Posts Tagged Flash
Flash competitors are aggressively jockeying for position as the market heats up. It’s a tale of two styles. On the one hand, EMC’s entrance into the all-flash array market targets traditional IT segments. It will both pressure competitive offerings and its own high-end block storage business. EMC is positioning to cannibalize its own base before others cut too deep into the EMC muscle; but it must walk a fine line. At the other end of the spectrum, Fusion-io is uniquely positioned to serve the hyperscale market and currently stands alone with a software-led strategy that leverages atomic writes and delivers new value to database workloads.
As data is continuously collected and created, companies have difficulty just storing it, missing any opportunity to leverage the information. The wave of big data has the potential to flip the burden of data management into the opportunity of new value creation. Yesterday’s solutions don’t accomplish this today and will be even less effective tomorrow.
While the volume of data has grown exponentially over the last few decades, the fundamental and underlying technology on which we store data hasn’t. Sure, we’ve had improvements in densities (to store more data) and connectivity (to provide better access to data), but the pace of data growth has overwhelmed the benefits of these technological advancements.
There are two hard facts that every CIO will face as some point as data growth continues:
- Storage performance will become an exceedingly important metric, if it hasn’t already.
- Flash storage alone will not solve an organizations storage problems due to the high $/TB cost.
As I state these two facts, I’m not including in the group of CIOs those that have what many consider to be niche needs. Instead, I’m including those mainstream SMB and midmarket CIOs that run “real world” data centers.
Flash is a hot topic. Not Adobe Flash, which can’t be used on Apple iPods or iPads, but Flash memory that provides the storage capacity used inside those same gadgets. While Flash memory is not a new technology, disk has dominated the enterprise space for many years. Flash’s capabilities were well suited for mobile devices and thanks to increased capacities and lower prices derived from high volumes in consumer usage, flash is back in the enterprise and new emerging cloud environments. Wikibon has been closely following this technology for many years and has a large body of research that is freely available for all to read and contribute to.
Savior of the Universe
[It] save everyone of us
[It]’s a miracle
King of the impossible
-slightly modified version of the Queen song “Flash”
In the last twenty years we’ve witnessed a steady migration of storage function from the host CPU to the array controller. Storage services including replication, copy services, data migration, data protection and other storage management capabilities have ended up as solutions sold by array vendors and have created a multi-billion dollar industry. It made sense. Lacking a way to store peristent data close to the CPU, on the processor side of the channel, architects chose to use storage networks as the persistent storage alternative of choice. They realized the penalty of performing I/O to external disk was offset by the benefits from sharing persistent storage. Array vendors have also made tremendous strides in performance by using intelligent caching and other sophisticated algorithms and techniques to speed response times and throughput. External storage networks have become the dominant deployment model for the vast majority of mission critical applications.
EMC announced their latest 3rd generation Symmetrix architecture today the labeled the Virtual Matrix Architecture. The announcement was kicked off by Tucci who positioned the event as both the introduction of a new architecture as well and the introduction of the first V-Max product. Donatelli then proceeded to give a bit more detail. The following are the highlights I captured during his presentation.
- Symmetrix was introduced 18 years ago, this is the 3rd generation architecture.
- The intelligence and the compute resources are contained in a module called the Symmetrix V-Max Engine. Multiple engines can be matrix together with capacity resources in a scale-out architecture.
It was another successful and busy week at Storage Networking World (SNW) Spring 2009 in Orlando. Although the number of vendors, by my count, was 48% of what it was in Spring 2008, it was apparent that the vendors who did participate sent fewer people. However, the SNW officials said that the end-user attendance was 92% of what it was in Spring 2008. Obviously travel budgets have been cut, and this was reflected in the end-user attendance, which had shifted to many local IT professionals from the central Florida region.
The Spring 2009 Storage Networking World ends today. It was a busy week for the Wikibon team as we were briefed by more than 25 technology companies and tweeted the live action to the Wikibon community. Bill Mottram, Dennis Martin and I gave presentations during the week, Dennis on SSD for Microsoft Apps, Bill on optimizing energy and efficiency and me with Rich Avila on how Virtualization Energizes Cal State U East Bay.
When you read the Fusion-I/O Specs, they have an access time of 50 microseconds, and 95,000 IOPS for the 160GB SLC ioDrive; that’s over 100 times faster than a traditional disk drive. Look at EMC’s assessment of the potential of flash and you see a more sober assessment of 10-30 times faster. So is Fusion-I/O a much better product and set to dominate the market?
When you look in detail at the spec of the Zeus IOPS 3.5 inch SSD from STEC which is used in the EMC storage arrays the difference between the two technology’s are minimal. Clearly the difference in performance comes from the overhead of running the SSD in a storage array. Is using a disk-drive form factor for storage a wrong decision?