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Storage Comments from the Field and Customers in the Trenches
How much SSD do you want vs. need?

When I was in Europe presenting some sessions at conferences and doing some seminars last month I meet and spoke with one of the attendees at the StorageExpo Holland event. The persons name (Han Breemer) came up to visit with me after one of my presentations that include SSD is in your future: When, where, with what and how, and Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking industry trends and perspectives. Note you can find additional material from various conferences and events on the Downloads page accessible via the resources menu on the StorageIO web site.

As I always do, I invite attendees to feel free and follow-up via email, twitter, Linked In, Google+ or other venue with questions, comments, discussions and what they are seeing or running into in their environments.

Some of the many different items discussed during my StorageExpo presentations included:

Recently Hans followed up and sent me some comments and asked if I would be willing to share them with others such as who ever happens to read this. I also suggested to Hans that he also start a blog (here is link to his new blog), and that I would be happy to post his comments for others to see and join in the conversation which are shown below.

Hans Breemer wrote:

Hi Greg, we met each other recently at the Dutch Storage Expo after one of your sessions. We briefly discussed the current trends in the storage market, and the "risks" or "threats" (read: challenges) it means to "us", the storage guys. Often neglected by the sales guys...

Please allow me a few lines to elaborate a bit more and share some thoughts from the field. :-)

1. Bigger is not better?

Each iteration in the new disk technologies (SATA or SAS) means we get less IOPS for the bucks. Pound for pound that is. Of course the absolute amount of IOPS we can get from a HDD increases all the time. where 175 IOPS was top speed a few years ago, we sometimes see figures close to 220 IOPS per physical drive now. This looks good in the brochure, just as the increased capacity does. However, what the brochure doesn't tell us that if we look at the IOPS/capacity ratio, we're walking backwards. a few years ago we could easily sell over 1000 IOPS/TB. Currently we can't anymore. We're happy to reach 500 IOPS/TB. I know this has always been like that. However with the introduction of SATA in the enterprise storage world, I feel things have gotten even worse.

2. But how about SSD's then?

True and agree. In the world of HDD's growing bigger and bigger, we actually need SSD's, and this technology is the way forward in an IOPS perspective. SSD's have a great future ahead of them (despite being with us already for some time). I do doubt that at the moment SSD's already have the economical ability to fill the gap though. They offer many of thousands of IOPS, and for dedicated high-end solutions they offer what we weren't able to deliver for decades. More IOPS than you need! But what about the "1000 IOPS/TB" market? Let's call it the middle market.

3. SSD's as a lubricant?

You must have heard every vendor about Adaptive Storage Tiering, Auto Tiering etc. All based on the theorem that most of our IO's come from a relative small disk section. Thus we can improve the total performance of our array by only adding a few percent of SSD. Smart technology identifies the hot tracks on our disks, and promotes these to SSD's. We can even demote cold tracks to big SATA drives. Think green, think ecological footprint, etc. For many applications this works well. Regular Windows server, file servers, VMWare ESX server actually seems to like adaptive storage tiering ,and I think I know why, a positive tradeoff of using VMDK's. (I might share a few lines about FAST VP do's and dont's next time if you don't mind)

4. How about the middle market them you might ask? or, SSD's as a band-aid?

For the middle market, the above developments is sort of disaster. Think SAP running on Sun Solaris, think the average Microsoft SQL Server, think Oracle databases. These are the typical applications that need "middle market" IOPS. Many of these applications have a freakish IO pattern. OLTP during daytime, backup in the evening and batch jobs at night. Not to mention end of month runs, DTA (Dev-Test-Acceptance) streets that sleep for two weeks or are constantly upgraded or restored. These applications hardly benefit from "smart technologies". The IO behavior is too random, too unpredictable leading to saturated SATA pools, and EFD's that are hardly doing more IO's than the FC drives they're supposed to relief. Add more SSD's we're told. Use less SATA we're told. but it hardly works. Recently we acquired a few new Vmax arrays without EFD or FASTVP, for the sole purpose of hosting these typical middle market applications. Affordable, predictable performance. But then again, our existing Vmax 20k had full size 600GB 15rpm drives, with the Vmax 40k we're "encouraged" to use small form factor 600GB 10krpm drives. Again a small step backwards?

