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.
I invited two excellent guests to join me for this conversation:
It was a pretty broad discussion, all packed into less than half an hour. I urge you to check out the podcast (and subscribe in iTunes, rss, or email) but I wanted to share a few excerpts. You can also read the entire transcript over at Foskett Services: I’ll be posting it as a series of articles over the next week!
Andres Rodriguez: I think one of the things that hurt StorageNetworks at the time was the fact that they couldn’t deploy the equipment in an efficient, multi-tenant way. And so, if you look at the new cloud architectures, (places like Nirvanix, places like Amazon) those systems are designed from the get-go to be shared among many, many users, and make very efficient use of the equipment and the software running it across that user base.
Josh Goldstein: Today, the cloud is built on top of process that are very difficult for most companies to replicate on their on. So, the price you’re paying to your cloud provider includes not just storing your data but also keeping multiple replicas of that data spread across different geographical sites.
You’re highly protected against not only a disk drive failure, but also an entire array failure or even an entire site failure where your information’s still is survived those kinds of events and is remaining accessible to your when you need it.
That’s something that for most organizations to engineer that level of reliability is extremely expensive and difficult for them. The cloud providers have been able to do that at scale and still deliver the capacity to you with that type of protection at a price point that’s really pretty amazing.
Andres Rodriguez: I’ll start there and I said anything that traditional storage world, we have file based systems. We have block based systems and that is exactly where Cirtas and Nasuni stand. We are the equivalent of say a company named EMC and NetApp for the cloud world. The approaches are complimentary. And they are both trying to solve the same problem. I’ll start on the file side but Josh can take on the block. But on the file level is really, look, if you want to have something that behaves very much like a file server, say like a NetApp box. It means you are going to have a file system, you want to have a protocol to export it locally on so something like CIFS, you are now going to have access to directory integration so that you can have access control. This is what makes a file server useful in the datacenter.
Andres Rodriguez: One of the really interesting things about that is that Josh is essentially describing thin provisioning in the classic sense. But unlike doing thin provisioning and this is the cloud is automatically provisioned. So he is essentially promising the volume. But then the volume is growing gradually, smoothly without any administrative interference. Without you having to worry about it; the volume is filling in its data as it goes. And that is one of the things we talked about in the beginning.
The cloud really allows you to build a different type of storage system, because automatic provisioning is really thin provisioning should be but isn’t. When you’re talking about physical linked arrays that are limited by actual hard drives, you know, running, spindles running in your datacenter.
Disclaimer: I worked at StorageNetworks, and Nasuni is a client of Foskett Services.
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