Kaminario Goes Software

There has been an understanding held by those inside the storage industry for some time now that enterprise storage is a software business. To those on the outside, though, it has looked like a hardware business. People see the mass of HDDs, SSDs, controllers, enclosures, power supplies, etc, and think "I am buying hardware." But inside the industry, vendors have known for decades that what separates the winners and the losers has long been the software.

Topics: Storage flash flash storage Kaminario All flash cloud software

The future of flash is guaranteed

When do we stop using the term "flash storage"? When does it become just "storage"? And when do we as an industry shift the qualifier to "mechanical spinning disk media"? That future may be a lot sooner than you might think. The industry perception of flash storage is transforming from why to why not as I write. At some of the more recent storage industry events I have attended, when a question is asked about the potential of flash storage, the storage administrators in the audience are just as likely as the presenter to speak up and sing the praises of all-flash storage.

Topics: Storage Netapp EMC flash Nimble Violin Memory Kaminario HPE All flash pure storage All-Flash Array

Flash Forward, London: refreshing purpose and content

The recent — and inaugural — Flash Forward conference in London was significant for being a non-vendor specific, storage-focused event. There's precious few of this species left and we have not had a new one in a while. This one was substantial enough to have attracted a good number and mix of sponsors and speakers (from organizations both large and small), and yet intimate enough that everyone could have real conversations and get their questions answered.

Topics: Storage flash

Introducing direct scale-out flash: extending the potential of NVMe

Thanks to recent price reductions, flash storage is now, in many cases, less expensive on a price-per-raw-capacity-point than performance-oriented (10K and 15K) hard drives. This threshold represents a significant milestone for flash storage. Yet, the storage industry is quickly approaching the limits of the business benefits that flash storage technology can provide alone.

Topics: Storage flash Scale-out NVMe

SanDisk's InfiniFlash Is a Notable Arrival in the Flash Boxing Ring

2015 is shaping up to be just as busy on the solid-state beat as we expected. This week saw notable moves from two very strong players, which share the fact that neither are traditional storage systems vendors, but both wish to move in that direction since that's where account "stickiness" and higher margins lie. The logic and value of the intended acquisition of Amplidata by WD/HGST is covered by my colleague Scott Sinclair in a blog here. Meantime, SanDisk has come to the game with more chips (pun intended) than table-stakes would demand, and announced its InfiniFlash offering.

Topics: flash flash storage Sandisk

SolidFire's Flames Are Very "Cool"

Last week, SolidFire held its second annual Analyst Day. "Cool"ness was in full force, both from a technical progress perspective.....and also from a climate perspective (as the video attached with this blog post demonstrates). I saw many of the analyst-erati that hail from warmer climes watching the flakes fall....though whether one of them will lay claim to the snowman remains to be seen!. Meantime - and indoors - SolidFire's execs were very credibly fanning the flames of their product and marketing expertise. To give an idea of the event and content here's my video from Boulder featuring CEO Dave Wright with a summary of the main company updates as well as commentary from my ESG Lab colleague Aviv Kaufman and me.

Topics: flash flash storage SolidFire next generation data center

IBM Making Solid Progress in Flash (includes video)

While IBM has always been known for some great technologies across the IT board, it's not every day that one chats to IBM storage executives about its market leadership. But right now, good old Big Blue is doing remarkably well in the all-flash battleground. To try to figure out a little bit of the how and why, I spoke to both Michael Kuhn and Kevin Powell while at the recent Flash Memory Summit. I asked Mike to talk about how he sees the general market situation - in addition to IBM's recent success - while Kevin talked more about the elements behind that sales improvements...both from an overall storage portfolio perspective as well as some details about the latest update to the IBM V840 (which was announced at the Summit). The results are in this 5 minute video:

Topics: IBM Storage IT Infrastructure Mark Peters flash flash storage

Flash Storage Summit - and the beat goes on (includes video)

Last week saw the annual Flash Memory Summit taking place in Santa Clara. As one glanced out from the convention center it was possible to hear the screams of delight from the Great America theme park next door and the hush of anticipation from the new Levi's Stadium - also a new neighbor - where the 49ers NFL team will now play. "Delight" and "anticipation" have long also been the watchwords around flash in the commercial storage world....what is clear this year is that the general market balance is definitely shifting to delight rather than anticipation.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Mark Peters flash flash storage

Well Hello There End-to-end Flash

So what do we know about flash? It used to be really expensive. It had limited implementation options in IT environments. Oh, let’s not forget the screaming performance you can expect when it’s implemented correctly. I’m hearing about more and more IT shops that are turning to flash to meet their business needs, but it’s not getting implemented the right way or the best way in my opinion. Sure, you can buy 12 flash drives and throw them in your underlying storage subsystem and it will help, but what if your mission-critical datasets don’t fit? What if they currently fit, but won’t for long because data is exploding exponentially? I’ll take 12 more flash drives please. With that approach you’re going to kill your budget, add complexity to managing your storage, and most likely create a bottleneck somewhere else in your infrastructure that will wreak havoc on the performance of every single application that uses that storage system.

Insert Fusion-io ioControl n5 SPX, a hybrid, end-to-end flash storage solution that uses PCIe flash at a storage system and server level. This lets you put flash where it matters most to you. Do you have a mission-critical OLTP database application that is consuming too many IOPS on your storage system so other applications are being hurt? Throw some PCIe flash in the server where the database is running and poof! Problem gone! Obviously a little more thought goes into it, but you get the picture. By strategically placing PCIe flash where it matters, you can continue to meet strict performance requirements, while alleviating a good amount of pressure being put on the underlying storage system.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Fusion-io flash hybrid storage

The Marriage of Violin and Microsoft

Violin has their all-flash storage array. Microsoft has their latest OS, Windows Server 2012 R2, loaded with storage features like Storage Spaces, SMB, and SMB Direct. It’s quite natural for the two to come together, right? RIGHT! In a recent announcement, the two companies have teamed up to jointly develop a new solution called the Windows Flash Array, which combines the best of both worlds: Violin storage hardware and Microsoft storage software.

So the big question is what can organizations expect from the WFA? ESG Lab knows first-hand what can be expected. We’ve actually independently tested the technologies from both companies. My colleagues Tony Palmer and Kerry Dolan completed a Violin ESG Lab Validation on an all-flash storage array with a focus on high levels of performance, efficiency, and flexible scalability in virtualized, mixed workload environments. And I’ve completed a bunch of Microsoft-focused ESG Lab Validations that highlight most of their new storage features with focuses on everything from basic features and functions to the performance of virtualized application workloads that utilize SMB 3.0 and SMB Direct (RDMA) to potential cost savings when leveraging Microsoft storage features.

Topics: Storage Microsoft IT Infrastructure flash