Last week, I attended and participated in the Next Generation Storage Symposium and listened to a number of vendors and community participants discuss the future of storage and how the storage revolution will come to change IT as we know it. However, during one segment of the discussion, the conference organizer and a panel participant – Stephen Foskett – made what to me, was a profound statement.
“Scale doesn’t necessarily mean ‘big’.”
Why do I think this was an important statement?
Simply put, I’ve reviewed marketing collateral from dozens of storage vendors over the years. Many of them equate their ability to scale to hundreds of petabytes and millions of IOPS as absolute proof that they can scale to meet any size workload need.
However, for CIOs that aren’t in the market for petabytes (PB) or storage or hundreds of thousands of IOPS, scale may mean something altogether different. Rather than being able to scale to massive capacity and massive IOPS, scale may could mean:
- Having the ability for the environment to expand beyond what is can do today to simply meet tomorrow’s needs. How easy is it to simply expand the capacity?
- Thinking small. Can the solution scale in a granular way? For big gear, it’s obvious that the equipment can go all the way into the PBs by adding dozens of terabytes (TB) at a time, but is it possible to affordably scale the unit in much smaller increments or to seamlessly add either flash cache or a flash tier for performance boosts down the line. These CIOs can’t afford to add capacity in huge chunks and require the ability to think a bit smaller.
For SMB CIOs, “scale” really does mean something very different than it does for enterprise CIOs. SMB CIOs need solutions that can scale very granularly and affordably and without having to use a forklift every time capacity needs to be expanded. Further, these CIOs don’t need hundreds of thousands of IOPS; they just need a solution that can support their current workloads and scale to meet additional demands as they are placed.
At the same time, “scale” should include the ease by which an administrator can manage storage that has been upgraded. After all, if adding storage in small, budget-friendly units results in a massive increase in complexity then the organization loses in the long run as IT focuses more on the tech and less on the business.
What do you think? Does “scaling scale” make sense based on the size of your environment? Do you agreee?