Friday, July 25, 2014


It's about time to resume blogging and edit an update to my Blog. I have been "out of IT" for a few month - between Jobs - and now back to the grind.
One of my off-IT activities: Travel Maui

Good thing is that I realized during my time off: there's plenty of great things to do and think outside of IT; sad thing is, I also realized that only in IT, I have enough marketable skills to be able to pay my bills.
So back to IT business...
Topic today is pretty straightforward. Cloud and Flash!
I think those are pretty much the buzzwords that, as someone looking into our industry in summer 2014 would realize, are discussed most frequently.

Now looking at these trends and the technologies cooking in the labs, I've come to the conclusion that the two can be combined in what I believe to be a true statement:
"By 2020, all data will be either stored on Flash or in the Cloud"
There's a couple reasons why I think this statement may become true, listed below are a couple market and technology trends from the last couple weeks which seem to point into that direction.
But the very basic physical reason for it is "latency": Response time for any IO from the cloud is always measured in milliseconds (at least - try a PING if you don't agree) while response time for any IO from a Flash System is always measured in microseconds. Means that Flash will always sit either in the server or right next to it (next like: a couple meters away)!

Let's start with Flash: See these two great articles about function and design of all-flash arrays  (by George Crump of Storage Switzerland) vs. advantages of hybrid storage arrays (by HDS CTO Hu Yoshida). And then add this news from the Samsung lab (Samsung being the #1 provider of NAND Flash) about first shipments of 3D Flash.

On to the Cloud: As the Register article here states: "CIOs will likely increasingly say: dump the data center hardware ship and ship the data up into the cloud."
A couple vendors actually announced functions and plans to that end in the past couple weeks: Netapp ties in with the Microsoft Azure cloud (more details here);
while mighty EMC announced (among a flood of other solutions, plans, products, and the intend to acquire Twinstrata) the availability of a cloud gateway option for the new VMAX3.

As discussed above, cloud data storage will most likely not be based on relatively expensive and fast Flash technology for the years to come. The most obvious candidate for efficient, cheap and reliable cloud storage is rotating disks - HDD. And a second, surprising -but also likely candidate- is good old Tape!
In case you missed the May announcement about IBM's 154TB-Tape demo: Listen to the details here!