Managing the information that drives the enterprise Storage                                                      Vol. 11 N...
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editorial | rich castagna                                                                                     Storage     ...
Storage                           have disappeared; rather, enterprise buyers are likely getting a                        ...
Storage                           ate providers as services rather than “things.” The utility concept                     ...
storage revolutIOn | jon toigo                                                                                    Storage ...
Storage                           worldwide topping 21 exabytes in 2011. That’s 21 x 1018 bytes. Inter-                   ...
Storage                              Second, given current estimates of data growth in companies de-                      ...
Storage                           the past two years, according to USA Today), and you’ve created a                       ...
Server Virtualization: Dream for server admins... ightmareN                                           for storage pros.   ...
Cloud storage                          archiving                                            for  Friendlier facefor cloud ...
Storage                           lowering costs, improving data protection or both while still main-                     ...
Storage                           cents/GB per month and up (depending on volumes). This adds up                          ...
Storage                           the vendor maintains full responsibility for managing the cloud                         ...
Storage                           when data will be accessed, access patterns and cost of downtime.                       ...
Storage                           but the alternative may be unacceptable application outages. Make                       ...
Storage                           though a disaster at a SAS-70 compliant data center is unlikely, it’s                   ...
Storage                           infrastructure is daunting. It also assumes the provider has the                        ...
Storage                           expense of moving from tape to cloud now, thus saving significant                       ...
Data Deduplication:         Fad, fixture... or just a nice feature? Find out the benefits, drawbacks and functions of this t...
DAS  Friendlier facefor cloud storage    Beware  the storage  apocalypseCloud archiving                                liv...
Storage                           no way to balance capacity demands.                              DAS could complicate th...
Storage                              Data protection was also supposed to get a lot easier. The goal                      ...
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Storage                           online providers and Internet technology companies chose this de-                       ...
Storage                           the performance demands of the virtual environment and the per-                         ...
Recovery                                             slows for                                             storage        ...
Storage                           Budgets growing slower                                                                  ...
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Storage                           Flash is solid storage                                                           Key sta...
Storage3.2                                     Cloud storage          900                                                 ...
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
Storagemag onlinemay2012 final
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  1. 1. Managing the information that drives the enterprise Storage Vol. 11 No. 3 May 2012DAS lives!budgets stillchallengestorage shopsalso:friendlier facefor cloud storageBeware the storageapocalypseBig adjustmentsto handle big dataThe effects offlash in the cloudare diskshortages real? Cloud Archiving The best storage application for the cloud just might be archiving; it’s a great way to keep long-term data on somebody else’s disks or tapes.
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  3. 3. editorial | rich castagna Storage Cloud storage not so spooky anymore Lower prices, no vendor lock-in, endless storage capacity—cloud storage O is getting downright friendly these days. Friendlier facefor cloud storage Beware the storage apocalypse ne way you can tell a technology is maturing is when the com- petition among its purveyors starts to heat up. Cloud storage stillCloud archiving has an uphill climb to prove that it’s enterprise-worthy, but the recent, and almost simultaneous, announcements from Amazon, DAS lives Google and Microsoft about lowering their prices suggest it’s get- ting a lot closer to broader acceptance. Budgets still challenge Those three behemoths are the “real” storage behind scores of storage shops cloud storage services, along with other providers such as AT&T Synaptic, Nirvanix and Rackspace. They don’t just command ourBig adjustments to handle attention because of who they are; we notice because they’re big data big enough in the cloud storage market to have the power to ef- fectively control the direction the technology will take in the next The effects of flash in few years. the cloud By lowering their prices within days of one another, the Big Three are clearly squaring off to position themselves well within Are diskshortages real? the sights of enterprise data storage managers. It may also be a sign the cloud storage market has reached a certain level of ma- turity, with potential users focusing more on price than the tradi- tional gotchas of cloud storage (security and bandwidth). That’s not to suggest that security and bandwidth concerns 3 Storage May 2012
  4. 4. Storage have disappeared; rather, enterprise buyers are likely getting a little more comfortable with how providers are dealing with those issues and are moving closer to adding cloud to their storage arsenals. So, naturally, their attention now turns to price. What three dominant players do pricewise is bound to affect the entire market. And if that means making cloud storage more accessible, that’s good news for enterprises. Price wars aren’t the only sign that cloud storage might be mov- ing up the food chain. It’s also looking more and more like “regular” Friendlier facefor cloud storage storage, meaning most of us have gotten past how exotic the con- cept of sending data into Beware the cloud is and are now the storage focusing on things that There are still only a apocalypse relate to storage wherever handful of major players,Cloud archiving and whatever it is. which is always a con- For example, Nasuni, cern in a market, even if a vendor of network- DAS lives they all drop their prices attached storage (NAS) Budgets still appliances that serve as at the same time. challenge storage shops gateways to the cloud, has been touting a capability it rolled out in early 2011. It’s aBig adjustments cloud-to-cloud migration facility that didn’t get an awful lot of at- to handle big data tention then, but it stands to catch a few more eyes now. What Nasuni is offering is a way to pull your data out of one cloud stor- The effects age service and park it at another—without recovering it back of flash in the cloud to your data center or even shipping it through some intermedi- ary. On one hand, it “simply” allows the kinds of data migrations Are disk that happen in data storage shops all the time when new gear isshortages real? trucked in to replace aging systems. But put in a cloud context, it’s significant in that it may erase another bugaboo about cloud storage: vendor lock-in. Yet another sign that cloud storage might finally be escap- ing its adolescence is cloud storage shoppers starting to evalu- 4 Storage May 2012
