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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...

About 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.

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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV


Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
In this Cloud Expo Keynote, Danny Sabbah, CTO & General Manager, Next Generation Platform, will detail the critical architectural considerations and success factors organizations must internalize to successfully implement, optimize and innovate using next generation architectures.
Lisa Larson, Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Solutions of Rackspace Hosting Live From New York City
In the old world of IT, if you didn't have hardware capacity or the budget to buy more, your project was dead in the water. Budget constraints can leave some of the best, most creative and most ingenious innovations on the cutting room floor. It's a true dilemma for developers and innovators – why spend the time creating, when a project could be abandoned in a blink? That was the old world. In the new world of IT, developers rule. They have access to resources they can spin up instantly. A hybrid cloud ignites innovation and empowers developers to focus on what they need. A hybrid cloud blends the best of all worlds, public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers to fit the needs of developers and offer the ideal environment for each app and workload without the constraints of a one-size-fits-all cloud.

Keynote: Driving Cloud Innovation: SSDs Change Cloud Storage Paradigm
Cloud is a transformational shift in computing that can have a powerful effect on enterprise IT when designed correctly and used to its full potential. Join Citrix in a discussion that centers on building, connecting and empowering users with cloud services and hear examples of how enterprises are solving real-world business challenges with an architecture and solution purpose-built for the cloud.

Go Beyond IaaS to Deliver "Anything As a Service"
Many organizations want to expand upon the IaaS foundation to deliver cloud services in all forms—software, mobility, infrastructure and IT. Understanding the strategy, planning process and tools for this transformation will help catalyze changes in the way the business operates and deliver real value. Join us to learn about the new ITaaS model and how to begin the transformation.


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When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it's important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. "Fly two mistakes high" is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed how this same philosophy can be applied to highly scaled applications, and can dramatically increase your resilience to failure.
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by sharing information within the building and with outside city infrastructure via real time shared cloud capabilities.
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
Top Stories for Cloud Expo 2012 East

In this Big Data Power Panel at the 10th International Cloud Expo, moderated by Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan, Govind Rangasamy, Director of Product Management at Eucalyptus Systems; Kevin Brown; CEO of Coraid, Inc.; Christos Tryfonas, CTO and Co-Founder of Cetas; and Max Riggsbee, CMO and VP of Products for WhipTail, discussed such topics as: Big Data has existed since the early days of computing; why, then, do you think there is such an industry buzz around it right now? How is Big Data impacting storage and networking architecture in data centers? How about the intersection of Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing - how big a sector is that and why? What's the difference between Big Data and Fast Data? ... (more)

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Cloud computing is transforming the way businesses think about and leverage technology. As a result, the general understanding of cloud computing has come a long way in a short time. However, there are still many misconceptions about what cloud computing is and what it can do for businesses that adopt this game-changing computing model. In this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan, Rex Wang, Vice President of Product Marketing at Oracle, discusses and dispels some of the common myths about cloud computing that still exist today.
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Ulitzer.com announced "the World's 30 most influential Cloud bloggers," who collectively generated more than 24 million Ulitzer page views. Ulitzer's annual "most influential Cloud bloggers" list was announced at Cloud Expo, which drew more delegates than all other Cloud-related events put together worldwide. "The world's 50 most influential Cloud bloggers 2010" list will be announced at the Cloud Expo 2010 East, which will take place April 19-21, 2010, at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center, in New York City, with more than 5,000 expected to attend.
It's a simple fact that the better sales reps understand their prospects' intentions, preferences and pain points during calls, the more business they'll close. Each day, as your prospects interact with websites and social media platforms, their behavioral data profile is expanding. It's now possible to gain unprecedented insight into prospects' content preferences, product needs and budget. We hear a lot about how valuable Big Data is to sales and marketing teams. But data itself is only valuable when it's part of a bigger story, made visible in the right context.
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Larry Carvalho has been named Tech Chair of Cloud Expo® 2014. 14th International Cloud Expo will take place on June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and 15th International Cloud Expo® will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Everyone talks about a cloud-first or mobile-first strategy. It's the trend du jour, and for good reason as these innovative technologies have revolutionized an industry and made savvy companies a lot of money. But consider for a minute what's emerging with the Age of Context and the Internet of Things. Devices, interfaces, everyday objects are becoming endowed with computing smarts. This is creating an unprecedented focus on the Application Programming Interface (API) as developers seek to connect these devices and interfaces to create new supporting services and hybrids. I call this trend the move toward an API-first business model and strategy.
We live in a world that requires us to compete on our differential use of time and information, yet only a fraction of information workers today have access to the analytical capabilities they need to make better decisions. Now, with the advent of a new generation of embedded business intelligence (BI) platforms, cloud developers are disrupting the world of analytics. They are using these new BI platforms to inject more intelligence into the applications business people use every day. As a result, data-driven decision-making is finally on track to become the rule, not the exception.
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AHMAR ABBAS
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With our launch at Cloud Expo, we successfully transformed the company from a relatively unknown European player into the dominant player in the market. Our competitors were taken by surprise and just blown away. We got a huge number of really high quality leads..."
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We were extremely pleased with Cloud Expo this year - I’d say it exceeded expectations all around. This is the same info we got from partners who attended as well. Nice job!"
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Digital Transformation Blogs
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regulatory scrutiny and increasing consumer lack of trust in technology in general.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a member of the Society of Information Management (SIM) Atlanta Chapter. She received a Business and Ec...
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Past SYS-CON Events
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2011west.sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcexpo
2011east.sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2010west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualization
2010west.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2010.
sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcomputingexpo
2010east.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo East
virtualizationconference
2010east.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2009west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualizationconference
2009west.sys-con.com
    GovIT Expo
govitexpo.com
 
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2009.sys-con.com
 

Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty

S.F.S.
Dell

Singer
NRO

Pereyra
Oracle

Ryan
OpSource

Butte
PwC

Leone
Oracle

Riley
AWS

Varia
AWS

Lye
Oracle

O'Connor
AppZero

Crandell
RightScale

Nucci
Dell Boomi

Hillier
CiRBA

Morrison
Layer 7 Tech

Robbins
NYT

Schwarz
Oracle

What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
 
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
Navisite
 


 
"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
  –Richard Wellner
Chief Scientist
Univa UD
 


 
"Good crowd, good questions. The event looked very successful."
  –Simon Crosby
CTO
Citrix Systems
 


 
"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
  –David Linthicum
CTO
Brick Group