Storage Short Take #3

Don’t know if we’ll have time for another one in 2018, so this may be the last Short Take of the year. In any case, away we go!

Media News

Remember in the last Storage Take when we talked about Western Digital? Well, it didn’t take long for Seagate to raise it’s hand as well. Seagate is now talking about 16TB and 20TB HAMR drives.

Not too far behind, though, is Toshiba as they announce 12TB and 14TB models for NAS Performance applications.

Toshiba has also announced that it now is including a 4TB option for its portable hard drives. When I do a quick search on Amazon it looks like it’s running about $110. Not bad for that much capacity.

Samsung has been on an absolute tear in the patent realm, having been assigned eight patents including, “Storage device including internal hardware filter and data processing, storage apparatus, coding unit, storage device including nonvolatile memory, operating storage device determining wordlines for writing user data depending on reuse period, storage device including nonvolatile memory, storage device including buffer and main memories, storage devices including storage controller circuits, controlling temperature of non-volatile storage device.”

Not to be outdone, Veritas was recently assigned six storage patents as well, including “Performing fencing operations in multi-node distributed storage, modifying track logs during restore processes, OS installation using logical volumes, space reservation in storage environment, automated delivery and identification of virtual drives, storage tier selection for replication and recovery.”

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Storage Companies in the News

WekaIO – a parallel file system company – takes second place in IO-500 10 Node Challenge. It’s good to see that WekaIO is putting their claims to the test with some industry benchmarks.

The Register reports that HPE is looking to add storage-class memory to its storage portfolio, especially into the Nimble arrays. This is inevitable, but it’s worth determining just what the limitations are going to be when you start putting SCM at the end of a network. See below for some vendor-neutral webinars on the topic to get a good background.

With all the M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions) activity in the past couple of years, it’s easy to get lost if you don’t have a regularly updated scorecard. Marvell Technology completed its acquisition of Cavium (which, as you may recall, gobbled up storage interconnect vendor QLogic just a year or so before) in July, 2018. Marvell has apparently seen the writing on the wall, with major developments by Intel, as well as aggressive M&A moves by Broadcom, and isn’t going to be left behind at all. Marvell sees 2019 as a bullish prospect, now that the bumpy nature of accounting practices appears to be behind them.

Have you ever heard of Liqid? No? I’m not surprised. It’s a “composable server infrastructure” company that has been struggling to make headway and noise in the hyper converged space, despite having some pretty impressive software features. Well, it appears the technology might have finally caught up to their vision, as adding Optane to their architecture may finally make the “composable” aspect doable.

Now that the NVMe™ specification has been completed and ratified, it’s no wonder that LightBits Labs is crowing from the rooftops (as they’ve been the lead authors of the specification). In fact, Sagi Grimberg and I will be doing a webinar in early 2019 about the networking aspect of NVMe™/TCP, for which there will be information below.

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Not surprisingly, the rivalry between Cohesity and Rubrik remains in lockstep. Both companies send out press releases on pretty much the same day that they are gaining tighter integration with AWS.

If you’ve read anything that I’ve written before about Synology, you know that I’m a big fan. But as Synology announces their DS1819+, I’m particularly excited about the possibility of being able to install one 10GBe add-on card. I’ve been dying to insert 10GbE storage into my home lab and really push the pedal to the medal, as it were. I’m just having trouble finding out which add-in cards are supported, unfortunately.

Industry News

It’s taken a little longer than was expected, but the NVM Express, Inc. organization recently completed the NVMe-MI™ (management interface) specification 1.1. You may have heard me talk about this in some of the presentations I’ve done, but this is particularly important as it adds in-band management, enclosure management, and unified management for multi-NVMe device subsystems. In other words, the MI spec helps enable many new form factors for a plethora of possible deployment options.

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Conferences

Early December saw the NVMe Developer Days (not put on by the NVM Express, Inc., organization, but done in conjunction with them). You can download the proceedings as they become available.

The SNIA Member’s Symposium will be held from Monday, January 21 – Friday, January 25, 2019 in Santa Clara, CA. Probably one of the best “sleeper” conferences about storage, every subject you can think of – from networking to solid state to management to form factors, etc. will be covered. Also part of the symposium is the Persistent Memory Summit, which has shown itself to be the forward-looking venue on persistent memory (also called Storage Class Memory) in the industry.

CiscoLive-Europe will be held in Barcelona, Spain, from January 28-February 1, 2019. I’ll be speaking on NVMe and NVMe over Fabrics Deep Dive, BRK2494 at 11:30am (local time) on Friday, Feb 2. I’ll be there the entire week, however, and available for meet ups and ask-the-engineer.

Analyst Reports and News

ActualTech media and Western Digital released a report on the hype surrounding NVMe, posted to Tegile’s website. As much as I like and respect all those involved, take this with the usual grains of salt. The main problem I have with these “other people think so too” surveys is that it encourages group-think and de-emphasizes an audit of what each implementation actually requires. Nevertheless, I can’t find too many flaws in this report about the attitudes and beliefs of people considering NVMe, and so I include it here.

Storage Webinars and Presentations

The last couple of weeks has been really busy.

Above I promised a link to a webinar provided by SNIA Networking Storage Forum (NSF) about Extending RDMA for Persistent Memory over Fabrics. Here is the Q&A Blog for that presentation for additional information.

In its first perfect 5.0 star rating ever received, the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) put in an advanced seminar on 64GFC: Will You Still Love Me When I Turn 64GFC. You can also download the PDF and (eventually) see the Q&A from the webinar at the FCIA website.

I had a blast talking about the Network Impact of NVMe™ over Fabrics (NVMe-oF™) with Ivan Pepelnjak over at ipSpace.net. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. I did take the (justified) feedback that I will need to slow down a bit to help those without a native English background, and will attempt to do better next time.

Join me here!

I am also going to be talking about Networking and NVMe-oF at the Packet Pushers Virtual Design Clinic #3, and it looks like the scope of the entire day is awesome. That will be on Wednesday,  December 19, from 8:00am-12:00pm PST.

If you ever wanted to know more about Virtualization and Storage Networking Best Practices, you’ll be hard pressed to find better people to learn from than Cody Hosterman and Jason Massae. They’ll be joining me at SNIA on January 17, 2019.

Finally, Sagi Grimberg and I will be discussing NVMe™/TCP. We’re in the midst of finalizing that one, so stay tuned!

Ongoing Projects

I’m looking to test some backup software, as I think that the Synology Backup solution is good, but certainly imperfect. They’ve made a few updates and I want to run them through the ringer a bit now that there have been some updates.

However, there are a few additional ones that I need to take a serious look at as well:

Nakivo: Availabilty of Backup & Replication V8.1 Software

Acronis has got some fiercely loyal customers, and I’m curious to see what the hubbub is about.

Additionally, I’ve been horrifically lax in paying attention to the Noobaa NFR license I’ve been given for evaluation. So that’s on the charts as well.

Bonus Round

Cohesity bought themselves an RV.

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