  5. 5. Storage ate providers as services rather than “things.” The utility concept is beginning to take hold, and cloud storage users are more in- terested in service-level agreements (SLAs) than in what kind of equipment their data ends up on. “How,” “when” and “why” are all becoming a lot more important than “where.” If you think of cloud storage as a big disk in the sky, you might have to alter that im- age. As cloud storage gains popularity, there’s no way providers will be able to maintain all their customers’ data on spinning disk. Tape vendors are salivating at this prospect, and probably laughing Friendlier facefor cloud storage up their sleeves at the irony of 21st century storage turning out to be based on a medium that’s been repeatedly declared dead. Beware Case in point: Fujifilm just launched Permavault, its new cloud the storage apocalypse archive service targeting its health care and media and entertain- ment customers, and behind the curtain is a lot of tape fronted byCloud archiving Crossroads Systems’ StrongBox gateway device, which leverages the Linear Tape File System (LTFS). DAS lives These are all promising signs, although none is reason enough to completely forfeit a healthy skepticism about cloud storage Budgets still just yet. There are still only a handful of major players, which is challenge storage shops always a concern in a market, even if they all drop their prices at the same time. And you still have to use caution when you sendBig adjustments your data off-site, pretty much as you do when you hand your to handle big data tapes over to the folks in brown shorts driving big brown trucks. But even that may be a good sign. The more cloud storage looks The effects like “traditional” storage, the more likely it will get adopted and of flash in the cloud (hopefully) even more vendors will start pushing out products that will help integrate on-premises storage with cloud services. Inte- Are disk grating cloud storage with existing systems—as backup, as an ar-shortages real? chive, as nearline storage—still seems to be the key to convincing more storage managers to consider cloud storage services. n Rich Castagna is editorial director of the Storage Media Group. 5 Storage May 2012
  6. 6. storage revolutIOn | jon toigo Storage Were those crazy Mayans thinking about storage? Give or take a few million years, the Mayans say we’re doomed; but our data storage systems O may be living on borrowed time right now. Friendlier facefor cloud storage Beware the storage apocalypse ne reading of the stelae discovered in the ancient ruins in and around the Yucatan Peninsula holds that the world is kaput as ofCloud archiving December 21, 2012. So you can understand why I wanted to get this column published now. DAS lives While the consensus of the scientific community regarding the Mayan Apocalypse is that somebody did their math wrong by Budgets still challenge omitting the exponent that properly places the end of everything storage shops at a somewhat later date (41 octillion or 4.124105 x 1028 years af- ter this December), you just never know. Exponents, or “powers ofBig adjustments to handle 10” as my first math teacher called them, are shorthand expres- big data sions after all. As such, they’re simplifications intended to limit the number of integers required to express large numeric values The effects of flash in so we can do math with our fingers or fit big numbers onto the the cloud screens of our smartphone calculator applications. While useful, the incorrect use of exponents can lead to error Are disk and misapprehension. Instead of our sun going supernova in 50shortages real? million years, a misplaced exponent could put this extinction-level event a mere five years away. Consider the exponents IDC and others have begun to use to describe data storage capacity growth. An analyst’s chart pre- sented at a trade show last year showed storage capacity growth 7 Storage May 2012
  7. 7. Storage worldwide topping 21 exabytes in 2011. That’s 21 x 1018 bytes. Inter- estingly, the analyst said the data created in 2010 totaled some- thing like 10 exabytes or 10 x 1018, so all that storage capacity was a good thing. (For the record, I regard “data explosion” estimates like IDC’s, funded as they are by array makers, to be just as cred- ible as the apocalyptic in- terpretations of the Mayan stone tablets. Fear, uncer- Given a 7% to 14% failure tainty and doubt are use- rate in disk per year… Friendlier facefor cloud storage ful tools for selling stuff, that means somewhere whether it’s overpriced stor- between 1.4 exabytes age arrays or Mayan apoca- Beware the storage and 2.9 exabytes of data apocalypse lypse t-shirts.) Referring to the stor- will be compromisedCloud archiving age growth chart, this ana- by simple disk failures lyst went on to argue that in 2012. DAS lives transactional data had been declining as a share of to- Budgets still tal data being stored, while file data was growing. But that was challenge storage shops old news; they had been saying that file storage had exceeded block storage since the mid-aughties. More interesting to me wasBig adjustments their assertion that the capacity allocated to replicating data had to handle big data grown to approximately half of the total capacity deployed, sug- gesting that most companies were using their most expensive The effects disk to make copies of the stuff they already stored on their most of flash in the cloud expensive disk. If true, this statistic makes me sick to my stom- ach for three reasons. Are disk First, given a 7% to 14% failure rate in disk per year, based onshortages real? the experience of Google and others, that means somewhere be- tween 1.4 exabytes and 2.9 exabytes of data will be compromised by simple disk failures in 2012. It’s a scary thought, and one array makers use to encourage us to purchase spare drives and unused capacity to replace failing platters. 8 Storage May 2012
