Storage Short Take #25

What is and is not a “NVMe drive,” understanding fio tests for storage performance,  a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel survey, some very high-quality webinars, and more. As always, links were live at the time of publication.

Storage Media and Technology

Intel has published a marketing brief (sorry, white paper) on whether Optane (the foundational technology behind 3D XPoint) is memory, storage, or both. (Spoiler: Both).

So this is interesting. Canon has decided to launch it’s own Cloud service – image.canon – for customers of Canon products with the specific goal of “enhancing” the photography post-processing integration between devices. The reason why it’s interesting to me is that there are several cloud service offerings available already, including Adobe’s and SmugMug’s, which cover more than just Canon gear.

1000 Fish Surveyed: Water is Wet

A survey done of AWS re:Invent attendees revealed some not-very-suprising results. For one thing, most of them manage more than 1 Billion files. Second, managing unstructured data is hard. I’ve seen this story reprinted a few times by a number of different outlets, and it’s newsworthiness is lost on me. Attendees of AWS manage a lot of unstructured data, and they have challenges in their jobs. Really? This is a surprise?

Okay, this kind of thing really ticks me off. Here we have an (not the only one, mind you) advertisement for a “Thunderbolt 3 NVMe drive.” Let me put this very simply: This is not a native NVMe device. This is a Thunderbolt 3 device that happens to have a NVMe-protocol drive inside of it. Your computer goes through a Thunderbolt controller to talk to the drive – it does not use NVMe to talk to the drive. The addition of “NVMe” here is a red-herring. (For comparison, take a look at this “non-NVMe” external SSD that doesn’t bother to explain the protocol at all).

Techspot has a series on the anatomy of a hard drive, which includes spinning disk, solid state, and optical drives.

If you can cope with the incessant and obtrusive ads that pop up in your face left and right, Macworld has an interesting article on how various cloud services work for Macs, iPhones, and iPads.

Chris Evans has a really good article on what happens when HDDs go to die. It’s well worth a read.

Jonmichael Hands wrote yet another really good blog on the Open Source NVMe management utility in Linux: NVMe-CLI. It’s on the “let’s go really deep” side, if you’re not used to that sort of thing, but if you are looking to find out more information about managing NVMe inside of Linux, this is an excellent place to go.

Will NVMe-oF eliminate iSCSI? Here’s one take.

Ars Technica asks, “How fast are your disks? Find out the open source way, with fio.” In all honesty, this is one of the best breakdowns of fio that I’ve seen. Not only does it explain – in Plain English, mind you – what it is that we’re measuring in storage (and why), but then it explains how to put it into practice with the software. All in all, a really good article.

Is this the year for NVMe to “break out?” I don’t want to contradict my good friend Cameron Brett, here, but I have felt that it already has.

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Storage Companies in the News

Dell and Symphony have reached an agreement for the latter to buy RSA.

Infinidat claims that they have deployed more than 6 Exabytes of data, worldwide. That’s impressive by any measure.

Paragon Software has released a free backup software package for Mac OS Catalina. Too bad I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a grapefruit spoon than use Catalina…

This is a really, really good summary of the status of Computational Storage, and the state of the technology and players involved. It’s definitely worth a read if this is on your radar.

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Webinars and Conferences

If you’re into NVMe and SPDK, there’s no shortage of information that you can find out about either technology. Back at SNIA’s Storage Developer Conference, Jm Harris co-presented an update on SPDK that I thought was really great, but it dawned on me that we didn’t have much information that was easily consumable on Where SPDK fits into the NVMe-oF Landscape. Jim agreed to bring in his colleague Ben Walker to tie those two threads together, and – as I suspected – tapped into a need. Scoring a phenomenal 4.9/5.0 rating, they really Brough their game, and were kind enough to provide thorough answers to some very good questions.

Earlier we spoke of object storage and the non-survey survey of AWS attendees. If you want to find out more about the technology itself, I encourage you to look at the recent webinar on Object Storage by SNIA’s NSF with Chris Evans and Rick Vanover.

If you or your company is a member of NVM Express, you can now register for the Annual NVMe Membership Summit April 20-21. Sadly, I will not be there this year, as it coincides with the annual Moab Jeeping trip. Hey, priorities, ya know?

Do you remember Ethernet-Attached Object Drives? They didn’t really take off. Will NVMe-based Ethernet SSDs fare better? SNIA’s Networking Storage Forum is tackling that question with a new webinar: Ethernet-attached SSDs—Brilliant Idea or Storage Silliness? Mark your calendars for March 17.

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Bonus Round

I’m not sure that there is anything earth-shattering in this piece from Martin Cooper about storage being the weakest link for IT admins, but he touches on some pretty good points made as part of his opinion piece.

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