2009’s big STORies

by Robin Harris on Monday, 28 December, 2009

2009 has been an eventful year: the Great Recession has driven big changes in enterprise behavior, opening up the field to many new players. Isilon, for one, is reporting healthy growth and they were on the ropes 2 years ago.

Those changes are reflected in my take on the biggest stories of the year:

(8) Tiny server clusters
Instead of putting many virtual eggs in one power-hungry basket, why not build low-power/low-cost servers that don’t need VM software at all?

Microslice servers achieve availability through cheap redundancy. Of course, no enterprise salesman will sell them, so if their advantages prove out the efficiency gap between cloud and enterprise shops will only grow.

(7) Nightmare on DIMM street
Bianca Schroeder’s, et. al. finding that DRAM is hundreds to thousands of times more error-prone than chip vendors said means that every device that claims to be “enterprise” better have at least SECDED – single error correction/double error detection – ECC.

(6) Apple drops ZFS
A golden opportunity to bring a 21st century file system to millions of people sank without a trace. But if the Sun/Oracle deal gets closed it might be revived.

(5) Data Domain bidding war
An EMC blogger was trashing DD 2 weeks before the bid – and singing their praises after it. So what else is new?

EMC legitimized dedup – and the bastards say welcome.

(4) Cluster-based scale-out storage
HP bought IBRIX and Isilon is growing fast – storage clusters have arrived. EMC will continue to pooh-pooh it until they get Atmos functional – or maybe they’ll bite the bullet and buy someone who already has it working.

(3) Flash
STEC’s 10x stock leap – and crash – to everyone announcing flash drives and cards and appliances: this is not a flash in the pan. Fusion-io’s big OEM deals and announcements by newcomers say the party is just getting started.

(2) Cisco’s bong-sized cloud
Cisco’s UCS may not be a success, but they have forced everyone to rethink their businesses. Is a new round of verticalization about to begin as big companies seek to drive growth by taking away their former “partner’s” markets?

It used to be a commonplace that he who owned the customer’s data owned the business, but the horizontal model of the last 25 years changed that. But if the Oracle/Sun deal completes, Cisco will find that Oracle’s grip is tighter, giving HP and Cisco common cause once again.

(1) Cloud infrastructure
Unlike some other hype-driven IT trends, cloud infrastructure is here to stay because Google, Amazon, Yahoo and Microsoft have proven it makes economic sense. Which is more than client-server had going for it for many years.

Smart IT people looking to demonstrate added-value will figure out how to leverage that for real competitive advantage over less-nimble foes. It isn’t a quick fix though and enterprises will need to think long term – a skill rusty from disuse.

The StorageMojo take
Like a termite-riddled barn after a heavy snow, the Great Recession is seeing old models collapse. We can’t afford to keep doing what we’ve been doing.

As the new models emerge, competition will grow in the hot areas, leading to even more innovation in the next 3 years than we’ve seen in the last 5. More on that in a future post.

Courteous comments welcome, of course.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom December 28, 2009 at 11:54 am

deduplication built into ZFS is surely bigger then ZFS not in MacOSX.

I can build a storage system with compression, deduplication, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS, snapshots and triple parity RAID by downloading free software and installing it on commodity hardware.

Dave December 28, 2009 at 8:36 pm

I wonder how Sun’s recent round of layoffs affects that statement?

Andrey Kuzmin December 29, 2009 at 9:17 am

Agree with Tom, but I’d rather nominate zfs in general (including Sun’s FishWorks) in top ’09 storage stories. May be this is what #6 in your list was left vacant for :).

nomen December 29, 2009 at 9:19 am

What happened to 6?

Robin Harris December 29, 2009 at 9:56 am

Re: #6 – boy, HTML sure can be finicky! Not exactly sure what I did wrong, but it’s fixed now.


Visiotech January 3, 2010 at 10:02 pm

On your Tiny server clusters, if I can run several independent apps on my little laptop why servers cannot run more than one apps at the time native or without some kind of server virtualization? What is wrong with this approach?

I think OS and applications architects must look backward at mainframe like to save cost on management and software cost who’s now higher than hardware cost.

Get ride of these high cost virtualization, duplicate software/storage license fees and go native…if the OS with several apps can stand…like the old IBM mainframe does since years…

Typical Small/Medium size corporations scenario…

Is your corporation truly need 10 database servers and licenses to create 2GB of new data per day?

Is your corporation need to maintain less than 2TB worth of active data…when it can now be store on a less than a handful of disks…or few SSD with server memory…

Is your databases servers containing more than 60% the same information…

Here is what I call cost saving…

2010 should be the applications and OS re-engineering. Just after we’ve done just about everything we possibly could on the hardware side…server and storage virtualization included.

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