I’ve got a new video podcast up and running: Raising the Floor is a series of discussions about the future of enterprise IT. I kicked the series off talking about one of my favorite topics: Cloud storage. It was a pretty broad discussion, all packed into less than half an hour, but I wanted to share a few excerpts.
I’ve never been a fan of thin provisioning as a storage management tool. Don’t get me wrong, I love having thin provisioning in my toolkit to overcome the limitations of conventional filesystems. Thin provisioning just gets under my skin when folks try to use it to solve business problems like long deployment time and slow purchasing cycles. If you attended any of the thin provisioning sessions I’ve presented at Storage Decisions, Interop, E-Storm, or elsewhere then you’ve heard my wistful dreaming of real automatic provisioning without the hackery of thin provisioning systems. But perhaps I didn’t mention that actual automatic provisioning actually exists today! It’s one of the many things I love about API-driven cloud storage!
I’m an IT revolutionary. I talk all the time about the quaint backwards “state of the art” in enterprise IT, what with its (many) decades old protocols, paradigms, and practices. What we call modern is really just a charade of faked-out old-fashioned open systems infrastructure: Pretend servers talking to fake disks over frankenstein networking technology.
Now that the hype of “cloud everything” is subsiding, organizations are getting down to work deploying cloud storage to do actual useful tasks. The march from CAS to cloud to object storage has seen high-profile high-end flare-ups (think EMC Centera and Atmos) but the bulk of work is done by more pedestrian (think lower-cost) hardware and software. Through it all, Paul Carpentier has been at the forefront. Now his company, Caringo, is back in the news, delivering much-needed storage service features like multi-tenancy, named objects, dynamic caching, and web services.
Change is not a word normally associated with storage, and revolution is practically unheard of. Today’s modern enterprise storage systems and networks employ massive resources to do one simple thing: Emulate the basic hard disk drives used over three decades ago. But cracks are appearing in our mausoleum of fake disks: Application developers are discovering the value of object storage, and storage systems are appearing to support this need.
CommVault is one of those enterprise IT companies that likes to go their own way. A spin-out of AT&Tâ€™s famed Bell Labs, CommVaultâ€™s Simpana software integrates many aspects of data management, from backup to e-discovery, under one umbrella. Last year, the company impressed me by adding cloud storage as a backup target equal in status to disk and traditional tape. Now the company is doing the same for storage-based snapshots, accelerating data protection for virtual machines.
NetApp have announced the StorageGrid product, but is it a simple rebrand of the ByCast product? I am not sure whether I was expecting anything more or whether I was expecting them to go dark with the Bycast product set for the time being whilst they work out what the hell they are going to do with it and at least come up with an integration strategy for the products.
Before Google could even take to the stage to announce their new “Google Storage for Developers” cloud storage offering in their I/O conference keynote, Amazon hit back with a new low-cost “Reduced Redundancy Storage” option for S3. The titans are at war, and cloud storage is the new battle ground. But what was really announced? And should you care?
Drobo is announcing the DroboFS with Gigabit Ethernet interface and support for direct replication between units and to storage clouds using an external storage partner.
In this video, I present the shortcomings of traditional tiered storage and propose a solution: Although merely using different disk types will never deliver the goods, adding flash and cloud to an integrated, automated solution will be truly revolutionary. I look forward to the day when all of today’s buzz-worthy technologies (flash, cloud, thin provisioning, automated tiering, post-RAID) are mixed together to form a really revolutionary storage system.