Archive for February, 2010


Data Progression? Extents of tiering?

After reading Jon Toigo’s blog this weekend, I had to add on in more than a “comment”, as a follow on to the response from a Compellent “architect”.

Jon was addressing, in “Tears of Storage”, a point that is in great controversy in the storage industry and is being blog’ed about constantly (@storagetexan, @storagewonk, @xiotech, to mention a few), that is storage controller comparison and “features” that vendors offer. The “architect’s” response was from a giddy brain washed perspective, and that is, “this is really cool and everyone should have it!”.   

The reality of Data Progression, and lower level tiering in general, is that when they say “data”, it is NOT progressing “data” at all, underlying storage does not understand “data”, it understand bits and blocks of bits, and as such, protects those and should do that VERY well first. To protect “data”, or tier “data”, you should have an understanding of the full value of that underlying data and be able to “progress” or “regress” that data based on it’s value to the user and not to the storage controllers, things such as “Is it the CEO’s email”, in some companies that is important and is the only qualifier and not “did I touch this bit”, this is the “value” a controller cannot put on the data.

This entire story is akin to the outsourcing discussion that was held at a CIO event in Ohio last year (shamefull plug for CIO Practicum), and the outcome of that, and virtually EVERY discussion over “should I outsource” , you outsource something that is made basic and can be done easily and quicker by someone else. Data ILM is not “easy”, it requires a little effort on the part of the data owner (classification and prioritization) and simply ignoring those two points is just throwing your hands up in the air and saying you give up. Application vendors  (backup applications, databases, etc) have those type capabilities AND they actually know how the data is being used!

In a nutshell, Data Progression is a “feature” that a company “sells”, that requires you to buy a license and more storage and let them handle it “seamlessly” in the background (oh, wait, it does take resources to migrate that data?, hmmm), and it only addresses the single point of “when you last touched a block”, which is the least significant of the equation, but, the only one the storage vendor can understand.

Now, when the days of “Intelligent Application driven Storage” comes to play, that will rock! Think about it, letting the application drive the operations based on “their” needs, the tide is turning and the “features” of today will be the 8 tracks of yesterday, passé . But, don’t fret, vendors will come out with new “cool” things for you to spend money on!


Changing Economy of Storage?

After listening to the Wikibon discussion on FCoE yesterday, it really spurred me to piece together a number of things that have been posted as of late relating to storage access and the economies of storage.

I have been in the storage business for longer than I care to discuss, but, it has always revolved around the economies ($ per something, that something usually being capacity), with the economies of reality trailing the actual sale…and subsequently requiring further purchases (or in the cae of a generous vendor, free stuff….that usually doesn’t happen unless it’s t-shirts, mugs or coffee cards), to sustain the “real” need, and that is usually a performance related function (getting that capacity to do something in a timely fashion for the application or user).

In his blog, Tommyt (@StorageTexan) addressed a number of things, but this one specifically addresses where the industry is now regarding the building of a resilient/performing storage solution and moore specifically, PSA describes the realities around the needs that applications have for “data access” and getting that data in a timely fashion.

Rogerk (@storagewonk) has blogged about the confusion in comparing storage vendors and the “race for features”, while applications like databases, OS’s and hypervisors are putting most of those same features core to their function, where they rightly belong as the application or controlling entity is really the “boss”, as it were.

Davidb (@DavidBBlack), the dynamic speaker from Oak (we discovered this so well at Nerdfest 2010) and techno dweeb extrordinaire elucidated the gap that is ever increasing regarding computation and the access of data. This gap will drive the core capabilities of storage (storing, protecting and delivering data when and how fast it’s needed), as Tommy spoke to in his PSA discussion above.

Steves (@mensch45) illustrated how Xiotech is trying to change the game further, by focussing on the P of PSA, and ensuring the rest (storae and protect) happens in an even more reliable fashion while plugging more directly into the application and it’s control/needs.

Rob Peglar (@peglarr) spoke of the current trend in the industry of  “feature creep” and the storage vendors trying to constantly invent the new “feature” they can “sell” on/to, while making everyone want that feature like Apple has sold the world on IPOD’s (yes, I love my IPOD, that is a feature we all NEED); but do we really NEED all those other “features” that the applications/OS’s/backup vendors are integrating anyways?

Where is the rightful place for any of those features? Once reviewing what some of the great collection of minds at Xiotech are creating, you will see that letting the application rule has a lot of merit.

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