Monday, March 26, 2012


Two update topics today. Tape and HDD!
Tape first:
  • a market report on LTO Media (cartridges) sales.
  • an article about object storage and tape (and why they might want to reconsider tape).
  • an update from the March San Francisco "Tape Summit" and why "the tape industry should stop making excuses and instead raise its head with pride. Tape is great for archiving and nothing else comes close. In fact the gap with disk competition is going to widen in tape's favour".
HDD second:
  • Is HAMR the solution to enable the next breakthru in density for HDDs? Seagate announced a potential 60TB disk drive last week using that technology!
  • And will manufacturing of HDDs ever be brought back to the US (or Europe for that matter)? This is an interesting question raised when we realized how depending the HDD industry (and thus the IT industry as a whole) have become on regions like Thailand that produce an overwhelming percentage of the worlds supplies of HDDs.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March II

This weeks news are about files, tape, optics, and how they all -when combined- can help solve data-growth problems!

Data growth is reflected once again in the 2011 IDC report: "Total disk storage systems capacity shipped reach 6,279 petabytes, growing 22.4% year over year."  This is still a huge growth, however, compared to the 2010 and 2009 numbers (56% and 34% compared to the previous year!) they reflect not only the production shortage due to the Thailand flooding in Q4, but also the fact, that capacity expansion with HDDs has considerably slowed down in the last three years. Find additional comments here.

Related to that report, IDC has also released the Storage Software numbers for the full year of 2011. They reported worldwide storage software sales of over 14 billion USD, an increase of almost 12% compared to 2010!
Most of the client investments for HW and SW theses days go into file storage, the area of unstructured (and too often also uncontrolled!) data. This is causing havoc to traditional methods of managing and operating enterprise storage and may force businesses to look into revolutionary new ways of dealing with information (once more!), as outlined in this ESG article: "People riskedeverythingwhen they ran from big companies like DEC to a little goofball company like Microsoft. They risked their jobs when they didn’t buy storage from Big Blue and instead went with unheard of EMC. They risked their ponytails and birkenstocks when they boughttoastersfrom NetApp".

But beware, just "any cloud" won't do it!
How does tape come into the play? Well, read here about a smart new way to combine the ease-of-use of NAS and the low-costs of tape data. And read here why many in the industry are convinced that tape still has some great potential!
Which has lead in the past to almost religious wars about which storage is right!

Lastly, from research, I came across two exciting news items:
The IBM Research Hall of Fame has two new members: Lubomyr Romankiw and David Thompson were both honored for their achievements around magnetic memory innovations which enables many of today's HDD products.
And related to very recent research, IBM released news about a break-thru in optical data transfer, using a device dubbed "optochip", see details here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Let me summarize what I felt was the most interesting news and articles since we started 2012:

Windows 8 will be out later this year and Microsoft is working on new concepts of managing pools of storage, referred to as "Storage Spaces". Read details here.

For those, who do not want to manage their own storage or backup data, Amazon has started to offer backup options with their S3 cloud offering: "Amazon promised its gateway would let you upload data to its cloud securely and also provide them with cost effective and low-latency back up and rapid disaster recovery."

While Infiniband is getting more traction as an intra-systems connectivity method with many storage vendors, Qlogic has decided to sell off their Infiniband business to Intel. Which means, that there are now only two Infiniband vendors left in the market. Intel and Mellanox.

Im terms of storage media, the article here raises some valid concerns about the future viability of SSDs as a basis for enterprise storage systems: "While the density of SSDs grows and the cost per gigabyte shrinks, everything else about them is poised to get worse."
So we may be ready to use a new proposed candidate for ultra-dense and cost efficient storage: The 12-atom storage.

And lastly about Big Data: If you are like me and ever wondered what the Elephant/Hadoop has to do with big data, here's an excellent little video from IBM Research: Big Data and Hadoop in 15 minutes!
And because big data requires big disks and big disks have their unique challenges with legacy RAID technology, IBM is working on new declustered RAID architectures, a software RAID implementation of redundant data blocks across dozens to hundreds of HDDs (or SSDs for that matter).