I'll just leave this white paper here - 5 Things Storage Vendors Are Not Telling You: https://storpool.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/5-Things-Storage-Vendors-Are-Not-Telling-You.pdf
10 posts • joined 19 Feb 2016
The industry is going through a radical transformation, so the weakest fall first. As said before: all-flash vendors have no long-term future - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/19/boyan_ivanov_storpool_ceo_interview/
Next year we'll see more vendors close or get acquired (although by whom, most incumbents struggle themselves).
Boyan I. @ StorPool
When HCI is not a good fit
As pointed out HCI is a very good fit for small and mid-sized deployments. There is hardly something better in small deployments, which most of all, need simple solutions, that "just work". As size increases and you are looking at larger private & public clouds it makes sense to still manage separate components - servers, network and storage. One reason is flexibility, the other is manageability (not a black-box, can solve bottlenecks in networking, separate from compute/storage). A third reason is cost: at a scale it is actually cheaper to go with standard components all the way. Lastly, this approach reduces vendor lock-in/dependency, for all components can be decoupled and different vendors can be used/changed.
Boyan @ StorPool
To add a couple of points
Just came across this great piece and it makes a good point in the discussion on so many levels:
- maybe in the next 5 years we'll see so many products, based on knowledge, which we had for the past 30 years;
- Likely some of the things that are already discussed and ridiculed will actually become huge shortly.
And a point I missed - if we're close to exhausting the innovation potential of the current generation of technologies - we'll just move to a new paradigm - maybe the Microsoft DNA-like storage (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/dna-storage/) or something else. But just as we replaced the "how we build computers" from Charles Babbage's concept of a mechanical machine, to "vacuum tubes" to "transistors" to "integrated circuits", so will storage reinvent itself.
Boyan @ StorPool Storage
Hi Chris, you definitely make good points here, however I would not agree with the conclusion.
Let's group advances of technology in two large buckets:
1. New research, which overtime enters the "real world" as new technologies and products. A good example is SSDs, which as you say were invented in 1980 but never got wide adoption till recent years (mostly because they needed to align with the second point);
2. Changing business demands, which are addressed by various technologies. Good example here is data deduplication - amounts of data were soaring in corporate environments, with many files being same or with minor changes (think Word, Excel, etc files) and thus deduplication was a smart technology to solve this.
What you focus on is the first group: technologies, which are conceived and wait till the time is right for them to "happen". I think many of the things happening now in IT will actually create a new wave of innovation. For example - Hyperconverged (HC) is here because companies need simplicity. This is the value prop. Companies do not need HC by itself. Similarly SDS is a solution to storage problems/needs not addressed by traditional SAN solutions.
It is this problem-solution fit, which creates cycles of innovation. With the proliferation of new technologies, new needs and use cases are appearing (think IoT, self-driving cars, AI, space exploration, etc.) which will introduce new set of issues. And this will drive a huge new wave of innovation to solve this issues.
We should all be excited of what's coming. And get some popcorn - the show will be an interesting one! :)
Boyan @ StorPool Storage
Skills, investments, taxes
Good points. I think the major impact is going to be people/skill related. In a world which is globally connected and innovation driven, the only way to be competitive is to have the best people on your team. Leaving the EU means losing a large pool of talented and motivated people. And "human capital" is the main thing that gives you an edge.
Couple this with the UK position as the #1 choice when raising funding in Europe, plus UK being one of the best places for any leading IT EU startup to be (before they sail to the US) and you have a major innovation problem. And as we know it's education (think less people in UK universities), and know how that matter now. Everything else is cheaply produced in Asia, based on innovative blueprints from US, UK, etc.
Lastly leaving the EU means increasing tax and legislation burden, so this will inevitably lead to lower economic growth and it's a downward spiral.
Boyan, CEO StorPool Storage
Flash will take over from HDD and hybrid systems, for all it's benefits, but it will take 2-4 years to get there. And of course it will not totally displace disk in all cases as we still see tape every now and then.
There is already considerable intelligence in the software stack, which increases endurance and performance, way above the figures quoted by the manufacturer. This means it reduces cost $/GB, $/IOPS and at some point it will not make sense to run disk. And only this year there will be a considerable amount of new functionality added to the data management software layers that will extend and the capabilities of the raw devices. As 3D XPoint/NVMe add new tiers of devices and software starts managing them intelligently there will be even more fine grained ways to address specific use cases.
Re: Lock in
Firstly totally avoiding lock-in is an illusion. It would imply not using ANYTHING, so you're not locked-in. In reality it is a continuum and you evaluate the degree to which you're locked - from close to completely locked to almost free.
In the case of an array - you're locked to a large extent - you prepaid all the capacity you need + plus factoring some future growth; you need to buy the next box from them otherwise your creating siloes of storage, etc, etc.
In our case - we provide standard block device which is usually managed by cloud management software. If you decide that the solution is not your best choice - just click, copy your data and you're with another vendor. No complex migrations, different data formats and expensive professional services.
We have monthly recurring licensing plans, based on the capacity of your current system. In this case you haven't prepaid for the next 2-3 years. If next month you do not like it - you're free to switch. If you still want to commit and prepay for certain period - naturally you get good discounts for doing so.
The storage industry is being commoditized and is becoming more open. All vendors have to realize this and unless they provide great value and delight customers constantly - they'll go out of business. This is the new reality.