December 18, 2014

Computer History

Considering the history of computing, from the enterprise to the home.

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.

Cloud Without Virtualization

Gigaom Structure 2014

Lots of folks conflate cloud computing and virtualization, but these are not necessarily intrinsically related. Although most cloud servers today use a hypervisor like KVM or Xen to share compute hardware, there’s no reason it has to be this way. My takeaway from Gigaom Structure this week is that an alternative paradigm is emerging: Cloud without […]

Why OpenStack Doesn’t Need Fibre Channel Support

Hey! It's J and I drawing unicorns!

Last week, J Metz penned an article entitled “Thoughts on #OpenStack and Software-Defined Storage” in which he argues (rightly) that OpenStack Cinder should take storage networks into account and also (wrongly) that it should also encompass existing protocols such as “the 11 Billion ports of Fibre Channel that currently exist as part of a holistic […]

Is Storage the Killer App for Software-Defined Networking?


Software Defined Networking (SDN) has always looked a bit like a solution in search of a problem, at least in the enterprise data center. But there are lots of potential applications that need a dynamic and scalable network. In my mind, storage is chief among these, since scalability and flexibility has always been extremely difficult to achieve.

Infographic: Datacenter History In Lego

Infographic: Datacenter History in Lego

You might remember my October post, Datacenter History: Through the Ages in Lego. Now it’s available as a handy infographic, thanks to my friend Aditya Vempaty of Coho Data. It’s pretty cool how this turned out – I think he’s got a real talent for this kind of thing!

Datacenter History: Through the Ages in Lego

A modern datacenter, complete with an EMC VMAX, Juniper router, and rackmount servers

Readers of my blog know that I love computer history. Therefore, I decided to focus my entry in Juniper Networks’ “Build the Best (Lego) Data Center” contest on the history of computing. Specifically, I would re-create key historic machines to contrast them with a modern view.

Microsoft’s Big Chance to Change

Steve Ballmer oversaw a decade of "meh" at Microsoft. It's time for new leadership.

It takes a truly-remarkable leader to be willing to kill his old golden geese to make room for a new one; so far, only Apple and Amazon seem willing to forgo continuity in the name of profitable destruction. But new corporate leadership at Microsoft might un-stick the company and awaken the once-innovative Redmond powerhouse. The retirement of Steve Ballmer is welcome news.

Thinking About Storage In a New Way, From Cloud to Flash, with Dropbox and Fusion-io

We need smarter, more integrated storage.

I’ve been a storage revolutionary for quite a while, looking for new ways of data storage rather than technologies that perpetuate the same old approaches. That’s why I’m excited about the implications of two very different API access methods announced by Dropbox at DBX and by Fusion-io today at OSCON.

Apple Brings PCIe SSD To The Masses In The New MacBook Air

A PCIe SSD cuts out the SATA "middle man", offering 10 Gpbs from a dedicated PCI Express lane!

Apple’s brand-new MacBook Air might not look much from the outside, but a revolution lurks under the hood: This is the first mainstream computer to eschew SATA in favor of PCIe SSD! Long heralded in workstations and servers, PCIe SSD brings massive potential for storage performance.

Scaling Storage Is Hard To Do

This is one scaly anteater! No, really, he's a scaly anteater!

Data storage isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially at enterprise or cloud scale. It’s simple enough to read and write a bit of data, but much harder to build a system that scales to store petabytes. That’s why I’m keenly focused on a new wave of storage systems built from the ground up for scaling!