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2014

Storage I/O trends

StorageIO data infrastructure industry vendors links page updated with over 1,200 entries

Is your company, organization or one that you are a fan of, or represent listed on the StorageIO industry links page?

 

The StorageIO industry links page has been updated with over thousand different industry related companies, vendors, vars, trade groups, part and solution suppliers along with cloud and managed service providers.


The common theme with these industry links is information and data infrastructures which means severs, storage, IO and networking, hardware, software, applications and tools, services, products and related items for traditional, virtual and cloud environments.

 

The industry links page is accessed from the StorageIO main web page via the Tools and Links menu tab, or via the URL http://storageio.com/links. An example of the StorageIO industry links page is shown below with six different menu tabs in alphabetical order.

 

storage I/O and data infrastructure cloud, virtual and software defined links

 

Know of a company, service or organization that is not listed on the links page, if so, send an email note to info at storageio.com. If your company or organization is listed, contact StorageIO to discuss how to expand your presence on the links page and other related options.

 

Visit the updated StorageIO industry links page and watch for more updates, and click here to learn more about the links page.

 

Ok, nuff said  (for now)

 

Cheers Gs

Storage I/O trends

Removing  complexity and cost to drive return on innovation the new ROI

There is no such thing as an information  recessionhowever there the realities of economic challenges in IT data centers also known as information factories.

 

Likewise, people and data are living longer with increased dependency on information being available and reliable when  needed. Hence the need for data infrastructures that protect, preserve and serve information in a cost-effective productive way.

Return on innovation, the new ROI, doing more with what you have without compromise

Driving  return on innovation (the new ROI) to support growth

 

A common challenge for organizations of all size is how to support business and  data growth while working within budget constraints without compromising on  customer service expectations. Simply cutting cost at the price of  reliability, availability, serviceability or performance is not an option for  most environments.

Driving data center and data infrastructure sustainability

The solution is to find and  remove complexity and thus remove costs. How to carry out the above goal  is to leverage various tools and techniques to streamline IT and data  infrastructures in creative ways.

 

Cloud, virtual and traditional computing building blocks image, servers, storage, networking hardware and software
Core IT building blocks  (servers, storage and networking, hardware and software)

 

With data storage along with  servers, networks and associated software management tools being the  fundamental building blocks for traditional, virtual and cloud environments, it  makes sense to apply some focus there.

 

How you use different tools  and technologies to address various challenges while enabling your organization  to be more effective and productive will decide your return on innovation,  the new ROI. The new ROI is a companion reflecting qualitative business benefits  vs. traditional black and white quantitative spreadsheet numbers based  indicators.

 

garbage in, garbage out roi tco
Watch out for Garbage In, Garbage Out ROI and TCO analysis

 

Return  on innovation reflects how various tools and technologies, joined with  different processes, procedures, and best practices and people skills are  combined to address a problem or challenge and enable some benefit. An example  is deploying storage optimization techniques to support growth by finding and  removing complexities, boosting effectiveness (as well as efficiency) without  negatively affecting productivity.

 

Where financial based ROI looks at a number  that may show impacts to customer service, return on innovation highlights  the business benefit (e.g. perhaps non-financial) such as getting more work  done in same amount of time or keeping customers satisfied.

 

Keep in mind, that  when you can find and remove complexity, cost savings are the usual benefit vs.  finding and moving or masking problems that end up costing more over time.

 

Ok, nuff said  (for now)

Cheers  Gs

Storage I/O trends

Server Storage I/O Network Benchmark Winter Olympic Games

It is time for the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi Russiawhere  competitors including some athletes come together in what has become a mix of sporting  and entertainment engaging activities.

 

Olympic rings image

Games of inches and seconds, performance and skill

Some of these activities including real Olympic game events are heavier  on sports appeal, some with artistic and others pure entertainment with a mix  of beauty, braun and maybe even a beast or two. Then there are those events that have been around since the last ice age, while others being post global warming era.

 

Hence some have been around longer than others showing a mix of old, new in terms of the  sports, athletes not to mention technology and their outfits.

 

Red Bull Crashed Ice

 

I mean how about some of the new snow boarding and things on skis being done, can you image if they brought in as a new "X" sport roller derby on the short speed skating track sponsored by Red Bull or Bud light? Wait, that sounds like the Red Bull Crashed Ice event (check this out if not familiar with) think motto cross, hockey, down hill on ice. How about getting some of the south African long distance sprinters to learn how to speed skate, talk about moving some gold metal as in medals back to the african continent! On the other hand, the current powers to be would lodge protest, change the benchmark or rules to stay in power, hmm, sound familiar with IT?

 

Ok, enough of the fun stuff (for now), let's get back on track here (catch that pun?).

 

Sochi olympic medals

Metrics that matter, winners and losers

Since these are the Olympics, lets also remember that there still awards  for personal and team winners (along with second and third place), after all,  if all Olympians were winners, there would be no losers and if no losers, how  could there be a winner?

 

Who or what decides the winners vs. losers involves metrics that matter,  something that also applies to servers, storage I/O networking hardware,  software and services.