5. The storage tiering debacle.

Last but not least, some words I'd like to share with you about storage tiering. We're encouraged (again) to sell storage in different tiers. Makes sense. To some extent it does yes. Host you most IO eager application on expensive, SSD based storage. And host your DTA or other less business critical application on FC or SATA quality HDD's. But what if the less business critical application needs to be backed up in the evening, and while doing so completely saturates your SATA pool? Or what if the Dev server creates just as many IO's as the Prod environment does? People don't seem to care it seems. To have people realize how much IO's they actually need and use, we are reporting IO graphs for all servers in our environment. Our tiering model is based on IOPS/TB and IO response time.

Tier X would be expensive, offering 800 IOPS/TB @ avg 10ms
Tier Y would be the cheaper option offering 400 IOPS/TB @ avg 15 ms

The next step will be to implement front end controls an actually limit a host to some ceiling. for instance, 2 times the limit described in the tier description. thus allowing for peak loads and backups.

Do we need to? I think so...

Greg, this small message is slowly turning into a plea. And that is actually what it is, a plea to our storage vendors, and to our evangelists. If they want us to deliver, I feel they should talk to us, and listen to us (and you!).


Hans Breemer

ps, I love my job, this world and my role to translate promises and demands into solutions that work for my customers. I do take care though not to create solution that will not work, despite what the brochure said.

pps, please feel free to share the above if needed.

Here is my response to Hans:

Hello Hans good to hear from you and thanks for the comments.

Great perspectives and in the course of talking with your peers around the world, you are not alone in your thinking.

Often I see disconnects between customers and vendors. Vendors (often driven by their market research) they know what the customer needs and issues are, and many actually do. However I often see a reliance on market research data with many degrees of separation as opposed to direct and candied insight. Likewise some vendors spend more time talking about how they listen to the customer vs. how time they actually do so.

On the other hand, I routinely see customers fall into the trap of communicating wants (nice to haves) instead of articulating needs (what is required). Then there is confusing industry adoption with customer deployment, not to mention concerns over vendor, technology or services lock-in.

Hope all else is well.

Cheers gs

Check out Hans new blog and feel free to leave your comments and perspectives here or via other venues.