  8. 8. Storage Second, given current estimates of data growth in companies de- ploying server virtualization—from 300% over the next three years according to IDC, to more than 600% over the same period per Gart- ner—the total capacity demand for storing production data will end up between 300 exabytes and 650 exabytes by 2015. If you double that number to include disk-based replication schemes, you’re look- ing at a total data storage capacity requirement that exceeds a zettabyte (1.3 zettabytes or 1.3 x 1021 by Gartner’s estimate). Factor in the additional capacity we’ll need to purchase to keep up with drive Friendlier facefor cloud storage failure rates, and you’ll need to add another 91 ex- Beware abytes to 182 exabytes of We need to get strategic the storage apocalypse replacement disks. with our storage planning Third, if you consider or else the apocalypseCloud archiving the energy requirements we’ll really be confront- for that much disk, both to power and cool them, ing in the next couple DAS lives you’re looking at a sig- of years—perhaps as Budgets still nificantly greater energy soon as December 21 challenge storage shops demand and cost than we for some firms—will be confront today. Hard disk of our own making.Big adjustments power consumption rang- to handle big data es from approximately 3 watts to 10 watts. Calculate how many disk drives are required The effects to deliver 1.3 zettabytes of capacity, plus another 100 exabytes of of flash in the cloud powered spare drives, and we’re looking at some serious power consumption. Moreover, the heat dissipation requirements for Are disk a storage plant in excess of a zettabyte of capacity will be wellshortages real? above the current estimate of about 2 kilowatts per square foot of data center floor space to somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 kilowatts per square foot. Mix in the energy required to power the disk and the energy required to dissipate the heat with the in- creasing cost of utility power (up 23.2% on average in the U.S. over 9 Storage May 2012
  9. 9. Storage the past two years, according to USA Today), and you’ve created a real witches brew. All this paints a pretty apocalyptic picture of data storage and its costs going forward. Unlike the Mayan Apocalypse, however, our movement along this path is not pre-ordained or inevitable. Compression and data deduplication (preferably done as a func- tion of the file system) will have an impact along the way. And magnetic media manufacturers are working on reducing power demands and improving energy efficiency at the component level. Friendlier facefor cloud storage But altering this dismal picture significantly will require a more holistic or systemic rethinking of our data storage strategies. Beware We’ll need to get much more particular about what we store the storage apocalypse and where we store it. We’ll need to challenge the disk industry’s mantra about the inefficacy of tape-based storage and bring itCloud archiving back online sooner for hosting, archiving and protecting the 40% to 70% of data that doesn’t need to be stored on spinning disk. And DAS lives we might just have to eschew any server virtualization software approach that requires an unwieldy reconfiguration and replica- Budgets still tion of our storage infrastructure to obtain anything like accept- challenge storage shops able I/O performance from applications. In short, we need to get strategic with our storage planning orBig adjustments else the apocalypse we’ll really be confronting in the next couple to handle big data of years—perhaps as soon as December 21 for some firms—will be of our own making and not the result of a galactic reset predicted The effects by some crazy Mayan text. n of flash in the cloud Jon William Toigo is a 30-year IT veteran, CEO and managing principal of Toigo Partners International, and chairman of the Data Management Institute. Are diskshortages real? Correction: In my January column (“IOPS per what?”), I mistakenly asserted that HP/3PAR’s 450,000 IOPS record on the Storage Performance Council’s SPC Benchmark was achieved by short-stroking disk. I was informed this wasn’t the case, as the work- load was spread across 1,900 drives that weren’t short stroking. While the rig does support short stroking, the technique wasn’t used in this test. I regret the error. 10 Storage May 2012
  10. 10. Server Virtualization: Dream for server admins... ightmareN for storage pros. Get your virtual environment under control. Check out our Top 10 Server Virtualization Tips for storage managers:
  11. 11. Cloud storage archiving for Friendlier facefor cloud storage One of the best applications for cloud storage Beware the storage is data archiving. Cloud archiving services can apocalypse offer accessibility and data preservation at a fraction of the cost of building an on-site archive infrastructure.Cloud archiving by phil Goodwin DAS lives Budgets still challenge storage shopsBig adjustments to handle big data The effects of flash in It wouldn’t seem necessary to start a discussion about archiving the cloud by defining the term, but it is. In the early days of computing, ar- chiving was understood to be the process of moving data on tape Are diskshortages real? to a remote facility for long-term storage. Now, however, archiving has taken on numerous meanings based on context. Archiving can be the “auto-archive” simplicity of Microsoft Outlook, moving older data to cheaper storage as well as more traditional long-term off- line storage. In the context of cloud computing, we’ll define it to mean relegating data to a third-party location for the purposes of 12 Storage May 2012
  12. 12. Storage lowering costs, improving data protection or both while still main- taining a reasonable degree of data access. How long is long? Regardless of context, implicit in the notion of archive is time— typically a long time. But “long” is a relative concept. For most financial data it means seven years, 20 years for pharmaceutical research, and more than 50 years for some medical records and Friendlier face nuclear records. In general, retaining data on spinning (or evenfor cloud storage spin-down) disk for 10 years or more is cost-prohibitive even in the cloud. So, for the purposes of this discussion, we’ll define “long” Beware the storage as between one year and seven years. For data retention exceed- apocalypse ing seven years, disk systems will be the media of choice in only specialized applications. Some examples of those specialized appsCloud archiving include geospatial data (i.e., oil and gas exploration images), medi- cal images and aircraft maintenance logs where the frequency of DAS lives access is low but the probability of retrieval at some point is high; therefore, the time and difficulty of recovering 15-year-old tapes is Budgets still challenge likely to be unacceptable. storage shops Price vs. performanceBig adjustments to handle Cloud-based archive opens the possibility of a “just right” balance big data between cost and accessibility. Tape has been, and remains, far and away the lowest cost method of storing data for years. A typi- The effects of flash in cal LTO tape holding approximately 1 TB of data costs roughly $35 the cloud with monthly off-site storage in the range of 25 cents per month. There’s no way for even the cheapest cloud disk to compete with Are diskshortages real? this price. On the downside, the normal retrieval time for a tape from archive is next-day delivery plus the time needed to mount and restore it. This means users will wait about a business day before being able to access the information requested. Cloud storage, on the other hand, starts at approximately 10 13 Storage May 2012
