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!
Industry watchers like me have long wondered when Cisco will transform itself into a full-line IT infrastructure vendor. This strategy was tipped in 2009 as Cisco barged into the server market with UCS. But one leg of the stool is still missing: Storage remains the province of Cisco partners like EMC and NetApp.
Top-of-rack flash and bottom-of-rack disk makes a ton of sense in a world of virtualized, distributed storage. It fits with enterprise paradigms yet delivers real architectural change that could “move the needle” in a way that no centralized shared storage system ever will. SAN and NAS aren’t going away immediately, but this new storage architecture will be an attractive next-generation direction!
We were never able to achieve storage virtualization in mainstream enterprise IT because we lacked the ability to identify and move data non-disruptively. This has been solved by caching and distributed storage solutions, and it’s only a matter of time before the legacy need for centralized storage falls away.
Join me for “Storage I/O is About to Get Crazy”! I’ll be speaking on Tuesday morning, August 26, at 7:30 AM at Jillian’s San Francisco, right on the corner next to Moscone and the rest of VMworld. SolarWinds is sponsoring this talk and will provide breakfast (including gourmet coffee) to any and all registered VMworld attendees.
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.