* Posts by cd_mccall

8 posts • joined 25 Nov 2011

Take time to get to know the flash you think you love

cd_mccall

As a disruptive technology matures and gets commoditized, how it's managed and how efficient end users can utilize it become critical. Great article on how the flash market is shifting from "making it work in the enterprise data center" to "managing it more effectively" with software.

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NexGen polishes guns, prepares to face hybrid array legions

cd_mccall

Re: "A ground-up-designed operating system underlies this."

Disclosure: I work for NexGen Storage.

There are both pros and cons of using something like ZFS. Pros include things like speed to market, comprehensive feature set, and decades of development and refinement. Cons include things like decades of development and refinement, detailed expertise and knowledge of data path, challenges around differentiation.

NexGen decided not to use an existing file system because the software design paradigm of the last few decades has revolved around disk drives and managing capacity. NexGen believes there is a big gap in the storage market around providing customers with the ability to squeeze every ounce of performance out of flash (and other emerging medias) and the ability to manage performance just as effectively as managing capacity to deliver predictable application performance in a shared environment. The easiest way to solve these problems are to start from scratch and design a new architecture and data path to avoid being burdened with legacy software designed for disk. It's taken us a lot more work from an engineering perspective and has taken us longer to get to market but we believe our approach will pay dividends in the long term. Thanks for your interest and question.

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cd_mccall

Re: "A ground-up-designed operating system underlies this."

Disclosure: I work for NexGen Storage.

A correction to the ZFS comment. NexGen ioControl is not based on ZFS. The person that commented is misinformed. ioControl (the management software) was designed from the ground up. All data path, HA, caching, tiering, data reduction, thin provisioning, snapshot, replication, app integration, etc... have been developed from the ground up to be optimized around a Quality of Service management paradigm.

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Storage crumblies, newbies race to push out flashiest gear

cd_mccall

VP Marketing

Correction. The NexGen guarantee does apply to any hybrid using solid-state in disk drive form factors so Tegile, Tintri among other start-ups are included.

Posting IOPs and capacity to spec sheets is easy, delivering under non-ideal workloads in a real environment is another matter. We look forward to being called out on our claims.

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PCIe flashers bash storage networks

cd_mccall

PCIe flash cards are just expensive disk drives

We're seeing the storage industry go full circle with flash.

The reason SAN/NAS was invented in the first place was that disk drives were the most expensive component in a server. By aggregating disks in a centralized location (outside of the server) capacity utilization and availability improved. A PCIe flash card in a server is just like a disk drive in a server, no other server can share it's capacity/performance resources = poor utilization of a very expensive resource; and for 99% of the implementations out there, if the card goes offline, you're data is offline or worse yet, you lose data.

PCIe flash cards still cost about as much as the entire server and are, again, the most expensive component of the server. It's a natural evolution that flash will migrate out of the server and into shared storage environments for economic efficiency.

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Enterprise flash: The good, the bad and the cloudy

cd_mccall

Flash at a perpetual $/GB premium to disk

As flash continues to improve performance and reliability I can't help but think that the evil marketing people that work for the flash technology vendors will position these superior capabilities as advantages over disk and charge a premium for it. So even if the $/GB cost to mfg flash becomes equivalent to disk drives over the next few years, flash will be positioned as superior technology and maintain a price premium. That begs the question of when will Seagate, Hitatchi, and Western Digital start pulling the trigger on acquisitions in this space as a way to counter share shift and bolster portfolio margins.

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SSDs choked by crummy disk interfaces

cd_mccall
Thumb Up

Solid State and Scale-Out

Great article, I think you're exposing the next big debate in storage. Your point on scale out architectures that depend on Ethernet connectivity will limit solid state performance is right on. I spent several years working for a scale out storage vendor and am very familiar with that shortcoming. That brings up an interesting issue, will any of these new interfaces will allow connections between systems over moderate distances to enable scale out without limiting solid state performance?

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Ethernet reaches for the hyper-scale cloud

cd_mccall

where does external PCIe fit?

Great article and insight into the future of ethernet. I've been hearing a lot about switched pcie being used as a low latency top of rack interconnect, and can see where new ethernet technologies will be used for longer runs and between the racks. Curious about how others are thinking about this and how this will ultimately play out.

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