  13. 13. Storage cents/GB per month and up (depending on volumes). This adds up when contemplating hundreds of TBs, but it’s still often less than the cost to procure, deploy and manage arrays in a central data center. Whereas tape retrieval is measured in business days, data hosted on cloud storage can be accessed in seconds. For some apps, this may be the ideal tradeoff between price and performance. Cloud advantages, disadvantages Friendlier face Before going all-in on cloud archiving, however, IT needs to weighfor cloud storage the virtues of cloud with in-house archiving. Technologically, cloud providers can’t offer anything that can’t be implemented in-house. Beware the storage So a company may, for example, choose to implement a tiered apocalypse storage infrastructure with tier 3 high-capacity SATACloud archiving disk to achieve a lower av- IT departments really erage cost per GB stored. shouldn’t be concerned DAS lives Generally, organizations will with the underlying lean toward an in-house Budgets still solution if they can’t risk technology, provided challenge storage shops the loss of connectivity to a contractual service remote location, have regu- levels are met.Big adjustments latory requirements that to handle big data require strict data security oversight or have data retrieval requirements where remote laten- The effects cy would be unacceptable. This is a fairly restrictive list, but there of flash in the cloud are still many applications that are candidates for cloud archiving. IT organizations can quantify the logistical effort to migrate to Are disk cloud, but shouldn’t overlook a predictable but unforeseen chal-shortages real? lenge: a mind shift from a technology-centric perspective to a service-level management perspective. IT staff used to making technology choices and deployments often want to delve into the cloud vendor’s architecture and “suggest” product or technology- specific implementations. Rarely are such requests warranted, as 14 Storage May 2012
  14. 14. Storage the vendor maintains full responsibility for managing the cloud infrastructure. IT departments really shouldn’t be concerned with the underlying technology, provided contractual service levels are met. With experience, staff attention will gradually shift from low- level details to higher-level governance. Service is the critical factor Service-level management, then, is critical to the initial decision for Friendlier face cloud archiving as well as ongoing operations. When shopping for afor cloud storage cloud archival vendor, consider the following service-level issues: Beware Uptime. For most applications, three nines or four nines of avail- the storage ability are sufficient to meet business requirements. If you need apocalypse five nines, you probably have data access requirements that aren’t conducive to an archive tier. Data hosted in an archive tier is, byCloud archiving definition, non-critical. The uptime requirement largely determines how much infrastructure the vendor must provision, so it has a big DAS lives impact on the hosting cost. Don’t guess; determine the actual hours Budgets still challenge storage shops Key cloud archiving considerationsBig adjustments to handle big data • loud archiving is a tradeoff between accessibility and cost. C It may yield the lowest cost while delivering acceptable data The effects access performance. of flash in the cloud • sing a cloud provider requires the IT organization to shift U from managing machines to managing service levels. Are diskshortages real? • learly defined service levels are the key to successful C cloud archive hosting. • rganizations should have an exit strategy in case things O go wrong. 15 Storage May 2012
  15. 15. Storage when data will be accessed, access patterns and cost of downtime. These calculations can be compared to the cost of various uptime guarantees, and easily justified or rejected based on the compari- son. Vendors often offer hosting-fee rebates or other performance penalties for missing service-level agreements (SLAs). However, the caveats are contained in the fine print, so read them. Accessibility. Accessibility and uptime aren’t necessarily the same. The storage may be humming, but the subcomponents ren- Friendlier face der an application unavailable. If you need redundancy or multiplefor cloud storage redundancy of data links, for example, you’ll have to pay for them Beware the storage apocalypse Archive vs. backupCloud archiving while many IT shops still consider their old backup tapes to be DAS lives “archives,” there are specific use cases and access require- ments that distinguish archives from backup data. Backups Budgets still are done to protect data that’s currently in use; if data has challenge to be restored from a backup, it generally happens shortly storage shops after that backup was made. Backup data typically has a short shelf life.Big adjustments to handle Archives are sets of data that will be retained for a long pe- big data riod of time for regulatory compliance, corporate governance or use as intellectual property. Archives are accessed infre- The effects of flash in quently, but are searchable so specific data can be recovered the cloud relatively quickly and easily. The Storage Networking Industry Association makes a dis- Are diskshortages real? tinction between cloud backups and cloud archiving services: “Whereas with Cloud Backup the cloud is simply a reposi- tory of backup data, with Cloud Archive and Preservation, the Cloud is where the active processes occur that ensure long term retention, preservation and viability of data.” 16 Storage May 2012
  16. 16. Storage but the alternative may be unacceptable application outages. Make sure service levels encompass end-to-end data availability. Performance. Quantify how many IOPS your applications require and ensure this number is part of the SLA. IOPS can be measured either as an average or during peak activity. If you demand IOPS guarantees at peak, then you’ll have to pay for the vendor to provi- sion them. Some vendors may offer metered billing, but many orga- nizations don’t like the potential uncertainty of such billing should Friendlier face demand suddenly spike. Most organizations will absorb a certainfor cloud storage amount of constrained operation (especially for an archive tier) in return for cost certainty. In this case, the SLA is for guaranteed Beware the storage IOPS, not absolute performance experienced by the end user. If ap- apocalypse plication demands exceed contracted IOPS capacity, it’s rightly the IT organization’s problem; additional IOPS can always be purchased.Cloud archiving Data recoverability. As they do for in-house applications, IT or- DAS lives ganizations need to specify recovery point objective (RPO) and re- covery time objective (RTO) requirements for cloud-based archives. Budgets still This is related to uptime, but also covers contingencies such as challenge storage shops data corruption or a component failure that doesn’t affect overall uptime but impacts individual applications. The vendor should have default values for RPO and RTO, which may be sufficient for an ar-Big adjustments to handle chive tier. Again, don’t guess. Know what kind of data loss and ap- big data plication unavailability the business units can financially tolerate. In many cases, it’s much more than is intuitive. The effects of flash in the cloud Disaster recovery (DR). If the cloud archive is used as off-site replicated storage to satisfy data redundancy requirements, it Are disk may not be necessary to consider a DR strategy for this tier. Butshortages real? buyer beware: Most hosted storage doesn’t include any DR contin- gency. If the hosted data is “live” data provisioned as hybrid cloud storage, then a DR plan may be necessary. Hosting providers may regularly back up the data, but they generally don’t rotate the data off-site, and if they do, they do so infrequently (e.g., monthly). Al- 17 Storage May 2012
