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It's the End of Data Storage As We Know It 
(And I Feel Fine!) 
Stephen Foskett 
Community Organizer, Tech Field Day
Outline 
Technological change is finally coming to storage, and it will wipe away 
the architecture we've come to know ove...
Hello! My Name Is Stephen! 
I’m a storage guy… 
…but I love virtualization too! 
You may know me as “the Tech Field Day gu...
Chapter 1: Why Is Storage Like It Is?
Storage Is… 
Data storage – the act of saving information for later use 
Storage is not (necessarily): 
– Disks 
– SCSI 
–...
Prehistoric Evolution of Storage 
Tape 
• “We can store 
stuff!” 
•Good sequential 
throughput; non-existent 
random 
acce...
Three Things Storage Arrays Do Well… 
Acceleration 
• Aggregation (wide-striping) 
• Caching (predictive write-back 
cache...
Ye Olde I/O Path 
Server = HBA = LUN 
Arrays can… 
– Accelerate I/O by predicting 
and pre-filling the cache 
– Move and c...
Today’s Storage Market 
Networked 
Storage 
Arrays 
Capacity Performance 
• SAN and NAS try to strike a balance between ca...
Chapter 2: How Is Storage Changing?
RAID Can’t Keep Up 
RAID is 
inflexible 
RAID is 
bad at 
math 
RAID has 
no (data) 
integrity
Block Storage Is Stupid* 
Object = Data in 
Databases 
File = Remote 
Directories 
Block = Fake Disks 
• Simple high-level...
Moving Beyond Blocks 
Operating systems already speak “file” 
– LAN Manager, SMB/CIFS, NFS 
Hypervisors now speak “file” 
...
What Does Virtualization Do? 
Server ≠ HBA ≠ LUN 
Arrays see a random 
stream of data 
– Acceleration is limited to 
write...
“The I/O Blender” Demands New Architectures 
Server virtualization throws 
block I/O into a blender: 
All I/O is now rando...
What About NFS and SMB? 
File I/O to the Array 
Arrays get better 
information but must be 
specially designed to act 
on ...
Array Integration APIs 
Hypervisor <-> Array 
APIs are a partial solution 
– VMware VAAI = vSphere 
offloaded copy, snapsh...
The Solid-State Storage Fairy 
Solid State Storage is appearing 
everywhere! 
– SSDs in servers and arrays 
– PCIe cards i...
How Fast Is It? 
USB2 Drive 
Memory 
SATA SSD 
SATA HDD 
PCIe Drive 
File Copy 
Server 
Windows 
Datacenter 
Rack
Chapter 3: What Will Storage Look Like?
“Software-Defined”? 
“Computer” 
• People use computers 
• Hardware-oriented, 
“hold it in your hands” 
• Complex, user-fr...
Virtualizing the Controller 
The whole storage 
array can be a virtual 
machine 
Storage arrays can even run virtual 
mach...
Distributed Storage 
Use storage virtualization software 
to combine local storage resources 
Distribute data intelligentl...
The Return of Local Storage 
Block-O-Matic 
Front-End I/O 
ProServer 
Back-End I/O 
Windows 
or 
Hypervisor 
ProServer 
Pr...
Where Should Features Live? 
Software 
Hardware 
We need reliability in software or 
hardware, but not necessarily both 
–...
The Distributed Storage Future 
Capacity Performance 
• Storage is moving out of the network and closer to the servers 
– ...
Disaggregated Storage 
ProServer 
ProServer 
ProServer 
ProServer 
ProServer 
ProServer 
ProServer 
Top-of-rack performanc...
Thank You! 
Stephen Foskett 
stephen@fosketts.net 
twitter.com/sfoskett 
blog.fosketts.net 
TechFieldDay.com
It's the End of Data Storage As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
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It's the End of Data Storage As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

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Technological change is finally coming to storage, and it will wipe away the architecture we've come to know over the last few decades. Say goodbye to the "do it all" Fibre Channel SAN storage array and get ready for converged infrastructure, distributed storage, alternative attachments like PCIe, and top-of-rack flash! In this session, Stephen Foskett will explain why this change is inevitable and how it will shake out. You won't recognize what's coming, but it will be faster, cheaper, and more integrated than ever! Delivered at

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It's the End of Data Storage As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