 

In the case of the Olympics, some of the sports or events are based on  speed or how fast (e.g. time) something is done, or how much is accumulated or  done in that amount of time while in other events the metrics that matter may  be more of a mystery based on judging that maybe subjective.

 

The technologies to record times, scores, movements and other things  that go into scoring have certainly improved, as have the ability for fans to  engage and vote their choice, or opposition via social media venues from  twitter to face book among others.

What about server storage I/O networking benchmarks

There could easily be an Information Technology (IT) or data infrastructure  benchmarking Olympics with events such as faster server (physical, virtual or  cloud, personal or consortium team), storage, I/O and networking across  hardware, software or services. Of course there would be different approaches  favored by the various teams with disputes, protests and other things  sometimes seen during Olympic games. One of the challenges however is what  would be the metrics that matter particularly to the various marketing groups  of each organization or their joint consortium?

 

Just like with sports, which of the various industry trade groups or consortiums would be the ruling party or voice for a particular  event specifying the competition criteria, scoring and other things. What  happens when there is a break away group that launches their own competing  approach yet when it comes time for the IT benchmarking Olympics, which of the  various bodies does the Olympic committee defer to? In case you are not familiar  with in sports there are various groups and sub-groups who can decide the  participants for various supports perhaps independent of an overall group, sound  like IT?

 

Storage I/O trends

Let the games begin

So then the fun starts, however which of the events are relevant to your  needs or interest, sure some are fun or entertaining while others are not  practical. Some you can do yourself, while others are just fun to watch, both the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.

 

This is similar to  IT industry benchmarking and specmanship competitions, some of which is more relevant than others, then there are those that are entertaining.

 

Likewise some benchmarks or workload claims can be reproduced to confirm the results or claims, while others remain more like the results of figure skating judges.

 

Hence some of the benchmark games are more entertaining, however for  those who are not aware or informed, they may turn out to be more  misinformation or lead to poor decision-making.

 

Sochi winter olympic app

 

Consequently benchmarks and metrics that matter are those that most  closely aging with what your environment is or will be doing.

 

If your environment is going to be running a particularly simulation  or script, than so be it, otoh, look for comparisons that are reflective.

 

On the other hand, if you can't find something that is applicable, then look at tools and  results that have meaning along with relevance, not to mention that provide  clarity and repeatable. Being repeatable means that you can get access to the tools, scripts or  scenario (preferably free) to run in your own environment.

 

There is a long list of benchmarks and workload simulation tools, as well as traces available, some for free, some for fee that apply to components, subsystems or complete application systems from server, storage I/O networking applications and hardware. These include those for Email such as Microsoft Exchange related, SQL databases, , LoginVSI for VDI, VMmark for VMware, Hadoop and HDFS related for big data among many others (see more here).

 

Apple PieOrange Jello shots

Apples to Apples vs. Apple pie vs. Orange Jello

Something else that matters are apples to apples vs. apples to oranges or  worse, apple pie to orange Jello.

 

This means knowing or gaining insight into the pieces as we as how they  behave under different conditions as well as the entire system for a baseline  (e.g normal) vs. abnormal.

 

Hence its winter server storage I/O networking benchmark games with the  first event having been earlier this week with team Brocade taking on Cisco. Here is a link to a post by Tony Bourke (@tbourke) that provides some interesting perspectives and interactions, along with a link here to the  Brocade sponsored report done by Evaluator Group.

 

In this match-up, Team Brocade (with HP servers, Brocade switches and an unnamed 16GFC SSD storage system) take on Team Cisco and their UCS (also an un-named 16GFC SSD system that I wonder if Cisco even knows whose's it was?). Ironic that it was almost six years to the date that there was a similar winter benchmark wonder event when NetApp submitted an SPC result for EMC (read more about that cold day here).

 

The Brocade FC (using HP servers and somebody's SSD storage) vs. Cisco FCoE using UCS (and somebody else's storage) comparison is actually  quite entertaining, granted it can also be educational on what to do or not do, focus on or include among others things. The report also raises many questions that seem more wondering why somebody won in an ice figuring skating event vs. the winner of a men's or women's hockey game.

 

Closing thoughts (for now)

So here’s my last point and perspective, let's have a side of context  with them IOPs, TPS, bandwidth and other metrics that matter.

 

Take metrics and benchmarks with a grain of salt however look for  transparency in both how they are produced, information provided and most important, does it matter or is it relevant to your environment or simply entertaining.

 

Lets see what the next event in the ongoing server storage I/O networking benchmark 2014 winter Olympic games will be.

 

Some more reading:
SPC and Storage Benchmarking Games
Moving Beyond the Benchmark Brouhaha
More storage and IO metrics that matter
Its US Census time, What about IT Data Centers?
March Metrics and Measuring Social Media (keep in mind that March Madness is just around the corner)
PUE, Are you Managing Power, Energy or Productivity?
How many IOPS can a HDD, HHDD or SSD do?
Part II: How many IOPS can a HDD, HHDD or SSD do with VMware?

 

You can also take part in the on-going or re-emerging FC vs. FCoE hype and fud events by casting your vote here and see results .

