At EMC World, Joe Tucci said that solid state disk (SSD) is a game changer for the industry. Further, EMC has announced its Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) technology, promising that FAST will be available across all its primary storage platforms by the end of 2009. We now live in a storage world where having multiple types of online storage devices, from SSD to SATA disks, makes sense. This is because it allows us to put the critical, current transaction data on the highest performing storage when it is needed and keep less-frequently accessed data on cheaper, somewhat slower storage. As FAST becomes a reality, it will enable storage administrators to automatically move data to an appropriate location, either within a disk array or to different disk arrays, at least among the EMC product family. This becomes especially important as automated server virtualization management and movement functions begin to appear.
As SSD pricing continues to drop, we can expect to see a change over time in the way we configure online storage systems. We may find that the most mission-critical data can be kept on a small amount of SSD storage and the large majority of data can be kept on slower, SATA storage. This two-tier online storage management strategy is relatively simple to understand and fits into existing management strategies, leaving room for other tiers for archiving, backup, etc.
Having the ability to automatically move data across multiple types of storage arrays is compelling, and EMC has stated this as its direction. The next step will be for customers to identify or classify data appropriately to take advantage of this automation. FAST works with all types of online storage, including SSD and all types of spinning disks.
Action Item: EMC customers should look for opportunities to reduce storage costs by identifying data that would make sense to put under FAST management when it becomes available. VMware customers should plan on taking advantage of FAST capabilities as they implement automated VMotion functions.