  1. 1. It's the End of Data Storage As We Know It (And I Feel Fine!) Stephen Foskett Community Organizer, Tech Field Day
  2. 2. Outline Technological change is finally coming to storage, and it will wipe away the architecture we've come to know over the last few decades. Say goodbye to the "do it all" Fibre Channel SAN storage array and get ready for converged infrastructure, distributed storage, alternative attachments like PCIe, and top-of-rack flash! In this session, Stephen Foskett will explain why this change is inevitable and how it will shake out. You won't recognize what's coming, but it will be faster, cheaper, and more integrated than ever!
  3. 3. Hello! My Name Is Stephen! I’m a storage guy… …but I love virtualization too! You may know me as “the Tech Field Day guy” Or perhaps for some other crazy techie nonsense
  4. 4. Chapter 1: Why Is Storage Like It Is?
  5. 5. Storage Is… Data storage – the act of saving information for later use Storage is not (necessarily): – Disks – SCSI – Fibre Channel – RAID – Arrays
  6. 6. Prehistoric Evolution of Storage Tape • “We can store stuff!” •Good sequential throughput; non-existent random access Disk • “Spinning rust” •Reasonable compromise between sequential and random Disk Array • “A bunch of disks pretending to be one” •Faster and redundant
  7. 7. Three Things Storage Arrays Do Well… Acceleration • Aggregation (wide-striping) • Caching (predictive write-back cache) • Tiering (automated SSD tiers) Motion • Local copies (snapshots, mirrors, and data movement) • Remote copies (data replication) Sharing • Multi-client (SAN, NAS) • Multi-protocol (iSCSI/FC/FCoE, NFS/SMB)
  8. 8. Ye Olde I/O Path Server = HBA = LUN Arrays can… – Accelerate I/O by predicting and pre-filling the cache – Move and copy data logically as a whole LUN/server – Share data while knowing “who” is accessing it Block-O-Matic ProServer ProServer ProServer
  9. 9. Today’s Storage Market Networked Storage Arrays Capacity Performance • SAN and NAS try to strike a balance between capacity and performance optimization – The storage network slows performance but allows sharing – Because they are shared, arrays must offer lots of capacity
  10. 10. Chapter 2: How Is Storage Changing?
  11. 11. RAID Can’t Keep Up RAID is inflexible RAID is bad at math RAID has no (data) integrity
  12. 12. Block Storage Is Stupid* Object = Data in Databases File = Remote Directories Block = Fake Disks • Simple high-level protocols for Create, Read, Update, Delete • Independent of data location, protection, hardware •NAS and file servers handle file translation and organization • Data access uses directory location, filename, offset • Filesystem (driver in the computer) locates files • Protocols: SATA, SCSI, Fibre Channel, iSCSI, FCoE, USB, FireWire, thumb drive, etc *I’m being completely serious
  13. 13. Moving Beyond Blocks Operating systems already speak “file” – LAN Manager, SMB/CIFS, NFS Hypervisors now speak “file” – VMware = NFSv3 – Hyper-V = SMB3 Applications speak “file” or “object” – File = POSIX, Windows APIs, etc – Object = Amazon S3, etc
  14. 14. What Does Virtualization Do? Server ≠ HBA ≠ LUN Arrays see a random stream of data – Acceleration is limited to write-back and “most-recently used” caching – Moves and copies of whole LUNs are less useful – Shared access leads to locking conflicts Block-O-Matic VM Guest VM Guest VM Guest Hypervisor
  15. 15. “The I/O Blender” Demands New Architectures Server virtualization throws block I/O into a blender: All I/O is now random! – Caching pre-fetch is confounded – Granular movement is impossible – Shared storage is stymied
  16. 16. What About NFS and SMB? File I/O to the Array Arrays get better information but must be specially designed to act on it – Thin provisioning and acceleration can work better – No locking issues – VAAI and VSS may allow per-file movement File-O-Matic VM Guest VM Guest VM Guest Hypervisor
  17. 17. Array Integration APIs Hypervisor <-> Array APIs are a partial solution – VMware VAAI = vSphere offloaded copy, snapshots, thin provisioning – Microsoft ODX = Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V offloaded copy & thin provisioning – VMware VASA enhances vSphere automation Block-O-Matic VM Guest VM Guest VM Guest Hypervisor ODX VAAI VASA
  18. 18. The Solid-State Storage Fairy Solid State Storage is appearing everywhere! – SSDs in servers and arrays – PCIe cards in servers and arrays – Dedicated appliances and arrays Solid state storage can be used in many different ways – Read-only cache – Read/write cache – Tiered storage arrays – All-solid state arrays ProServer SS D SAN/LAN SS D Some use NAND flash, others use DRAM Stor-O-Matic Super-SSD SS D SS D SS D SS D
  19. 19. How Fast Is It? USB2 Drive Memory SATA SSD SATA HDD PCIe Drive File Copy Server Windows Datacenter Rack
  20. 20. Chapter 3: What Will Storage Look Like?
  21. 21. “Software-Defined”? “Computer” • People use computers • Hardware-oriented, “hold it in your hands” • Complex, user-friendly interfaces “Server” • Computers use servers • Operating system and hypervisor-focused • Standards-based protocol interfaces “Platform” • Applications use platforms • Software-only, “bits and bytes” • Application programming interfaces (APIs)
  22. 22. Virtualizing the Controller The whole storage array can be a virtual machine Storage arrays can even run virtual machines Block-O-Matic Front-End I/O ProServer Back-End I/O Hypervisor
  23. 23. Distributed Storage Use storage virtualization software to combine local storage resources Distribute data intelligently – Across devices for reliability – Tiered flash + disk Scale with clients No expensive SAN or storage network needed! ProServer ProServer ProServer Shared Storage: Distribution and Protection
  24. 24. The Return of Local Storage Block-O-Matic Front-End I/O ProServer Back-End I/O Windows or Hypervisor ProServer ProServer ProServer Shared Storage: Distribution and Protection
  25. 25. Where Should Features Live? Software Hardware We need reliability in software or hardware, but not necessarily both – If operating systems don’t provide reliability, scalability, and manageability, then server hardware must – Server virtualization can add these features, so you don’t necessarily need them in hardware! “The marginal cost of reliable hardware is linear while the marginal cost of reliable software is zero.” – Sam Johnston
  26. 26. The Distributed Storage Future Capacity Performance • Storage is moving out of the network and closer to the servers – Software manages data sharing – Low-latency connections allow much greater performance – Low-cost JBOD is for bulk storage Distributed Flash Distributed JBOD
  27. 27. Disaggregated Storage ProServer ProServer ProServer ProServer ProServer ProServer ProServer Top-of-rack performance Speedy high-performance storage: • InfiniBand • PCIe flash high cost, high performance Bottom-of-rack capacity Scaly capacity-oriented storage: • SAS JBOD • Object store • Cloud gateway low cost, low performance Tied together with software! Flashy! Scaly!
  28. 28. Thank You! Stephen Foskett stephen@fosketts.net twitter.com/sfoskett blog.fosketts.net TechFieldDay.com

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