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Self-aware storage? It'll be fine. Really - your arrays aren't the T-1000

Smarter, savvier boxes will change the way we look at infrastructure

Comment In the last few months I have had several interesting briefings with storage vendors. Now, I need to stop and try to connect the dots, and think about what could come next.

It’s incredible to see how rapidly the storage landscape is evolving and becoming much smarter than in the past. This will change the way we store, use and manage data and, of course, the design of future infrastructure.

I recently put a few ideas together in a couple of posts, here and here, but I will try to develop my thoughts even further now.

Storage isn’t storage any longer

Most of us still think about storage as a box full of disks (or flash). That’s a misconception. Yes, there are still plenty of solutions based on dumb boxes full of disks, but this is not the point.

If you are thinking about complex environments and you want best-of-breed solutions to achieve maximum efficiency, performance and scalability, then you probably need to look at something else.

From my point of view, there are two trends that have to be considered.

Distributed-system design

Many of the most recent storage architectures were thought up as distributed systems that can act as storage systems. This is a paradigm shift and modern scale-out storage is based on this concept, as well as hyper-converged infrastructure.

In some cases, such as object storage platforms, for example, distributed databases, like Cassandra, are at the core of the product – if you need examples, just take a look at this video about Cloudian, recorded at Storage Field Day 7, or at Hedvig's website.

This is the best way to avoid any kind of bottleneck and linearly scale both in performance and capacity by simply adding nodes. while at the same time, granting best availability and resiliency.

This kind of design is not to be considered a must, of course, as not all organisations need massive scalable systems. But, especially for secondary storage, the Petabyte is no longer a chimera, even for mid-sized organisations.

At this point, storing data "as is" is just the first step, and you can leverage cluster resources to do much more.

Next page: Awareness

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