 

Disclosure: I used to work for Evaluator Group after working for a  company called Inrange that competed with, then got absorbed (via CNT and McData) into Brocade who has been a client as has Cisco. I also do performance and functionality testing, audits, validation and proof of concepts services in my own as well as in client labs using various industry standard available tools and techniques. Otoh, not sure that I even need to disclose anything however its easy enough to do  so why not ;).

 

Ok, nuff said (for now)

Cheers gs

Storage I/O trends

Seagate Kinetic Cloud  and Object Storage I/O platform

Seagate announced today their Kinetic platform and drive  designed for use by object API  accessed storage including for cloud deployments. The Kinetic platform includes Hard  Disk Drives (HDD)  that feature 1Gb Ethernet (1 GbE) attached devices that speak object access API  or what Seagate refers to as a key / value. 

Seagate Kinetic architecture

What is being announced with Seagate Kinetic Cloud and Object (Ethernet HDD) Storage?

  • Kinetic  Open Storage Platform - Ethernet drives, key / value (object access) API,  partner software
  • Software developer’s kits (SDK) – Developer  tools, documentation, drive simulator, code libraries, code samples including  for SwiftStack and Riak.
  • Partner ecosystem

What is Kinetic?

While it has 1 GbE ports, do not expect to be able to use  those for iSCSI or NAS including NFS, CIFS or other standard access methods.  Being Ethernet based, the Kinetic drive only supports the key value object  access API. What this means is that applications, cloud or object stacks, key  value and NoSQL data repositories, or other software that adopt the API can  communicate directly using object access. 

Seagate Kinetic storage

 

Internal, the HDD functions as a normal drive would store  and accessing data, the object access function and translation layer shifts  from being in an Object Storage Device (OSD) server node to inside the HDD. The  Kinetic drive takes on the key value API personality over 1 GbE ports instead of  traditional Logical Block Addressing (LBA) and Logical Block Number (LBN)  access using 3g, 6g or emerging 12g SAS or SATA interfaces. Instead Kinetic drives respond to object access (aka what  Seagate calls key / value) API commands such as Get, Put among others. Learn  more about object storage, access and clouds at www.objectstoragecenter.com.

 

Storage I/O trends

Some questions and  comments

Is this the same as what was attempted almost a decade ago now  with the T10 OSD drives?

 

Seagate claims no.

 

What is different this time around with Seagate doing a  drive that to some may vaguely resemble the predecessor failed T10 OSD  approach?

 

Industry support for object access and API development have  progressed from an era of build it and they will come thinking, to now where  the drives are adapted to support current cloud, object and key value software  deployment.

 

Wont 1GbE ports be too slow vs. 12g or 6g or even 3g SAS and  SATA ports?

 

Keep in mind those would be apples to oranges comparisons  based on the protocols and types of activity being handled. Kinetic types of  devices initially will be used for large data intensive applications where  emphasis is on storing or retrieving large amounts of information, vs. low  latency transactional. Also, keep in mind that one of the design premises is to  keep cost low, spread the work over many nodes, devices to meet those  goals while relying on server-side caching tools.

 

Storage I/O trends

 

Does this mean that the HDD is actually software defined?

 

Seagate or other HDD manufactures have not  yet noticed the software defined marketing (SDM) bandwagon. They could join the  software defined fun (SDF) and talk about a software defined disk (SDD) or  software defined HDD (SDHDD) however let us leave that alone for now.

 

The reality is that there is far more software that exists  in a typical HDD than what is realized. Sure some of that is packaged inside  ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) or running as firmware that  can be updated. However, there is a lot of software running in a HDD hence the  need for power yet energy-efficient processors found in those devices. On a  drive per drive basis, you may see a Kinetic device consume more energy vs.  other equivalence HDDs due to the increase in processing (compute) needed to  run the extra software. However that also represents an off-load of some work  from servers enabling them to be smaller or do more work.

 

Are these drives for everybody?

 

It depends on if your application, environment, platform and  technology can leverage them or not. This means if you view the world only  through what is new or emerging then these drives may be for all of those  environments, while other environments will continue to leverage different  drive options.

 

  Object storage access

 

Does this mean that block storage access is now dead?

 

Not quite, after all there is still some block activity  involved, it is just that they have been further abstracted. On the other hand,  many applications, systems or environments still rely on block as well as file  based access.

 

What about OpenStack, Ceph, Cassandra,  Mongo, Hbaseand other support?

 

Seagate has indicated those and others are targeted to be  included in the ecosystem.

 

Seagate needs to be careful balancing their story and  message with Kinetic to play to and support those focused on the new and  emerging, while also addressing their bread and butter legacy markets. The  balancing act is communicating options, flexibility to choose and adopt the  right technology for the task without being scared of the future, or clinging  to the past, not to mention throwing the baby out with the bath water in exchange  for something new.

 

For those looking to do object storage systems, or cloud and  other scale based solutions, Kinetic represents a new tool to do your due  diligence and learn more about.

 

Ok, nuff said (for now) Cheers

Gs