By Calvin Zito, @HPStorageGuy
It's time to get back to the topic of storage - as most of the regular readers of this blog know, I've been out for a few weeks dealing with my Mother's death.
Before I jump back into storage, I want to again thank everyone who was
so kind to me. I thank you very much - your kindness helped to
get me through a difficult time. Ok, so now onward....
There are a number of storage-focused groups on LinkedIn. I
noticed a conversation that was started on one of them discussing an
article written by industry analyst George Crump. The
article itself was promoting a particular vendor but asked some
good questions. It covered a couple of different emerging
technologies that could help reduce storage costs. George makes
the case that customers are buying more drives than they need from a
capacity perspective to get the performance needed though I would argue
that our EVA array minimizes this issue because of the built-in
virtualization. George suggests that SSD could help fill this gap
but because it's still expensive compared to hard drive technology,
it's not for everyone. You can either read George's blog or read the conversation on LinkedIn
to get the details of what he discussed. Today, I wanted to
highlight the answer that our own Tim Sheets gave. Tim works in
our Unified Storage Division managing portfolio strategy and marketing
operations. Here's what he had to say:
From a vantage point of a company that sells more HDD's than
anyone else in the world, there are certainly changes on the horizon.
SAS drives clearly offer an economic advantage and truth be told, the
HDD manufacturers are trying to get away from FC drives because they
are more expensive to produce. Now as for SSD's replacing FC drives...
that is not going to happen wholesale at this time. The costs are too
high, and there is still much to learn about the longer term
reliability related to write cycles (SSD cells wear out at much lower
cycles than traditional HDD's)
While there is lots of work going on in the SSD market to manage
write balancing, we cannot overlook the fact that there is much more
work to be done to get to full enterprise reliability at volume
economics. SLC is certainly more robust that MLC, but does not have the
capacities of MLC. On the flip side, SLC has better write "wear-out"
cycles than MLC. Either way, SSD costs are extremely high even when
compared to FC HDDs. For now, I think we will primarily see SSD's in
very high performance systems where customers are willing to pay a
significant premium to get that performance. Texas Memory Systems and
Fusion IO are good examples of this. However, we will not see mass
adoption until the wear out rates become stable/proven and the costs
drop dramatically. According to the SSD manufactures, that is still
some time away for enterprise class drives.
Additionally, we will need to see the application developers
modify their applications to take advantage of what SSD's can offer.
Storage management/tuning tools will need to change in order to
optimize storage environments using SSD's. And as Phillip from 3PAR
notes above, storage tiering is critical here. (Editor's note: You'll have to go to the LinkedIn discussion to see what Phillip said). Today,
solutions that are read intensive and need high IO rates are ideal for
SSD. Write intensive applications are probably better off with rotating
media for now if cost is a major factor.
All of this will take some time, as does adoption for most
nascent technologies. SSD's will become more popular in certain
applications, but the industry won't turn on a dime just yet. Longer
term (3-5 years or more) they will begin to become more of a mainstream
storage technology. For now, rotating media is here to say for a while.
Tim - I hope you don't mind me using your answer here for our readers.
01-20-2010 11:15 PM
Filed under: Solid State Disk, SAS, storage