In two days, I will be jetting up to Chicago (Rosemont, actually) for the PRISM International and Data Protection Association’s 2016 International Data Management Conference. You can learn about it HERE.
I am speaking on Storage Trends. Hope to make it a bit entertaining so that these nice folks will invite me back another time. From the looks of their website, they choose nice venues abroad for some of their meetings.
If you are in the Chicago area and have from an hour on Thursday AM to two days of time to spare, why not look into the event and come on out? Hope to see some of you there.
This Summer has been the busiest I have had in nearly 10 years. I was all over Europe in May, after IBM Interconnect, then working on numerous projects, ranging from a supercast on Hyper-Converged Infrastructure appliances, to a day-long training course on Continuity Planning in the Cloud Era. That webinar, which you can replay HERE, was viewed by over 300 folks who stayed from 8:30 AM until nearly 4:30PM. We had more than 800 registrations and replays are going briskly. I was very honored to be asked to create four more workshops in 2017, beginning with one on Data Management.
More recently, IBM invited me back to the IBM Edge 2016 event, where I shot another set of video interviews to be posted here shortly. Stand by for a deep dive into Big Blue.
I followed up that trip with a jaunt over to Boston for Fujifilm’s Tape Power Summit — another great show! At the Fujifilm event, I got a chance to tour their US tape manufacturing facility. Watching all of the square tape move along the conveyor belt, I confess to having a bizarre bout of deja vu.
Is LTO tape made of people — like Soylent Green in the old movie? I checked and my entire party was still with us at the end of the tour. Great operation and a great show.
Thanks to IBM and to Fujifilm for having me out. Fujifilm has POSTED PDFs of the decks that were presented at their fine event. Shortly these will be accompanied by video of each speaker. Pay special attention to Fred Moore of Horison. Great guy with great insights.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, no, I have not changed my policy of not allowing advertising on my blog. I have agreed, however, to pass along some information for Rosewill, maker of great docking stations, drive enclosures and HDD docks that I use a lot in my own testing work. They are having a sale over at Newegg that is worth a look if you are a tinkerer and tester like me. Check it out by clicking this LINK.
I have been looking at my bench lately and taking inventory of what I have that has stood up to time. I still use a Drobo B800i eight-bay array that has performed pretty flawlessly for the past four years. And I still have a Promise Technology VTRAK M-class, the M200i 8-bay iSCSI rig that continues to hum after about the same amount of time. It is nice when storage outperforms expectations.
If you are like me, you are still trying to get your head around the whole software-defined storage thing. Some folks insist that it is an entirely new architecture, but I remember running into one of the folks who manages IBM’s System Managed Storage at their IBM Edge show last year who shook her head wearily and noted that IBM SMS was doing what SDS is supposed to do all the way back in 1993. Once more, everything old is new again.
At IBM Interconnect 2016, I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with IBMers about their go-to-market strategy for software-defined storage. Specifically, I met with Diane Benjuya, Marketing Manager for Spectrum Accelerate and Doug Petteway, Senior Offering Manager, Spectrum Accelerate, regarding their forthcoming products. Anyone familiar with IBM wares will recognize the root technology, XIV, which IBM purchased from its Israeli developers a few years ago and fielded as a grid storage array. Over the years, it has become quite popular, according to both Benjuya and Petteway in the video interview below — so much so, they say, XIV software is being ported to an x86 server to provide the basis for a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure appliance (hypervisor+server+storage+XIV).
Here is the interview.
While I thank Diane and Doug for their time and enthusiasm (despite tremendous jet lag and the last minute invite), I was sorry that the interview left me with more questions than we had time to address properly. I wanted to understand how IBM arrived at its definition of that amorphous term, software-defined storage. Like many other products in this space, they seemed to be using the term to describe a server-side stack of storage value-add services customarily found on an enterprise array controller. Nothing more. I had hoped for a more robust model, especially since IBM has some storage virtualization technology in SAN Volume Controller that might help to differentiate IBM’s SDS stack from most of its competitors. VMware excluded storage virtualization from its definition of SDS and the whole industry seems to have been unwilling to deviate from that definition. However, being able to carve volumes of storage from a virtual pool — which you can do with a product like SVC from IBM or SANsymphony-V from DataCore — would seem to me to be very much in line with the true spirit of SDS.
Clod Barera seemed to think so, too, when I interviewed that IBM Distinguished Engineer at an IBM event a couple of years ago. (The video interview is here.) Clod was speculating at the time that XIV software might make a really good complement to SVC, turning the whole thing into what we now call an HCI appliance. But, this time around, the Spectrum Accelerate folks didn’t want to go there.
Also missing was any discussion of the possibility of adding file and/or object system elements to the IBM Spectrum Accelerate stack, which seems to be a potential evolutionary path of SDS going forward, or anything like DataCore’s I/O handling parallelization, which seems to make a lot more sense in speeding up RAW I/O than does throwing a lot of flash at the problem.
It will be very interesting to see the Spectrum Accelerate story unfold over time. Given the great patent work already done on XIV, and IBM’s extensive IP in storage generally, there is a lot of technology innovation they could throw at SDS without a lot of extra work.
For the record, I was IBM’s guest at IBM Interconnect 2016, where I received payment to live tweet and blog at the show. These video interviews are, however, my own work. They have not been edited in any way by Big Blue.
It’s an issue that has been nagging at me for quite awhile. Who gets to decide what functionality belongs in a software-defined storage stack and what should belong to the array controller or the operating system? I found my discussion with Chandra Mukhayala, IBM’s Portfolio Marketing Manager for File and Object Storage, on this topic […]
It isn’t every day that we score an interview with the General Manager of zSystems and LinuxONE, Ross Mauri. He is a very busy guy working to bridge the constituencies — AppDev and Ops — within the data center, while adapting IBM’s mainframe narrative to the brave new world of hybrid clouds. So, when you […]
I have to admit, I am not very good at remembering brand names. I am even less good at remembering brand names when the vendor changes them. A year or two back, IBM decided to regroup and rebrand its storage offerings under the “Spectrum” umbrella. It made for pretty artwork, but it confused me…and probably […]
To all of the pundits, analysts and vendors of disk and flash who once again claim that tape is dead, killed this time by cloud, I want you all to take a deep breath. Hold it for a second. Release it. Repeat three or four times. Then watch the video interview below with Shawn Brume […]
Okay. So we are bringing this up again after about eight or nine years. Here is the base article behind today’s post. Apparently, Hollywood is looking into using DNA to store digital movie data. Cheap, capacious, durable data storage is the lure and at least one start-up is now striving to perfect the technology to […]
At IBM Interconnect 2016, I enjoyed picking up a conversation where I last left it with Kathryn Guarini, Vice President of Offering Management for z Systems and LinuxONE at IBM Systems. We first met when she took me on the grand tour of the z13 platform when it was released last year. This time, with […]