Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Jerry Melnick, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Esmeralda Swartz, Michelle Drolet

Related Topics: Virtualization, Java, SOA & WOA, Adobe Flex, Open Source, Cloud Expo

Virtualization: Blog Feed Post

Have SSDs Been Unsuccessful with Storage Arrays (with Poll)?

I hear people talking about how Solid State Devices (SSDs) have not been successful with or for vendors of storage arrays

I hear people talking about how Solid State Devices (SSDs) have not been successful with or for vendors of storage arrays, particular legacy storage systems. Some people have also asserted that large storage arrays are dead at the hands of new purpose-built SSD appliances or storage systems (read more here).

As a reference, legacy storage systems include those from EMC (VMAX and VNX), IBM (DS8000, DCS3700, XIV, and V7000), and NetApp FAS along with those from Dell, Fujitsu, HDS, HP, NEC and Oracle among others.

Granted EMC have launched new SSD based solutions in addition to buying startup eXtremeIO (aka Project X), and IBM bought SSD industry veteran TMS. IMHO, neither of those actions by either vendor signals an early retirement for their legacy storage solutions, instead opening up new markets giving customers more options for addressing data center and IO performance challenges. Keep in mind that the best IO is the one that you do not have to do with the second best being the least impact to applications in a cost-effective way.

SSD, IO, memory and storage hirearchy

Sometimes I even hear people citing or using some other person or source to attribute or make their assertions sound authoritative. You know the game, according to XYZ or, ABC said blah blah blah blah. Of course if you say or repeat something often enough, or hear it again and again, it can become self-convincing (e.g. industry adoption vs. customer deployments). Likewise depending on how many degrees of separation exists between you and the information you get, the more that it can change from what it originally was.

So what about it, has SSD not been successful for legacy storage system vendors and is the only place that SSD has had success is with startups or non-array based solutions?

While there have been some storage systems (arrays and appliances) that may not perform up to their claimed capabilities due to various internal architecture or implementation bottlenecks. For the most part the large vendors including EMC, HP, HDS, IBM, NetApp and Oracle have done very well shipping SSD drives in their solutions. Likewise some of the clean sheet new design based startup systems, as well as some of the startups with hybrid solutions combing HDDs and SSDs have done well while others are still emerging.

Where SSD can be used and options

This could also be an example where myth becomes reality based on industry adoption vs. customer deployment. What this means is that the myth is that it is the startups that are having success vs. the legacy vendors from an industry adoption conversation standpoint and thus believed by some.

On the other hand, the myth is that vendors such as EMC or NetApp have not had success with their arrays and SSD yet their customer deployments prove otherwise. There is also a myth that only PCIe based SSD can be of value and that drive based SSDs are not worth using which I have a good idea where that myth comes from.

IMHO it is a depends, however safe to say from what I have seen directly that there are some vendors of storage arrays, including so-called legacy systems that have had very good success with SSD. Likewise have seen where some startups have done ok with their new clean sheet designs, including EMC (Project X). Oh, at least for now I am not a believer that with the all SSD based project "X" over at EMC that the venerable VMAX formerly known as DMX and its predecessors Symmetric have finally hit the end of the line. Rather they will be positioned and play to different markets for some time yet.

Over at IBM I don't think the DS8000 or XIV or V7000 and SVC folks are winding things down now that they bought SSD vendor TMS who has SSD appliances and PCIe cards. Rest assured there have been success by PCIe flash card vendors both as targets (FusionIO) and cache or hybrid cache and target systems such as those from Intel, LSI, Micron, and TMS (now IBM) among others. Oh, and if you have not noticed, check out what Qlogic, Emulex and some of the other traditional HBA vendors have done with and around SSD caching.

So where does the FUD that storage systems have not had success with SSD come from?

I suspect from those who would rather not see or hear about those who have had success taking away attention from them or their markets. In other words, using Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) or some community peer pressure, there is a belief by some that if you hear enough times that something is dead or not of a benefit; you will look at the alternatives.

Care to guess what the preferred alternative is for some? If you guessed a PCIe card or SSD based appliance from your favorite startup that would be a fair assumption.

On the other hand, my educated guess (ok, its much more informed than a guess ;) ) is that if you ask a vendor such as EMC or NetApp they would disagree, while at the same time articulate benefits of different approaches and tools. Likewise, my educated guess is that if you ask some others, they will say mixed things and of course if you talk with the pure plays, take a wild yet educated guess what they will say.

Here is my point.

SSD, DRAM, PCM and storage adoption timeline

The SSD market, including DRAM, nand flash (SLC or MLC or any other xLC), emerging PCM or future mram among other technologies and packaging options is still in its relative infancy. Yes, I know there have been significant industry adoption and many early customer deployments, however talking with IT organizations of all size as well as with vendors and vars, customer deployment of SSD is far from reaching its full potential meaning a bright future.

Simply putting an SSD, card or drive into a solution does not guarantee results.

Likewise having a new architecture does not guarantee things will be faster.

Fast storage systems need fast devices (HDD, HHDD and SSDs) along with fast interfaces to connect with fast servers. Put a fast HDD, HHDD or SSD into a storage system that has bottlenecks (hardware, software, architectural design) and you may not see the full potential of the technology. Likewise put fast ports or interfaces on a storage system that has fast devices however also a bottleneck in its controller has or system architecture and you will not realize the full potential of that solution.

This is not unique to legacy or traditional storage systems, arrays or appliances as it is also the case with new clean sheet designs.

There are many new solutions that are or should be as fast as their touted marketing stories present, however just because something looks impressive in a YouTube video or slide deck or WebEx does not mean it will be fast in your environment. Some of these new design SSD based solutions will displace some legacy storage systems or arrays while many others will find new opportunities. Similar to how previous generation SSD storage appliances found roles complementing traditional storage systems, so to will many of these new generation of products.

What this all means is to navigate your way through the various marketing and architecture debates, benchmarks battles, claims and counter claims to understand what fits your needs and requires.

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

What say you?

Click here to cast your vote and see others perspectives.

Ok, nuff said

Cheers Gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

twitter @storageio

All Comments, (C) and (TM) belong to their owners/posters, Other content (C) Copyright 2006-2012 StorageIO All Rights Reserved

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.