  pragmatic approach opens up a bigger broader market, not to mention customers  more likely to realize they have more in common with big data than it simply  being something new forcing them to move cautiously.


    • To say that OpenStack and related technologies will continue to gain both industry and customer adoption (and deployment) status building off of 2013 in 2014 would be an understatement, not to mention too easy to say, or leave out.



    • This also means realizing that large amounts of little data can result in back logs of lots of big data, and that big data is growing into very fast big data, not to mention realization by some that HDFS is just another distributed file system that happens to work with Hadoop.




server storage I/O trends

What about beyond 2014?


That’s easy, many of the predictions and prophecies that  you hear about for the coming year have also been pitched in prior years, so it  only makes sense that some of those will be part of the future.

  • If you have seen or experienced something you are more likely to have DejaVu.
  • Otoh if you have not seen or experienced something you are more likely to have a new and revolutionary moment!
  • Start using new (and old) things in new ways vs. simply using new things in old ways.
  • Barrier to technology convergence, not to mention new technology adoption is often people or their organizations.
  • Convergence is still around, cloud conversations around concerns get addressed leading to continued confidence for some.
  • Realization that data infrastructure span servers, storage I/O networking, cloud, virtual, physical, hardware, software and services.
  • That you can not have software defined without hardware and hardware defined requires software.
  • And it is time for me to get a new book project (or two) completed in addition to helping others with what they are working on, more on this in the months to come...

Here's my point

The late Jim Morrison of the Doors said "There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.".

The doors via
Above image and link via


Hence there is what we know about 2013 or will learn about the past in the future, then there is what will be in 2014 as well as beyond, hence lets step through some doors and see what will be. This means learn and leverage lessons from the past to avoid making the same or similar mistakes in the future, however doing so while looking forward without a death grip clinging to the past.

Anderson Windows and doors
Images of various doors via Anderson Windows, click image to see more


Needless to say there will be more to review, preview and discuss throughout the coming year and beyond as we go from what is unknown through doors and learn about the known. Thanks to all who made 2013 a great year, best wishes to all, look forward to seeing and hearing from you in 2014!


Ok, nuff said (for now) Cheers

Storage I/O trends

Blog post: Small Medium Business (SMB) IT continues to gain respect, what about SOHO?

Note that in Information Technology (IT) conversations there are multiple meanings for SMB including Server Message Blockaka Microsoft Windows CIFS (Common Internet File System) along with its SAMBA implementation, however for this piece the context is Small Medium Business.


A decade or so ago, mention SMB (Small Medium Business)  to many vendors, particular those who were either established or focused on  the big game enterprise space and you might have gotten a condescending  look or answer if not worse.


In other words, a decade ago the SMB did not get much respect from some vendors and those who followed or covered them.


Fast forward to today and many of those same vendors along with  their pundits and media followers  have now gotten their SMB grove, lingo, swagger or social media footsteps, granted for some that might be at the higher end of SMB  also known as SME (Small Medium Enterprise).


Rodney Dangerfield - No Respect via


Today in general the SMB is finally getting respect  and in some circles its down right cool and trendy vs. being perceived as old school, stodgy large enterprise. Likewise the Remote Office Branch Office (ROBO) gained more awareness and coverage a few years back which while the ROBO buzz has subsided, the market and opportunities are certainly there.

What about Small Office Home Office  (SOHO) today?


I assert that SOHO today is getting the same lack of respect that  SMB in general received a decade ago.


IMHO the SOHO environment and market today is being treated with a similar lack of respect that the larger SMB received a decade ago.


Granted there are some vendors and their followings who are seeing the value and opportunity, not to mention market size potential of expanding their portfolios, not to mention routes to markets to meet their different needs of the SOHO.

relative enterprise sme smb soho positioning

What is the SOHO market or environment


One of the challenges with SMB, SOHO among other  classifications are just that, the classifications.


Some classificaitons are based on  number of employees, others on number of servers or workstations, while others are  based on revenue or even physical location.


Meanwhile some are based on types  of products, technologies or tools while others are tied to IT or general  technology spending.


