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Howard Marks
Howard Marks
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Talking Flash and VDI At Interop

At Interop New York I'll dive into the different roles flash can play in your storage architecture, and also delve into how to solve VDI-related storage problems.

There's no doubt that flash is the biggest disruption to the storage market since Fibre Channel SANs invaded our data centers in the 1990s. While the conventional wisdom for how to deploy Fibre Channel developed rather quickly, vendors use flash in a variety of ways, all claiming to be faster and cheaper than the alternatives.

Once you decide you like the performance, lower power consumption and other advantages flash can provide, the questions begin: Do you buy an all flash array? Upgrade to a hybrid? Put flash in the server? In a drive bay or a PCIe slot? Which SSDs? SLC? MLC? What about wear out?

At Interop New York I'll walk you through each of those choices during "SSDs In the Data Center," a one-hour session on Wednesday afternoon. We'll talk about everything from how SSDs actually work (it's weirder than you think) to the latest caching software. We'll discuss when to use flash in the server and in the storage system, when you need an all-solid-state array, and when a hybrid will be more cost effective and still plenty fast.

[Which vendors will win in a software-defined storage world? Howard Marks says disk drive manufacturers. Get his reasons in "Why Software-Defined Storage Is Good For Seagate."]

By the end of the session, you'll know all the questions your friendly storage salesperson doesn't want you to ask.

Thursday afternoon I'll be talking about "Storage Solutions for VDI," which should be more accurately titled "Solving VDI Problems with Storage" because we don't just discuss choosing a storage solution for VDI but also how storage features such as metadata-based snapshots and deduplication can change VDI management.

VDI is the latest in a series of technologies that promise to deliver a PC experience from centralized, controlled servers. As VDI hosts aggregate tens to hundreds of virtual desktops, the demands they make on storage are heavy and, to some extent, unique. To support 100 users on a server we have to deliver the equivalent of the aggregate performance of 100 SATA disks--about 10,000 IOPS--but do it for a write-intensive workload.

We'll talk about using flash, and RAM in the server to soak up IOPS, how liked clones work with standard storage and with storage that uses metadata-based snapshots. Then we'll talk about deduplication in a VDI environment and how it makes persistent full clones a good idea.

For me, Interop is a good excuse to get back to New York--and at just the right time of year. By early October, the summer's oppressive heat and humidity has broken, and from the top of the Javitz Center you can see the leaves turning on the Palisades in New Jersey. You can also see my old apartment.

I hope you'll come by one or both sessions to say hello and ask questions. You could win a collectable DeepStorage LLC business card.

Howard Marks is founder and chief scientist at Deepstorage LLC, a storage consultancy and independent test lab based in Santa Fe, N.M. and concentrating on storage and data center networking. In more than 25 years of consulting, Marks has designed and implemented storage ... View Full Bio
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