Storage Goes Scaled Out, Solid State, And Cloud-Enabled
For years, the rage in storage architectures have been consolidation–bigger, more complex, and costlier systems. However the maturation of flash memory right into a cost-competitive storage technology in conjunction with creative approaches which have turned banks of inexpensive, commodity disk drives into parallelized, consolidated pools of centrally managed storage are reshaping the landscape.
Designing enterprise storage architectures isn’t any longer an issue of selecting the most important, baddest storage system and bulking up as had to create complex, monolithic, and hence expensive disk arrays that meet every requirement. Today storage architects are designing more specialized systems that allow you to strike the correct balance between price and function according to a company’s needs.
Storage innovation is not only happening within the usual, predictable areas. Sure, engineers continue to locate easy methods to pack more bits on a square inch of magnetic film. However the real innovation is coming from the long-predicted migration from magnetic to solid-state electronic storage, accompanied by scale-out architectures. These new architectures have self-contained arrays, with their very own I/O controllers and network interfaces which might be aggregated, adding I/O processing power and network bandwidth as you add capacity. They’re often paired with distributed file systems and cloud storage services.
In the most recent sign of storage innovation, Dell just last week announced a $60 million fund to speculate in five to ten early-stage storage startups. The fund is a part of the company’s Dell Ventures venture capital arm.
The surge in storage innovation is driven by demand as companies struggle to store and manage increasing quantities of information. One demand driver for more space for storing and higher performance is the necessity to manage and protect big data comparable to Web clickstreams and customer interactions. But those aren’t the one drivers. Storage needs continue to extend around the board, driven by expanding email and collaboration systems in addition to the increased use of wealthy content, particularly video.
Don’t let our use of “innovative” mislead you: This is not bleeding-edge stuff so that you can take a wait-and-see attitude toward. IT shops should develop a technique for replacing high-performance harddisk drives with solid- state storage, and for adding scale-out products to their storage technology arsenal, particularly for applications with rapidly growing or extreme capacity requirements.
Storage Vendors Answer The Call
To meet this demand, storage vendors are improving both storage performance and capacity–the normal yin and yang of the technology. They’re finding new, and never always mutually exclusive, easy methods to improve I/O throughput and supply cost-efficient capacity. Companies across industries have to store more data, so they’re hungry for cheaper and more efficient how to add capacity.
Speed is a strong driver besides, as companies attempt to move data inside and out of applications as fast as possible, like when analyzing real-time customer interactions. Speed hasn’t ever been the strong suit of spinning mechanical disks. But Moore’s Law has finally driven the pricetag and capacity of solid-state storage to the purpose where it is not just viable, but often is a preferable alternative to disk for performance-sensitive applications.
Kurt Marko is an IT pro with broad experience, from chip design to IT systems.