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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


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Agile teams report the lowest rate of measuring non-functional requirements. What does this mean for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuous Everything? To explore how the rise of SDLC acceleration trends such as Agile, DevOps, and Continuous Delivery are impacting software quality, Parasoft conducted a survey about measuring and monitoring non-functional requirements (NFRs). Here's a glimpse at what we discovered and what it means for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuous Everything...
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In the rush to compete in the digital age, a successful digital transformation is essential, but many organizations are setting themselves up for failure. There’s a common misconception that the process is just about technology, but it’s not. It’s about your business. It shouldn’t be treated as an isolated IT project; it should be driven by business needs with the committed involvement of a range of stakeholders.
Big Data analytics and the Internet of Things are still relative newcomers. Given how quickly technology moves, though, it’s not surprising that their next incarnations are already being talked about: cognitive analytics and a much-grown Internet of Things (IoT). We all know about the Internet of Things: it’s data from a host of Web-connected devices that can be analyzed and studied, just like traditional data analytics. But what is cognitive analytics? Think back to old sci-fi shows. Remember the insanely smart, almost-human robot sidekick? Cognitive analytics isn’t there yet, but it does em...
The current version of Angular is Release Candidate 1. This version changed the way how the framework is distributed – it comes as a set of scoped npm packages now. Any imports of the Angular classes will be done from @angular instead of angular2, for example: import {bootstrap} from '@angular/platform-browser-dynamic'; import {Component} from '@angular/core';
I love EMC World (though I can’t say the same about Las Vega$). I get an opportunity to talk to customers who are at the dirty and grimy frontline of trying to derive value from all of this Big Data hoopla. They teach me tons! One theme that came up several times in our conversations was the following: “I can’t get the Business to engage in an envisioning type of engagement. We have lost their trust. So we are forced to start our Big Data journey from the technology.”
As AT&Ts VP of Domain 2.0 architecture writes one aspect of their Domain 2.0 strategy is a goal to embrace a Microservices Application Architecture. One page 9 they describe how these envisage them fitting into the ECOMP architecture: "The initial steps of the recipes include a homing and placement task using constraints specified in the requests. ‘Homing and Placement' are micro-services involving orchestration, inventory, and controllers responsible for infrastructure, network, and application. The goal is to allow algorithms to use real-time network data and determine the most efficient u...
Today nearly all of us have our information stored on the cloud. It’s a very easy solution that allows users to seamlessly create back-ups of photos, contacts and other personal information, giving users access to their accounts anywhere from any device. Perhaps its most prized feature is that it has no storage limits, unlike mobile devices and PCs. There is, however, a downside to cloud services. Although it is useful in storing data, it could be the reason data is lost. Recently, the celebrity iCloud hack went to trial. The hacker admitted he acquired the credentials by spear phishing his v...
Creating a unified toolchain is increasingly important for today’s modern software delivery approaches. Providing context, visibility and compliance around the growing number of tools and processes being used today is core to our mission of connecting the world of software delivery. Today, we are pleased to announce a new version of TeamForge that extends your ability to integrate activity data from the cloud hosted version of JIRA Software and, for DevOps, Chef, into a centralized platform. In addition, we’ve strengthened our capabilities for enterprise Git by supporting both commit- and pull...
While there has been much ado about interoperability, there are still no real solutions, same as last year and the year before that. The large EHR vendors who continue to dominate the market still maintain that interoperability is all but solved, still can't connect EHRs across the continuum causing frustration by providers and a disservice to patients. The ONC pays lip service to the problem, but that is about it. It is time for the healthcare industry to consider alternatives like middleware which has been proven in other industries such as finance, retail and hospitality.
Our CTO, Anders Wallgren, recently sat down to take part in the “B2B Nation: IT” podcast — the series dedicated to serving the IT professional community with expert opinions and advice on the world of information technology. Listen to the great conversation, where Anders shares his thoughts on DevOps lessons from large enterprises, the growth of microservices and containers, and more.
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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