  17. 17. Storage though a disaster at a SAS-70 compliant data center is unlikely, it’s not impossible. DR capability from a hosting company is often a significant additional expense and can change the economics of hosting in a hurry. Make sure data isn’t left in a vulnerable state. Backup and recovery. Even if the hosting vendor backs up the data regularly and rotates it off-site frequently, IT organizations may not be out of the woods. Hosting companies usually have a limited number of backup software options and tape technolo- Friendlier face gies. This means their backup format (hardware, software or both)for cloud storage may be incompatible with your IT systems. If an IT organization is forced to do a recovery from the vendor’s tapes, there could be a Beware the storage substantial delay in acquiring the necessary infrastructure. Ensure apocalypse there’s a way out in a worst-case scenario.Cloud archiving Compliance. Archived data that requires special compliance treatment may still be a candidate for cloud hosting. You’ll need to DAS lives ensure the data is retained on immutable media, if required. You’ll probably also need assurance that strict access guidelines are fol- Budgets still lowed and auditable; SAS-70 providers should have such processes challenge storage shops in place. Cost certainty and granularity. One of the key benefits toBig adjustments cloud storage hosting for archiving rather than using in-house in- to handle big data frastructure is that you pay only for the storage consumed. The metering should go up or down with use, though it may have a The effects floor minimum. of flash in the cloud Turn tapes into cloud archives Are diskshortages real? It’s clear that cloud archiving may be attractive to companies with aging data stored on relatively expensive in-house arrays. More questionable is whether or not converting from tape-based ar- chives to cloud archives makes sense. Larger organizations may have tens of thousands of tapes in off-site archives. The process of retrieving all those tapes and reading them onto a cloud archive 18 Storage May 2012
  18. 18. Storage infrastructure is daunting. It also assumes the provider has the necessary hardware to read all the tapes, some of which may be in obsolete formats. Moreover, there’s no way a cloud provider could host such a data volume at anything close to the cost of tapes sit- ting in a glorified warehouse. Disk compression and data dedupli- cation can help significantly, but the difference in cost is still likely to amount to a substantial premium. Even though the hurdles for converting tape to cloud archiving are high, it may still be a consideration. Tapes more than seven Friendlier facefor cloud storage years old are likely to be very expensive—and possibly problemat- ic—to restore. Best practices Beware dictate that organizations It’s clear that cloud the storage apocalypse retrieve and rewrite tapes every five years to ensure archiving may beCloud archiving the data is readable and attractive to companies the format is current. It’s with aging data stored DAS lives a task to be reckoned with. on relatively expensive For example, with a 10,000 in-house arrays. Budgets still tape archive and a five-year challenge storage shops refresh cycle, a company More questionable is would have to refresh 2,000 whether or notBig adjustments tapes each year. That comes converting from to handle big data to approximately eight tapes tape-based archives per workday, which is do- able, but requires a year- to cloud archives The effects of flash in the cloud around effort for what’s makes sense. fundamentally a nonproduc- Are disk tion exercise. Here again, the crux of the matter lies in the prob-shortages real? ability of retrieval. Some organizations choose to allow tapes to become obsolete in the vault with the knowledge that a recovery would be painful, but the probability of needing to restore the data is low enough to be worth the risk. On the other hand, if you know a recovery is all but inevitable, you may opt to incur the time and 19 Storage May 2012
  19. 19. Storage expense of moving from tape to cloud now, thus saving significant time and effort later, perhaps under urgent conditions. That’s not to suggest that tape is losing its role in archiving. It’s still the lowest cost choice for most situations. In addition, LTO’s Linear Tape File System (LTFS) is enabling tape to take on a new role as “tier 4” storage, so it can act as another tier in the cloud (or data center) that’s provi- sioned along with tiers 0, 1, Regardless of context, 2 and 3. In a cloud archive Friendlier face implicit in the notion offor cloud storage environment, this would effectively enable a hybrid archive is time—typically Beware cloud that offers relatively a long time. the storage apocalypse fast access (e.g., minutes) but at the price point of tape for rarely accessed data. The tapes willCloud archiving also have built-in compression, and the options of encryption and WORM. Using automated tiering software, data can be moved auto- DAS lives matically to the archive tier. Budgets still The inevitable “what if” challenge storage shops So far, we’ve painted a fairly positive picture of cloud archiving ser- vices. Usually the effort yields the desired result, but not always.Big adjustments Organizations should consider what would happen if they trans- to handle big data ferred tens of TBs of data to a provider and then failed to realize the desired or contracted results. Sure, penalties might kick in, but The effects small monetary penalties wouldn’t fully compensate for the true of flash in the cloud cost, aggravation or damage to the IT organization’s reputation for delivery. Contingencies begin with a contract that may be ter- Are disk minated without penalty for failure to meet specific performanceshortages real? levels. It should also include a plan for alternative hosting capabili- ties, either back in-house or with another provider. Cloud archiving is fairly low on the list of risky endeavors, but smart organizations will be prepared for anything. n Phil Goodwin is a storage consultant and freelance writer. 20 Storage May 2012
  20. 20. Data Deduplication: Fad, fixture... or just a nice feature? Find out the benefits, drawbacks and functions of this technology with our Top 10 Tips on Data Deduplication:
  21. 21. DAS Friendlier facefor cloud storage Beware the storage apocalypseCloud archiving lives Direct-attached storage may seem passé, but it’s making a comeback and gaining widespread interest. By George Crump DAS lives Budgets still challenge storage shopsBig adjustments to handle big data Direct-attached storage (DAS) is storage installed in a server or The effects of flash in external cabinet that’s still connected directly to the server. DAS is the cloud storage that’s essentially captive to a particular server, so the serv- er doesn’t need to traverse a network to read and write data. Are diskshortages real? DAS has been criticized as an inefficient way to connect stor- age to a server and as an obstacle to the data protection process. Storage that’s locally attached can’t be shared, which can lead to a situation where one server can be running out of disk capacity while others have plenty to spare. Without shared storage, there’s 22 Storage May 2012
