Permabits and Petabytes

November 25, 2008

Head in the Clouds

Filed under: Jered Floyd — jeredfloyd @ 11:19 pm

Some days, I just feel like I’m out of the CTO loop. I see announcements for new “Web 2.0 Cloud Optimized Storage” and my brain gets all foggy trying to see through the new goofy buzzwords and trying to figure out what it’s even for in the first place. Now, if you’ve met me then you know I’m a pretty cynical guy… although I personally prefer the term “pragmatic”. Perhaps I need to go back for some remedial classes in being a public commentator?

I’m talking about EMC’s Atmos, of course, née Maui. Last week EMC broke with a tradition of not announcing new products in economic downturns, and launched a peculiar new storage product that’s neither fish nor fowl. Oh, it’s got the requisite NFS and CIFS interfaces, but those are surely the unloved stepchildren like the Centera Universal Access Gateway was; a way to make you feel more comfortable with the new device but not a full-fledged, first class interface. Instead it’s half content distribution network, half object storage, and all rather weird. (more…)

November 21, 2008

Buying Archive Storage Makes Sense Right Now

Filed under: Jered Floyd — jeredfloyd @ 6:06 pm

Every day the economic news seems to get worse, from Wall Street last month to Detroit now. Enterprises are shrinking their staffs, cutting budgets, and forcing unpaid vacations. December is starting to look like one big month off for business, but data keeps pouring in. What to do?

Last month Tony Pearson at IBM pointed out a silver lining for the financial crisis, the opportunity to stop and evaluate your storage purchase plans. I don’t agree with all of his points, but he’s spot on when he says that now is a great time to compare different vendor equipment.

Like every other area of IT, there’s always risk associated with trying something new instead of continuing on with the status quo. There’s always the chance that a bad decision or a poor project plan can lead to a disaster. The saying used to be, “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM,” and today it’s frequently “nobody ever got fired for buying EMC.” Why not just throw another rack on the Symmetrix? (more…)

November 20, 2008

The Greening of Storage

Filed under: Jered Floyd — jeredfloyd @ 5:29 pm

Energy efficiency is big news these days, and everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. We have a Green Storage Initiative within the SNIA, there’s The Green Grid consortium, and one of these days we may even have useful metrics on which we can compare different products. What’s it all worth?

A few months ago “green storage” was pitched as a way to feel good about yourself, in a CSR sort of way. Today, however, reducing operational costs is more important than ever, and something to consider before making additional storage hardware purchases.

On top of this, most of the large businesses I’ve spoken with in the past year have serious data center capacity problems. Not floor space — there’s more than enough of that to go around. The problem is power. They can’t add a rack of equipment unless they can get rid of at least a rack at the same time, because as compute nodes have become denser and more power hungry they’ve simply run out of spare amps on their available circuits. (more…)

George Crump on Archives

Filed under: Jered Floyd — jeredfloyd @ 12:50 pm

George Crump has a nice new article up on the differences between the backup and archive use cases, appropriately titled Backup vs. Archive. He succinctly makes the point that backup infrastructures are not appropriate for new archive storage initiatives because the characteristics of backups and archives are very different.

A few months ago, in Two Types of Archives, I commented on a similar article, Archive Layer Cake by Chris Mellor over at Blocks & Files (now part of The Register). George expands on this further, identifying a half-dozen ways in which the new storage use cases are significantly different. An archive system isn’t going to replace your backup infrastructure, but will augment it with storage that provides higher reliability, better data verification, easier access, and easier data management, among other benefits. Go take a look at the article for more.

Budgets are shrinking, but data archive requirements are not. An archive storage solution can relieve pressure on both primary storage and backup environments, leading to immediate, and significant, cost savings.

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