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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@CloudExpo Blogs
Ten short years ago, Apache Hadoop was just a small project deployed on a few machines at Yahoo and within a few years, it had truly become the backbone of Yahoo’s data infrastructure. Additionally, the current Apache Hadoop market is forecasted to surpass $16 billion by 2020. This might lead you to believe that Apache Hadoop is currently the backbone of data infrastructures for all enterprises; however, widespread enterprise adoption has been shockingly low.
I was recently on a business trip out to Wausau, WI. The purpose was to conduct a training session on web application development for a new batch of associates at our onshore development center. When I picked up my rental car at the airport, I was very happy to discover it had built in Bluetooth integration for my phone. I have this feature on both cars at home. I love the convenience of having the car become an accessory for my mobile device. I immediately bound my phone with the car’s Bluetooth. Then something unusual happened. My phone prompted me with a question: ‘Chevy/Malibu would like a...
As we enter the final week before the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in Santa Clara, CA, it's time for me to reflect on six big topics that will be important during the show. Hybrid Cloud This general-purpose term seems to provide a comfort zone for many enterprise IT managers. It sounds reassuring to be able to work with one of the major public-cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft Azure while still maintaining an on-site presence.
This is a no-hype, pragmatic post about why I think you should consider architecting your next project the way SOA and/or microservices suggest. No matter if it’s a greenfield approach or if you’re in dire need of refactoring. Please note: considering still keeps open the option of not taking that approach. After reading this, you will have a better idea about whether building multiple small components instead of a single, large component makes sense for your project. This post assumes that you have experience with software architecture and services (you’ll find some words about my experience...
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availability, efficient and greener solutions can offer much reduced operational expenses (OPEX) to the cloud...
IT planning is an imprecise science that allows IT experts to increase the flexibility and agility of IT environments while reducing the bottom line. In an ideal world, where time and budget are not limiting factors, upgrading an organization's infrastructure happens on an ongoing, as-needed basis. In the real world, IT administrators have to make decisions about the hardware they put in place and how to maintain acceptable service levels over the course of the equipment's expected life. Most businesses do not have the luxury of replacing their current storage systems when IT demands outpace ...
This is a short blog with a harsh message for Big Data vendors. Camera fades in to Pastor Schmarzo heading to the pulpit… What does the future hold for today’s big data vendors? Hundreds of startups are rushing into the big data market to stake their claim to a market that IDC predicts will reach $187 billion by 2019. Dang, that’s a big market, especially considering that the Global Business Intelligence market will only reach a trifling $20.8 billion by 2018 or the long-running ERP applications market is expected to reach a trivial $84.1 billion by 2020. Yes, the big data market opportu...
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Sometimes doing the same thing over and over while expecting the same results can be insane too. Find out how to change your expectations of IT infrastructure. Have you ever wondered if you are stuck in an IT infrastructure loop, continuously deploying the same types of components and integrating them into an overall infrastructure architecture? Servers for CPU and RAM, storage appliances, hypervisor software, and disaster recovery software/appliances are just some of the different components that you've...
You’ve probably heard a multitude of things around hyperconvergence or hyperconverged infrastructure as these are becoming hot new industry buzzwords, but what do these terms really mean? Are vendors that say they have hyperconverged infrastructure really living up to the promises of true hyperconvergence or is it just marketing hype?
In many organizations governance is still practiced by phase or stage gate peer review, and Agile projects are forced to accommodate, which leads to WaterScrumFall or worse. But governance criteria and policies are often very weak anyway, out of date or non-existent. Consequently governance is frequently a matter of opinion and experience, highly dependent upon the experience of individual reviewers. As we all know, a basic principle of Agile methods is delegation of responsibility, and ideally we need to delegate governance to the Agile practitioners and teams. So the question is how to imple...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to change everything by enabling “smart” environments (homes, cities, hospitals, schools, stores, etc.) and smart products (cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, wind turbines, lawnmowers, etc.). I recently wrote about the importance of moving beyond “connected” to “smart” in a blog titled “Internet of Things: Connected Does Not Equal Smart”. The article discusses the importance of moving beyond just collecting the data, to transitioning to leveraging this new wealth of IoT data to improve the decisions that these smart environments and products need to make: t...
If you are within a stones throw of the DevOps marketplace you have undoubtably noticed the growing trend in Microservices. Whether you have been staying up to date with the latest articles and blogs or you just read the definition for the first time, these 5 Microservices Resources You Need In Your Life will guide you through the ins and outs of Microservices in today’s world.
A BriefingsDirect thought leadership panel discussion explores how public-sector organizations can gain economic benefits from cloud interoperability and standardization. Our panel comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group Paris Event and Member Meeting October 24 through 27, 2016 in France, with a focus on the latest developments in eGovernment. As government agencies move to the public cloud computing model, the use of more than one public cloud provider can offer economic benefits by a competition and choice. But are the public clouds standardized efficiently for true interoperabi...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
For those unfamiliar, as a developer working in marketing for an infrastructure automation company, I have tried to clarify the different versions of DevOps by capitalizing the part that benefits in a given DevOps scenario. In this case we’re talking about operations improvements. While devs – particularly those involved in automation or DevOps will find it interesting, it really talks to growing issues Operations are finding. The problem is right in front of us, we’re confronting it every day, and yet, a ton of us aren’t fixing it for our organizations, we’re merely kicking the ball down the...
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Past SYS-CON Events
    Cloud Expo West

    Cloud Expo East

    Cloud Expo West

    Virtualization Expo West
    Cloud Expo Europe

    Cloud Expo East

    Virtualization Expo East
    Cloud Expo West

    Virtualization Expo West
    GovIT Expo
    Cloud Expo Europe

Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty












Dell Boomi


Layer 7 Tech



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

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

"Good crowd, good questions. The event looked very successful."
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Citrix Systems

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