  22. 22. Storage no way to balance capacity demands. DAS could complicate the data protection process because each server would have to be backed up individually and the data copied across the network. Alternatively, each server would have its own locally attached tape device and backup application that would add even more complexity to the backup process. Shared storage in the form of a storage-area network (SAN) or network-attached storage (NAS) device was supposed to address these issues and thus hasten the extinction of DAS. But DAS is still Friendlier facefor cloud storage a common method of attaching storage to a server; in fact, it’s enjoyed something of a comeback in recent years. The resurgence Beware reached new heights this year when EMC announced a PCI Express the storage apocalypse (PCIe)-based solid-state storage product designed to enable its networked storage systemsCloud archiving to store some data locally on the server. DAS is still a common DAS lives method of attaching SAN and NAS underdeliver storage to a server; Budgets still challenge One reason DAS continues to in fact, it’s enjoyed storage shops live on is that SAN and NAS something of a come- have largely underdelivered back in recent years.Big adjustments on their promises. SANs were to handle big data supposed to make it easy to create a global pool of storage that could be dynamically divvied The effects up among servers so that only the capacity actually needed at the of flash in the cloud time was assigned to a server. For the first eight years or so of the technology’s existence, this capability was largely unavailable, and Are disk SAN storage had to be hard partitioned to individual servers. Whenshortages real? a server needed more capacity, a new partition had to be allocated to that server and then concatenated into the existing storage pool on the server or, worse, managed separately. The process of adding storage to a server on a SAN was very similar to the prior DAS methodology. 23 Storage May 2012
  23. 23. Storage Data protection was also supposed to get a lot easier. The goal was to back up the SAN directly and not have to back up the indi- vidual servers. While a few software applications were able to ac- complish that feat, all suffered from blindly backing up data and not understanding what that data was. Users quickly realized they needed something called “application awareness” to back up ac- tive applications and then perform intelligent restores. As a result, some form of backup software was required on the servers. Finally, the price of SAN or NAS technology is still significantly Friendlier facefor cloud storage higher than DAS. Many users have decided it’s less expensive to inefficiently directly attach storage than to efficiently share it. Beware To be fair, modern SAN the storage apocalypse and NAS implementa- tions have addressed the One reason DAS continuesCloud archiving early storage allocation to live on is that SAN and shortcomings with tech- NAS have largely underde- DAS lives nologies like thin pro- livered on their promises. visioning. However, the Budgets still time it took to deliver on challenge storage shops the allocation promise allowed DAS to build on its foothold in the data center. But the other challenges remain, for the most part.Big adjustments The primary driver for SAN/NAS adoption has been the advent to handle big data of server and desktop virtualization, since the ability to move vir- tual server images between physical hosts requires shared stor- The effects age. Virtualization also makes application-aware, off-host backup of flash in the cloud viable due to the entire server being a file that can be backed up without interacting with the original physical host. But despite this Are disk new and important use case for shared storage, DAS continues toshortages real? live on in the data center. And its value is increasing. DAS boot One of the key reasons for DAS’s continued popularity in the data center is the need for a local boot drive. While most SANs support 24 Storage May 2012
  24. 24. Storage some form of booting methodology, it still requires specialized host bus adapters (HBAs) and specific support on the SAN storage sys- tem. As a result, most physical servers still boot from DAS storage. Thanks to solid-state drives (SSDs), booting from the local server offers some specific advantages over booting from the SAN. First, servers can now be booted or re-booted in seconds from a local SSD. And the SSD can be used as a virtual memory paging area, which is incredibly important in virtual environments. As hosts in these environments get loaded up with virtual machines (VMs), Friendlier facefor cloud storage they can quickly run out of RAM and begin to use local storage as a memory paging area. If this local storage is hard disk, perfor- Beware mance can degrade substantially. When this local storage is mem- the storage apocalypse ory based, like flash SSD, the drop in performance is negligible. SSD as a boot drive allows forCloud archiving more virtual machines with- out the need to purchase Solid-state storage also DAS lives expensive RAM. plays another role in the resurgence of DAS Budgets still Extending the SAN with DAS adoption: as an extension challenge storage shops Solid-state storage also to the SAN. plays another role in the re-Big adjustments surgence of DAS adoption: to handle big data as an extension to the SAN. Leveraging even higher performing PCIe-based solid-state storage, architectures are now develop- The effects ing that allow the tiering or caching of data directly to the server of flash in the cloud needing it. PCIe SSDs can communicate directly with the CPU and don’t get bogged down by SAS or SATA protocols like typical SSDs. Are disk This again makes an ideal virtual memory paging area for RAM-shortages real? constrained systems, but it’s the tiering or caching use case that’s becoming increasingly interesting. With this architecture, storage systems can intelligently pre- stage the most active data within the PCIe SSD. Then, when a re- quest for data is made by an application or user, it will be available 25 Storage May 2012
