In a couple of hours I’ll be airborne again heading west towards Silicon Valley. This time it’s for Storage Field Day 10 or #SFD10 on the Twitters. It’s the usual recipe: 12 delegates from around the world and 9 companies (start-ups and established companies alike) explaining their vision on the storage market and how their products work. I love these events because in three days time we’ll be bombarded with a whole lot of information on existing and upcoming storage tech. In my mind, there’s no other event with this information density: afterwards it usually takes a couple of days to let it all trickle through. Or as we say in Dutch, “make cheese out of it”… (of course it’s about cheese)
Good news: I will be flying out to Storage Field Day 10 which will take place in Silicon Valley on May the 24th till the 27th. Nine companies will be presenting, of which one company came out of stealth just yesterday! Some of these companies I’ve met at earlier Storage Field Days and I’m looking forward to the progress they’ve made over the last couple of months.
I first met the Nimble Storage team at Storage Field Day 6. Back then they impressed mightily with InfoSight: Nimble’s cloud based management platform for their storage arrays. It offered proactive failure detection by gathering statistics from all Nimble Storage arrays and using that intel to automatically resolve issues before they could become a hassle for the customer. It also allowed the Nimble engineering teams to blacklist upgrade paths, making sure that a known faulty software upgrade did not inadvertedly cause downtime on other storage arrays. Now, a year later, Nimble is celebrating its fifth birthday and I can’t help but notice: it’s come far since the start-up phase.
NexGen has been building hybrid storages for several years: systems with spinning disks for capacity and flash for performance. This is a skill set that will not go away with the onset of all-flash Arrays. There are many types of flash available and each type of non-volatile memory will have advantages and disadvantages in capacity, performance, cost, power draw, etc. Mixing those characteristics properly inside one array allows a vendor to leverage the strengths of each technology. Say Hi to the hybrid all-flash arrays!
Reliability of a system is usually expressed as a percentage of uptime. A system that has an uptime of at least 99,9% should typically not exceed an unplanned downtime of roughly 8 hours and 45 minutes each year. ‘Five nines’ or 99,999% of availability is often used in IT: this equates to roughly 5 minutes of downtime on a yearly basis. For Infinidat this wasn’t good enough, so they built the Infinibox with a reliability of 99,99999%. That’s only 3.2 seconds of downtime per year. Yikes!
I can’t hide the fact I was looking forward to the Qumulo presentation at Storage Field Day 8: I love scale-out NAS systems, with all the advantages they bring in terms of performance, scalability, manageability and upgradeability. I quickly learned that the founders of Qumulo previously worked on Isilon and OneFS. I work with Isilons in the field, so my interest was peaked
Back to Qumulo: they build a data-aware, scale-out, primary storage system. And it’s software defined. Meaning you’ll have full flexibility in the hardware you want to use and how big/fast/expensive you want to make the system. Plus it also gives you real-time insight into the data on the Qumulo system. Interested? Read on!
Back at Storage Field Day 8, Cohesity presented their newly announced solution to optimize secondary storage usage and how to get more bang for your buck on secondary storage. One critical thing to note here is that Cohesity changes the definition of secondary storage! In their view, secondary storage is everything that’s not Tier 1, high performance, mission critical stuff. So yes, that’s backups.. but it’s also test and development, file shares, archives, etc.
No matter the brand, type, size or performance of you storage system, they should all have one thing in common: stability. Pure Storage talked about their systems design at Storage Field Day 8, which centers around “non disruptive everything”. Not only the hardware, but also the software running on top of it. Because in an ideal world, the storage system should only go down 5 years after your installation date when you’re replacing it with a new one. And in Pure’s case this means: never.
Coho Data was first to present at Storage Field Day 8 last October, with Andy Warfield (co-founder and CTO) running the entire presentation start to finish. We knew what to expect: last year Andy also presented at SFD6 and cooked the brains of half the delegates. So this time we came prepared, with ample coffee and not too much breakfast in our stomachs. And we weren’t disappointed: Andy gave a crystal clear company mission to us (NOT focused on the ever-so-hyped “disruption”, but instead on transformation), backed with ample of shiny tech and intelligence inside the Coho array. So what is Coho Data trying to do and how?
Typing this at Schiphol airport, I can’t help feeling slightly tired. The alarm clock started blaring at 03:00 this night and with that, my trip to Storage Field Day 8 has officially started. With the first leg of the journey from DUS to AMS being over already, I can now settle for the long haul to SFO. It’s bound to be an incredibly exciting week once again and I’m looking forward to meeting up with a lot of familiar faces, two new members of the Tech Field Day family and 10 super exciting companies. Stroopwafels incoming!