October 04, 2010 10:50 AM
One of the questions in backup circles lately asks if the entire backup process can be eliminated now that most storage systems have some combination of snapshots, deduplication, compression and replication? The idea sounds good. Let primary storage take care of itself and eliminate one of the more troublesome processes in the data center, but there are some holes in the strategy. The question is, can primary storage accomplish everything we expect from a backup target?
October 01, 2010 09:04 AM
There seems to be much discussion around backups lately. One of the big issues is if legacy backup platforms stand a chance against new dedicated server virtualization solutions, but what I'd like to discuss in this blog is if the entire backup process itself can be eliminated by the intelligent use of snapshots, replication, compression and data deduplication.
September 23, 2010 08:00 AM
Last month, I discussed how solid state storage's biggest area for growth may have nothing to do with enterprise storage, it may be the emerging tablet/slate market, based largely on the success of the Apple iPad. In that entry, I promised to cover what I think is going to be an even bigger winner if tablet adoption continues: desktop virtualization.
September 20, 2010 13:24 PM
In his recent blog, Mike Workman, CEO of Pillar Data Systems, offers an example of what is commonly called the "end-around." This is when a larger vendor will leverage a relationship at the VP or CxO level to stop a lower level person from selecting a more innovative product from a new and smaller vendor. Instead of getting stung by this tactic, there are steps that you can take as the IT Manager, project manager or even the evaluator to keep it from happening.
September 14, 2010 11:23 AM
The recent frenzy caused by the HP-Dell-3Par bidding war was really all about innovation. The company being sought after, 3Par, was being bought at a premium because of their innovative storage products. One of the challenges that faces large IT manufacturers is can they keep innovating as they become larger or are they destined to buy smaller companies that are innovative? A question that was posed to me last month was, which large company is the most innovative?
September 13, 2010 08:00 AM
One of the first entrants into primary storage deduplication market was NetApp, with their Advanced Single Instance Storage (A-SIS, commonly known as NetApp deduplication). To my knowledge, NetApp was first to provide deduplication of active storage as opposed to data that had been previously stored. NetApp deduplication has certainly gained traction within the NetApp customer base, recently claiming that more than 87,000 deduped storage systems have been deployed with about 12,000 customers benefiting from its storage efficiency technology.
September 10, 2010 09:07 AM
Being the market leader has its advantages. You set the agenda, for instance, but every so often the agenda is driven by outside forces. In technology, this happens when a new standard is going to become widely adopted, and at that point there is a chance for one of the third or forth-place companies to become the new leader. We saw this when storage area networking came to prominence, and we may be seeing it again as we potentially reach the end of spanning tree protocol (STP).
September 07, 2010 08:00 AM
In the past two years, we have been privy to two exciting bidding wars that ended in two-billion dollar payouts for both 3Par and Data Domain. Despite the fact that they were in two different ends of the storage market, there is a lot to be learned from both of these companies. The key factor is that both companies focused on the task at hand. They essentially did one thing really well. In the case of 3Par, it was simplifying block storage in the enterprise, and in the case of Data Domain, it was simplifying backup storage. Each company's focus made users' jobs easier, and users voted with their dollars.
September 01, 2010 10:36 AM
One of the key themes at VMworld this week is dealing with the I/O challenges that a physical host loaded up with a dozen or more virtual machines places on the storage and the storage infrastructure. This is caused by consolidating hundreds of I/O friendly stand alone systems into a few dozen hosts. While virtualization reduces the number of physical servers, it now makes every server an I/O nightmare.
August 31, 2010 10:26 AM
VMworld kicked off yesterday, and despite the crowd, everything seems to be under control. The media/analyst area is no exception. It is under strict control (i.e. too much), making it very difficult for industry people like myself to get information to you about what is going on at the event. VMworld organizers will let the analysts and press in the area, but not the vendors we need to speak to. Anyone see a problem with that?
