March 6, 2015

Predictable Performance Beats Maximum Speed Any Day

Who cares if your storage system "goes to eleven" if it can't stay there all day long?

Everyone wants to be the best, so outrageous claims of supremacy are as old as time. In IT, these claims often revolve around synthetic benchmarks chosen to highlight a system’s performance. Buyers have grown wary of these claims, smartly asking to try before they buy. But predictability is even more important than real-world testing, and this is particularly difficult for storage systems to achieve.

Musing: Could We Replace Ethernet With PCIe?

oUc4nZF

Greg “EtherealMind” Ferro recently “mused” that it might be a good idea to replace PCI Express (PCIe) inside servers or rack-scale infrastructure with Ethernet. But this seems to be the exact opposite of the direction the industry is headed. Rather than replacing PCIe with Ethernet, companies like Intel seem set on replacing short-range Ethernet (in rack-scale systems) with PCIe!

vSphere 6: NFS 4.1 Finally Has a Use?

VMware has adopted NFS 4.1

Way back in the 1990’s, UNIX admins delighted in upgrading from NFSv2 to NFSv3. Then NFSv4 came around and … crickets. Now VMware has become the first major/useful/mainstream application for NFSv4.1, so the floodgates are open! But are they?

New England Takes On Seattle To Determine Who’s Number 2 … In Tech!

SVCIP R&D Map

Although New England ought to win that big football game, they’re losing when it comes to innovation and technology. Seattle and Austin are gaining rapidly, and Massachusetts has itself to blame thanks to oppressive non-compete clauses and the threat of litigation. As for Tech Field Day, look for us to return to Silicon Valley for seven of our nine full events in 2015. At least now you know why!

NexGen Storage is Back!

NexGen Storage announced their acquisition by Fusion-io at Storage Field Day 3 on April 24, 2013

The re-birth of NexGen Storage is surprising to be sure, but it’s a positive move for the industry. Competition is good, especially when it comes from folks who know how to “do” storage. And the world of midrange storage just got a strong new competitor!

Why Big Disk Drives Require Data Integrity Checking

You might think RAID is for data protection, but it does nothing of the sort!

Hard disk drives keep getting bigger, meaning capacity just keeps getting cheaper. But storage capacity is like money: The more you have, the more you use. And this growth in capacity means that data is at risk from a very old nemesis: Unrecoverable Read Errors (URE).

The Prime Directive of Storage: Do Not Lose Data

The Prime Directive of storage: Do not return the wrong data!

People call on storage devices and systems to do lots of things, from accelerating I/O to copying and sharing data. But at the heart of it all, storage arrays really have just one job: Do not lose data!

EMC XtremIO Upgrade is Non-Disruptive to Customers

Bloggers are apoplectic about EMC's destructive upgrade process for XtremIO but customers don't seem to care.

EMC’s XtremIO is crapping on the badge; it’s an immature ball of destruction that shows how much architecture matters. Or so my favorite storage bloggers say. But customers and resellers seem to have a different take on the destructive XtremIO 3.0 update: They don’t care. Not at all.

A Fairy Tale of Two Storage Protocols

This is a tale of two great kingdoms in Seattle...

It’s clear how this fairy tale ends. So many companies are using “S3 plus” as their standard interface, and even inside their solutions, that it’s safe to say it’s won the cloud storage API battle. But S3 isn’t a finalized spec – the industry will extend and improve it over the coming years. Soon we’ll have a cloud storage standard based on S3, just like we have a LAN file services standard based on CIFS.

The Rack Endgame: Converged Infrastructure and Disaggregation

Cisco's new UCS M-Series puts two CPU/memory "complexes" on a cartridge, with all I/O disaggregated and supported on the back end over PCIe

As I’ve written about what I’m calling the “Rack Endgame”, the specter of converged infrastructure hasn’t been far from my thoughts. As others have pointed out, disaggregation of servers, networks, and storage doesn’t require a rack-sized stack; it can exist in a rack-mountable chassis and is already on sale!