Some confuse the SOHO space with the consumer market space or sector which should not be a surprise if you view market segments as enterprise, SMB and consumer. However if you take a more pragmatic approach, between true consumer and SMB space, there lies the SOHO space. For some the definitions of what is consumer, SOHO, SMB, SME and enterprise (among others) will be based on number of employees, or revenue amount. Yet for others the categories may be tied to IT spending (e.g. price bands), number of workstations, servers, storage space capacity or some other metric. On the other hand some definitions of what is consumer vs. SOHO vs. SMB vs. SME or enterprise will be based on product capabilities, size, feature function and cost among other attributes.

Storage I/O trends

Understanding the SOHO


Keep in mind that SOHO can also overlap with Remote  Office Branch Office (ROBO), not to mention blend with high-end consumer  (prosumer) or lower bounds of SMB.


Part of the challenge (or problem) is that many confuse  the Home Office or HO aspect of SOHO as being consumer.


Likewise many also  confuse the Small Office or SO part of SOHO as being just the small home office  or the virtual office of a mobile worker.


The reality is that just as the SMB space has expanded,  there is also a growing area just above where consumer markets exist and where  many place the lower-end of SMB (e.g. the bottom limits of where the  solutions fit).


First keep in mind that many put too much focus and mistakenly believe that the HO or Home Office part of SOHO means that this is just a consumer focused space.


The reality is that while the HO gets included as part of SOHO, there is also the SO or Small Office which is actually the low-end of the SMB space.


Keep in mind that there are more:

SMB  than SME
SME than enterprise
F500 (Fortune 500) than F100
F100 than F10 and  so forth.

Here is my point


SOHO does not have to be the Rodney Dangerfield of IT (e.g. gets no respect)!


If you jumped on the SMB bandwagon a decade ago, start  paying attention to what's going on with the SOHO or lower-end SMB sector. The  reasons are simple, just as SMBs can grow up to be larger SMBs or SME or  enterprise, SOHOs can also evolve to become SMBs either in business size, or  in IT and data infrastructure needs, requirements.


For those who prefer (at least for now) look down upon or  ignore the SOHO similar to what was done with SMB before converting to SMBism,  do so at your own risk.


However let me be clear, this does not mean ignore or  shift focus and thus disrupt or lose coverage of other areas, rather, extend,  expand and at least become aware of what is going on in the SOHO space.


Ok, nuff said (for now)



Storage I/O trends

Server virtualization nested and tiered hypervisors


A few years ago I did a piece (click here) about the then emerging trend of tiered hypervisors, particular using different products or technologies in the same environment.

Tiered snow tools
Tiered snow management tools and technologies


Tiered hypervisors can be as simple as using different technologies such as VMware vSphere/ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM or Xen in your environment on different physical machines (PMs) for various business and application purposes. This is similar to having different types or tiers of technology including servers, storage, networks or data protection to meet various needs.


Another aspect is nesting hypervisors on top of each other for testing, development and other purposes.

nested hypervisor


I use nested VMware ESXi for testing various configurations as well as verifying new software when needed, or creating a larger virtual environment for functionality simulations. If you are new to nesting which is running a hypervisor on top of another hypervisor such as ESXi on ESXi or Hyper-V on ESXi here are a couple of links to get you up to speed. One is a VMware knowledge base piece, two are from William Lam (@lamw) Virtual Ghetto (getting started here and VSAN here) and the other is from Duncan Epping @DuncanYB Yellow Brickssites.


Recently I did a piece over at FedTech titled 3 Tips for Maximizing Tiered Hypervisorsthat looks at using multiple virtualization tools for different applications and how they can give a number of benefits.

Here is an excerpt:


Tiered hypervisors can be run in different configurations. For example, an agency can run multiple server hypervisors on the same physical blade or server or on separate servers. Having different tiers or types of hypervisors for server and desktop virtualization is similar to using multiple kinds of servers or storage hardware to meet different needs. Lower-cost hypervisors may have lacked some functionality in the past, but developers often add powerful new capabilities, making them an excellent option.  


IT administrators who are considering the use of tiered or multiple hypervisors should know the answers to these questions:

  • How will the different hypervisors be managed?
  • Will the environment need new management tools for backup, monitoring, configuration, provisioning or other routine functions?
  • Do existing tools offer support for different hypervisors?
  • Will the hypervisors have dedicated PMs or be nested?
  • How will IT migrate virtual machines and their guests between different hypervisors? For example if using VMware and Hyper-V, will you use VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager or something similar?


So how about it, how are you using and managing tiered hypervisors? Ok, nuff said for now.