Several years ago, The Register absorbed the storage-focused Blocks and Files website because storage news was becoming mainstream IT industry news. The bits and bytes making up blocks, files and objects were becoming so large in number that developing storage arrays to hold them was a complex business and getting more so.
There were energetic startups: remember Data Domain, LeftHand Networks, 3PAR and many others? There were also myriad inventive software startups with better ways of organising and accessing data. Data deduplication technology rewrote the data protection business – remember Ocarina? Flash chip capacity grew and SSDs became important – and STC, FusionIO and CZ were all a part of it.
All-flash arrays became possible, then practicable, then standard, and there was a wave of acquisitions and waves of startups too, with Pure emerging as the top startup dog. Software-defined storage came along and is still trying to revolutionise the industry. Object storage ditto. Holographic storage came and went – leaving an optical storage niche behind.
Tape refused to die, with fewer companies, fewer formats, but steadily growing exabytes of data stored on tape cartridges with regular roadmaps for capacity increases. Disk capacities increased as the suppliers consolidated to just three.
The next big storage hardware and software thing was hyperconverged infrastructure. With Nutanix, SimpliVity and others and another round of acquisitions, Nutanix remained as the most successful standalone startup survivor.
Then, in 2016, Dell bought EMC in the biggest storage related acquisition ever.
Now we have a wave of NVMe protocol adoption sweeping the industry along multi-level cell and multi-layer flash and persistent memory. Clever metadata farmers are devising ever more ingenious ways to harness unstructured data’s metadata : Cohesity, Rubrik, Igneous, Komprise, Hammerspace and many more data management startups are the result.
The data protection space is crackling with energy: a spun-out Veritas, an aggressive Acronis, Arcserve and Assigra, Barracuda, Commvault, Druva and Veeam.
While all this has been going on, the IT tech universe has extended its tentacles virtually everywhere, with AI, Big Data, IoT, smart cities, self-driving cars, social media and more.
So the Blocks and Files website has been reborn as a sister publication to The Register, like The Next Platform, which offers in-depth coverage of high-end computing at large enterprises, supercomputing centers, hyperscale data centres, and public clouds. B&F will report on storage, try to explain the technologies, solicit views and throw out a few opinions about one of the most simple and yet complicated tasks in the whole of IT: storing and accessing bits and bytes in a universe where exabytes are becoming commonplace..
We’re staring into a future beyond exabytes, into the zettabyte era and Blocks and Files aims to cover the journey. Come along with us – it’s going to be fascinating. ®