Don't start reading the last rites for monolithic storage just yet

But other tech can simply do the job better, sorry


Monolithic storage arrays may well claim that rumours of their death have been exaggerated, but that doesn't mean that they aren't entering the digital care-home for the soon-to-be-departed.

These boxes — the mainframes of storage — are magnificent beasts, like do-everything battleships of the storage wars in an era in which they have become outdated, with other various other ships taking over their roles.

A monolithic storage array, like EMC's VMAX, HDS' VSP and IBM's DS8000, has massive capacity from ranks of SSDS and disk drives of various types.

It can support thousands of users because it has multiple controllers connected across a high-speed backplane to storage shelves supporting petabytes of capacity.

The VMAX3 array supports 4PB of usable capacity (c7PB raw) data with up to 5,760 2.5-inch drives.

These things have a whole arsenal of different media types; SSDs for extreme response, fast 2.5-inch disks for quick, multi-spindle response, mid-speed 3.5-inch drives for bulk on-line capacity, and slower 3.5-inchers for nearline data.

Monolithic arrays don't just store one kind of data, and that, as capacity needs in the different data types grows, is leading to their downfall (and their rapidly aging software designs of course).

This is despite their legendary reliability and unsurpassed overall set of features.

Think of the monoliths as providing storage for many kinds of data rather than being used exclusively for one type, such as database data. Over the two or more decades that monolithic arrays have evolved their capabilities have evolved as well.

They are high-performance and very safe repositories for several types of data:

  • Fast, medium and slow access-rate structured block and file data
  • Semi-structured data such as mail and word-processing files, spreadsheets and presentations
  • Large to-be-streamed files such as videos
  • Unstructured data
  • Medium and low-access rate nearline data

The truth is that replacement storage technology for each of the main data types stored in the monoliths is better than what the monoliths can provide. Yes, elephants can run, but they can't dance very well, can't really sprint, can't turn somersaults elegantly, can't ... you get the idea.


Other stories you might like

  • Cheers ransomware hits VMware ESXi systems
    Now we can say extortionware has jumped the shark

    Another ransomware strain is targeting VMware ESXi servers, which have been the focus of extortionists and other miscreants in recent months.

    ESXi, a bare-metal hypervisor used by a broad range of organizations throughout the world, has become the target of such ransomware families as LockBit, Hive, and RansomEXX. The ubiquitous use of the technology, and the size of some companies that use it has made it an efficient way for crooks to infect large numbers of virtualized systems and connected devices and equipment, according to researchers with Trend Micro.

    "ESXi is widely used in enterprise settings for server virtualization," Trend Micro noted in a write-up this week. "It is therefore a popular target for ransomware attacks … Compromising ESXi servers has been a scheme used by some notorious cybercriminal groups because it is a means to swiftly spread the ransomware to many devices."

    Continue reading
  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    As shareholders sue the social network amid Elon Musk's takeover scramble

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading
  • Snowflake stock drops as some top customers cut usage
    You might say its valuation is melting away

    IPO darling Snowflake's share price took a beating in an already bearish market for tech stocks after filing weaker than expected financial guidance amid a slowdown in orders from some of its largest customers.

    For its first quarter of fiscal 2023, ended April 30, Snowflake's revenue grew 85 percent year-on-year to $422.4 million. The company made an operating loss of $188.8 million, albeit down from $205.6 million a year ago.

    Although surpassing revenue expectations, the cloud-based data warehousing business saw its valuation tumble 16 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. Its stock price dived from $133 apiece to $117 in after-hours trading, and today is cruising back at $127. That stumble arrived amid a general tech stock sell-off some observers said was overdue.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022