  25. 25. Storage for high-speed delivery on the PCIe SSD. This means the applica- tion or user doesn’t have to wait for the request to travel across the storage network, be accepted and processed by the storage controllers, wait for hard drives to rotate into position and then send the requested data or write acknowledgment all the way back up that infrastructure. If successful, this model of storage architecture design Vendors like Nutanix Friendlier face would turn the SAN world up- offer products that side down. Storage on the SANfor cloud storage are clusters of servers would become the central re- Beware pository of information that’s with internal storage the storage apocalypse growing cold and the local to provide a turnkey PCIe SSD DAS would be used cloud compute-type ofCloud archiving for the most active data. The infrastructure suitable SAN would be used for long- term retention or backup, and for more traditional DAS lives the server would be used for data centers. Budgets still active processing. This would challenge storage shops lead to SAN storage system designs where capacity is the focus and performance is less im-Big adjustments portant. But the one downside to native PCIe SSDs is that you can’t to handle big data boot from them, so a local SAS hard drive or even an SSD in a drive form factor would still be required. The effects of flash in the cloud Cloud compute infrastructure Other key drivers for the revival of DAS are the designs of massive Are disk storage environments like those of Facebook, Google and others.shortages real? These systems combine compute and storage on a single server that’s highly networked for communication with the other servers. These systems often have locally attached storage and the ability to access data on other servers. They can even leverage a com- bination of PCIe SSD and hard disk drive (HDD) for booting. These 26 Storage May 2012
  26. 26. Storage online providers and Internet technology companies chose this de- sign so they could get incredibly cost-efficient architectures with the ability to scale easily as new servers were added. This model of DAS converged with compute was thought to be a limited use case, one that only companies with large online apps would deploy. Now, however, thanks again to server virtualiza- tion, there’s often a need to build scalable compute and storage Friendlier face infrastructure simultaneously. Using SSD DAS as afor cloud storage Vendors like Nutanix offer prod- booting and paging ucts that are clusters of servers device can complete Beware with internal storage to provide the storage apocalypse a turnkey cloud compute-type of the storage perfor- infrastructure suitable for more mance picture.Cloud archiving traditional data centers. Server virtualization still needs DAS lives shared storage to move virtual machine images and provide high availability. These converged architectures automatically copy Budgets still data to the other nodes in the cluster so that the virtual machines’ challenge storage shops images are available to any node in the cluster. This “shared DAS” model provides the simplicity and cost effectiveness of local stor-Big adjustments age while providing many of the benefits of a SAN. to handle big data If DAS lives, is SAN dead? The effects DAS isn’t just living, it’s thriving. There are many storage experts of flash in the cloud who believe the data center is moving toward a “DAS mostly” en- vironment, as described above, where the SAN would become the Are disk long-term repository while truly active data gets stored locally onshortages real? the server that needs it. The software to manage this movement of data is maturing quickly and will be used to keep active data locally. It will also be able to acknowledge the writing of new data locally and then sync that data to the capacity SAN in the background. The drivers for a potential shift to this “DAS mostly” model are 27 Storage May 2012
  27. 27. Storage the performance demands of the virtual environment and the per- formance capabilities of solid-state storage. One driver has a need for data locally and the other has the ability to leverage local data by avoiding the latency caused by the storage network. Still lots of storage options As always, there are a lot of potential options for a storage ad- ministrator when dealing with storage challenges. The first step Friendlier face is to invest in a performance analysis tool that can help fine-tunefor cloud storage the current environment. This maximizes the current investment and allows for an informed decision when selecting what step to Beware the storage take next. apocalypse If the network or storage infrastructure can’t be upgraded due to budget or time constraints, then a valid approach would be aCloud archiving strategy of mixing SSD-based DAS with SAN storage. This would provide the benefit of improved performance by eliminating the DAS lives storage network bottleneck for maximum SSD benefit. If a refresh is in the budget, an investment could be made in Budgets still challenge storage network infrastructure and a shared storage system, such storage shops as an all-flash device to eliminate storage performance concerns for the foreseeable future. Still, with this approach, using SSD DASBig adjustments as a booting and paging device can complete the storage perfor- to handle big data mance picture. n The effects George Crump is president of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused of flash in on storage and virtualization. the cloud Are diskshortages real? 28 Storage May 2012
  28. 28. Recovery slows for storage shops Friendlier facefor cloud storage By Rich Castagna Beware the storage apocalypseCloud archiving Storage budgets have been recovering, but progress might be slowing. Storage managers are looking for DAS lives tools to get more out of the gear they have or plan to buy. Budgets still challenge storage shopsBig adjustments to handle Storage managers have been grappling with spiraling disk capac- big data ities and new demands on their data storage infrastructures, while their budgets have dwindled or languished in the doldrums. As we The effects of flash in all strive to regain some measure of predictability, IT planning is still the cloud often a tumultuous affair, and storage shops aren’t immune to the ups and downs of an economy slogging its way to recovery. Are diskshortages real? The past few Storage magazine/ Purchasing Intentions surveys have indicated that recovery is underway, but our most recent survey suggests we may still experience a bump or two on the road to recovery. The good news is that storage managers are as resourceful as ever and more than willing to entertain new tech- nologies to meet demands even if their purses are pinched a bit. 29 Storage May 2012
  29. 29. Storage Budgets growing slower Key stat As the economy swooned in 2009, on a year-over-year basis, storage budgets fell into negative numbers for the first time. It took a year for that to turn around with steady but modest upticks to get back to near-respect- 1.7 petabytes average amount able numbers. The latest survey, however, is less encour- of data that com- aging. Last year, storage budgets averaged 1.9% higher panies are manag- than the previous year’s; this time the difference is only ing on all forms of storage media. 0.8%. Still a positive number, but it appears storage man- agers won’t have a lot more to spend in 2012. In dollar terms, the average 2012 storage budget is By the numbers Friendlier facefor cloud storage approximately $2.7 million, off about 10% from 2011. Big  average company and midsize companies will do more belt tightening than revenue is $1.3 Beware smaller firms: The average enterprise budget is $7.5 mil- billion, slightly the storage less than last apocalypse lion, down almost 10% from last spring, and midsize bud- year’s $1.4 billion. gets slipped 8% to $2.4 million. With an average storage budget of $1.4 million, the picture’s much brighter for  Broken down byCloud archiving company size, year- small companies that have struggled as larger firms over-year storage recovered. budgets have made only small gains: DAS lives 1.1% increase for big companies, 2.3% for midsize and 0.6% for Budgets still storage Budget change year over year small companies. challenge storage shops 5  Budget money will 3.9 be allocated as it 4 has been for sever-Big adjustments 3.2 900 3.7 al years, with disk to handle 3 hardware getting 800 big data 2.9 2 1.8 1.9 the biggest chunk 700 (35%) followed by ADD IN 2012 WILL 1 Spring Fall 0.6 0.8 CURRENTLY INSTALL staff (14%), soft- 600 The effects ware (13%) and main- 09 09 0 % change of flash in TB 500 fees (12%). tenance the cloud 0% -0.4 Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring 400 52 -1 07 07 08 08 10 10 11 11 12 300 Are disk 200 22 27shortages real? -2 -1.9 100 -3 106 0 Small Midsi companies compa #1 # 30 Storage May 2012 24
