Every array storage salesperson dreams of walking into Google and securing a large storage order. There are some similarities between Google's storage approach and XIV. Both use commodity servers with storage directly attached. Can it happen this time?
The dream will not be fulfilled with IBM's NEXTRA as it is today. To look at the reasons is instructive; it tells us what is missing from NEXTRA and other clustered services to allow them to compete with Google in Web 2.0.
Google File System (GFS) is embedded with the storage system. The storage services offered included many of those found in NEXTRA, including "chunking" data, self healing and using industry standard components. Two of the many GFS additional features illustrate the gap that remains:
- GFS manages the optimization of keeping data physically as close as possible to consumers by managing the placement of data in the network. This minimizes bandwidth and more importantly improves user response time and "user experience;"
- GFS always appends data (never overwrites). This simplifies "locking" on chunks, retrieving data versions and achieving consistency of data in the event of a storage failure.
IBM will need to add a file system to XIV to allow it to compete in the Web 2.0 arena. For Google to be interested, it would have to offer additional functionality to GFS that would make it worthwhile migrating from GFS. Probably the only way that will happen is a joint agreement between IBM and Google to put GFS on XIV. It is difficult to see the motivation that would drive such a deal, but stranger things have happened.
Action Item: IBM will need significant enhancement to XIV to allow it to compete in the Web 2.0 space. Trying to make one storage solution fit every requirement is unlikely to succeed. Users should sit back and wait and see where IBM decides to focus development effort with XIV. Large enterprise tier 2 storage would seem the obvious starting point.