August 31, 2010 08:28 AM
I concluded in a recent blog entry "Do We Need Primary Storage Deduplication?" about how primary storage deduplication can bring significant value to the data center, and it is becoming a must for suppliers to provide. In our own testing on two different deduplication platforms, we are seeing an almost 70 percent reduction of capacity requirements on real world data sets.
August 26, 2010 13:00 PM
As last year's duel between NetApp and EMC showed, there is nothing more fun than a bidding war, especially if you are the company being sought after. It also makes it so much easier to come up with blog content. As expected, Dell has countered HP's bid for 3PAR and made it clear to everyone that the quest for enterprise class storage virtualization is on, or to at least make HP spend more money.
August 24, 2010 10:01 AM
Why is 3PAR so important and why are they getting billion dollar offers? Fellow Network Computing contributor Howard Marks outlines the specifics in his most recent entry. In short, 3PAR has been an innovator in the space. My concern with Dell-3PAR or HP-3PAR is wondering whether innovation will continue? Also, s HP prepared to make the hard choice to end its EVA storage solution?
August 23, 2010 10:18 AM
In my last entry, I discussed how solid state storage could make its way into the enterprise. What is sometimes forgotten in that discussion is that the other markets solid state storage participates in potentially dwarf the enterprise market. One of the subjects made clear at the Flash Memory Summit was how big the market for smartphones and slates or tablets like the Apple iPad is going to become. Solid "slate" storage may end up dwarfing every other market that solid state storage participates in.
August 19, 2010 09:00 AM
Sitting at the very well attended Flash Memory Summit, by far the number one question being asked is "When will solid state storage dominate the market?" Is it really that complicated? SSD domination or at least acceptance, like all things in storage comes down to performance, reliability and price. While performance should be a clear winner for solid state storage there are issues to be addressed. The first is dealing with write performance.
August 12, 2010 14:00 PM
In my entry "I/O Virtualization: When, Not If," I discussed some of the merits of I/O Virtualization (IOV) and the value in offloading I/O responsibilities from the hypervisor with SR-IOV (single route IOV). While SR-IOV and IOV may seem like great strategies, there are some inhibitors that need to be overcome. The first is OS or hypervisor support, and the second is dealing with the disruptions to the network and storage infrastructure when first implemented.
August 10, 2010 11:23 AM
As manufacturers get larger, they sometimes begin to look at other adjacent markets that they can get into to leverage their current market position. One example might be a SAN array manufacturer deciding to sell a disk-to-disk backup solution or developing a new feature for their existing solution, such as adding deduplication. How they decide to accomplish this task and how committed they are may directly impact the customer.
August 05, 2010 15:15 PM
I/O Virtualization (IOV) is an I/O card-sharing technology that lets multiple servers share multiple cards across a single, high-speed cable segment. The general purpose of IOV is to make it easier to share bandwidth among servers in a rack. The cards to be shared are placed in a gateway, and the servers connect to that gateway. Cards are typically shareable on a per-port basis. For example, a quad-port Ethernet card could be assigned to four different servers. The ports or cards can be quickly assigned and re-assigned to the connecting servers, providing some hot-swap like functionality to PCIe. IOV is still in its infancy, but it is destined to become a standard component of a data center architecture.
August 04, 2010 11:02 AM
There has been a lot written about deduplication. It has become commonplace in backup and is quickly becoming a requirement in primary storage. Once every system has in some form and deduplication is broadly available, what do we do next to optimize storage? After all, storage growth isn't going to stop and while deduplication and compression will slow some of that growth we know that files will continue to get larger and the number of files that are created will increase.
July 29, 2010 10:00 AM
When at a storage event or even responding to comments, every so often a specific question comes up about which protocol, drive type, backup application should a user implement for their specific environment. The answer that should come back most often is "it depends" because that's the truth.The reality is that for most situations, you can get almost anything to work. Its a matter of how hard you have to work at it.
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