  30. 30. Storage Disk storage Key stat still top priority Disk systems are still the heart and soul of any storage operation. Our survey companies reported an overall av- 24% say price is erage of 247 TB of data stored on their disks, with large the main factor companies leading with 706 TB; midsize firms reported in choosing a primary disk 277 TB and small companies had 106 TB. Those are pretty system vendor. staggering numbers, which will only grow in 2012 as companies add an average of 41 TB of disk capacity. By the numbers Friendlier face For the first time since we started asking back in 2008, for cloud storage Fibre Channel (FC) wasn’t the most popular type of stor-  Small companies will age system installed. With 58% reporting that they’re add 22 TB of capacity, midsize firms will Beware running network-attached storage (NAS) gear, those file need another 52 the storage storage systems lead the way, with FC (43%) and iSCSI TB (second-highest apocalypse hike we’ve ever seen) (42%) trailing. Looking at plans for 2012 disk-related ex- and big companies penditures, the biggest chunk (34%) will once again go will add 89 TB. Cloud archiving for additional hard drives for existing storage systems—  For respondents a trend we saw starting back in 2007. New NAS systems planning to buy DAS lives are the next-highest priority at 17%, with the rest fairly storage arrays, 43% will go with equally split among FC and iSCSI storage-area networks midrange systems (SANs), hybrid systems and direct-attached storage (DAS). while 32% will opt Budgets still challenge for low-end systems. storage shops  Twenty-seven per- Currently installed disk capacity plus cent will buy DAS capacity to be added in 2012 for new file storage Big adjustments in 2012; the rest will to handle big data split their spends 900 89 among NAS filers 800 (19%), NAS gateways The effects1.8 1.9 700 (15%), virtualiza- WILL ADD IN 2012 tion (11%), clustered of flash in 706 the0.6 cloud 0.8 600 CURRENTLY INSTALLED systems (9%) and the ubiquitous “other” 0 TB 500 (19%).4 Are disk Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring 400 52 shortages real? 10 10 11 11 12 300 200 22 277 100 106 0 Small Midsize Big companies companies companies #2 31 Storage May 2012
  31. 31. Storage Flash is solid storage Key stat alternative Given how slowly storage tends to evolve, the adoption of solid-state storage is something of a phenomenon, going 65% of non-users say 5 from luxury trinket to a key component of scores of sys- solid-state tems in just a 3.9 short years. Right now, 24% of respon- 4 few storage is still 3.2 dents are solid-state drive (SSD) users, with another 10% too expensive. 900 3.7 3 planning to add it this year. Toss in 29% who say they’re 2.9 800 evaluating the technology and that leaves approximately 1.8 1.9 By the numbers 700 2 WILL ADD I 37% on the SSD sidelines. 0.8Two years ago, only CURRENTL 600 Friendlier face 1 Spring Fall 0.6  for cloud storage The most popular spot for SSD is0909 still in storage arrays 0 % change TB 500 10% of respondents 0% -0.4 (67%), but 40% have deployed it in servers, 34% in end- said their companies 400 Spring Fall Spring user systems and 20% inFall caching appliances. Fall Spring Fall Spring were using solid- Spring The average Beware -1 07 07 08 08 10 10 11 11 12 state storage vs. 300 the storage capacity of installed solid-state storage is 9 TB—maybe 24% today. apocalypse not terribly impressive by hard disk standards, but a hefty -2 200 22 -1.9  The average1009 TB of amount of flash that has grown from an average of 6.8 -3 of installed SSD 106Cloud archiving 0 TB two years ago. On average, companies planning to add capacity represents Small solid-state storage in 2012 will up their installed capaci- an increase of 18% companies since last fall and DAS lives ties by 7.1 TB. #1 32% vs. one year ago.  Thirty-one percent Budgets still say they have challenge 10 TB or more of Currently using, planning to deploy storage shops or evaluating solid-state storage SSD installed.Big adjustments Using SSD now 24 to handle big data 10 SPRING 2012 Implementing SSD this year 10 SPRING 2010 6 The effects of flash in 29 the cloud Evaluating SSD 35 No SSD plans 37 Are disk 49shortages real? 0% 10 20 30 40 50 15 #3 12.1 10.8 10.8 10 6.4 32 Storage May 2012 5 4.4
  32. 32. Storage3.2 Cloud storage 900 89 Key stat slowly gaining fans 800 26% 1.8 1.9 700 WILL ADD IN 2012 706 Not too 0.8 ago, it 600 a leap of faith for a company to CURRENTLY INSTALLED Spring Fall 0.6 long took 09 09 0 use a cloud storage500 TB service, especially for housing prima- -0.4 have alreadyFall 400 52 Spring Fall Spring or nearline data. But service providers have made great ry Fall Spring deployed—or 08 10 10 11 11 12 strides in the last couple of years, and they’ve begun to 300 plan to deploy— 277 win over some converts. Today, about 30% of companies 200 22 private storage cloud products. -1.9 use some form of non-backup cloud storage (more on 100 106 cloud backup later); the current survey indicates that 0 Small Midsize Big By the numbers Friendlier face the top three applications are data center primary data companies companies companies #1 for cloud storage (12.1%), disaster recovery (10.8%) and data center nearline  Some cloud use is data (10.8%). To put those numbers in perspective, two substantial: 44% #2 say they have more Beware years ago only 14% were using non-backup cloud storage than 10 TB in the the storage and the top app was DR at 6%. cloud. apocalypse Companies using those cloud storage services have  Only 6% are cur- an average of 19 TB of data stored in the cloud. That’s rently using hybrid 24 Cloud archiving nearly 20% higher than the number reported last fall storage devices, 10 SPRING 2012 when we asked the question for the first time. Current which integrate on- premises storage 10 DAS lives SPRING 2010 users also seem pretty pleased with the services as 83% with a cloud6 plan to add services in 2012, with DR (38%) and storage storage service. 29 for primary data (37%) topping their shopping lists. Budgets still 35  Nine percent of re- challenge porting companies storage shops use a cloud file 37 sharing/synching 49 service; 7% plan to Does your company use cloud storage services for 10 20 30 40 50 these primary or nearline storage applications? add one this year. Big adjustments to handle big data 15 #3 12.1 The effects 10.8 10.8 SPRING 2012 of flash in SPRING 2010 the cloud 10 6.4 6.8 6.6 Are disk shortages real? 5 4.2 4.4 3.3 0% Data center Disaster Data center Archiving Remote office primary data recovery nearline data online data #4 33 Storage May 2012