Storage Short Take #27

In Storage, Technology by J Michel MetzLeave a Comment

A very sad goodbye to one of the storage stalwarts.

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Storage Media and Technology

Intel and Micron have come to an agreement on 3D XPoint wafer supplies.

RedHat is promoting Ceph 4’s ease-of-use and manageability, but I notice what’s missing is any improvement to Ceph’s atrocious reliability and scalability issues.

Seagate has released new M.2 NVMe SSDs for NAS devices. Now, before you get all excited, very, very few of the existing NAS products (especially home NAS devices) are set up for NVMe, let alone M.2. Secondly, this type of drive is for caching and tiering, rather than capacity (despite the availability of ~1TB versions). So, keep its use case in mind when thinking about buying these.

Are you interested in how HPC does storage? This is a good article for giving yourself a basic rundown on High Performance Computing Storage – Hybrid Cloud, Parallel File Systems, Key Challenges, and Top Vendors’ Products.

One of the trends I’ve been noticing recently is a push for more awareness about Ransomware. Now, I’m definitely a fan of protecting yourself against these pieces of scum, but I am wondering why the sudden surge in articles. This one, for instance, talks about how attackers can use your backups against you.

A recent survey done by Coldago Research examines the motivations behind storage purchasing in the US, UK, Germany and France (the latter 3 are summarized as “EU,” since those countries represent ~1/3 the total European users). All it costs is an email address (I recommend a Pseudo-anonymous email service). One of the interesting things is that All Flash Arrays is by far the most common response for what people are considering, but not necessarily NVMe-oF AFAs.

This goes under “Storage Media” because it’s bigger than just one company, but HPE released an urgent fix to four kinds of SSDs in its servers and storage systems that “may experience failure and data loss at 40,000 hours of operations.”. Dell has identified the SSD manufacturer as SanDisk (enterprise account access required).

Enrico Signoretti’s is tracking the status of Object Storage and provided a really good (if high-level) State of the Technology piece.

Samsung has created a pretty interesting method of using ultraviolet light in their manufacturing process, which will lead the way to DDR5 availability in 2021.

I have yet to see an AI program successfully identify spam, so I have absolutely zero confidence in AI interpretations of MRI or X-Ray data. Sounds like something Elizabeth Holmes would push.

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Storage Companies in the News

VMware vSphere 7 adds NVMe-oF support. This is really big news in the world of NVMe.

Gartner has listed off the Best Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions of 2020 (as reviewed by Gartner customers).

IDC has combined the Hyperconverged and Converged Infrastructures into one monolithic number, which makes it difficult to tease out which is which (at least at first glance, I haven’t seen the full report, only the abstract, so I may be missing the crucial tables). Nevertheless, their market analysis indicates 1.1% Y/Y growth, to $4.2B.

StorageNewsletter is compiling a list of the Top Fastest Growing Storage Companies in 2019.

SoftIron has raised $34m. So, here’s the thing. Ceph’s initial promise was that it was able to provide highly reliable storage solutions using cheap, unreliable commodity hardware. SoftIron makes proprietary Ceph appliances (hardware and software), whose value proposition is to avoid “proprietary vendor lock-in.” Should this be called “SoftIrony?”

NetApp is modifying its approach to Kubernetes, closing several of its services as of April 30, 2020. If you are using one of the listed Cloud services by NetApp, you definitely want to read this.

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Industry Associations and Standards

Quantum completes acquisition of WD ActiveScale’s business. ActiveScale is a software-defined storage (SDS) Object Storage solution that Quantum believes will expand their portfolio into other markets.

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Blogs, Webinars and Conferences

NVMe has published two new blogs recently, and in case you missed them earlier, it’s a good way to pick up on some of the most common NVMe-cli commands, as well as NVMe SSD error management capabilities – both written by the incomparable Jonmichael Hands.

This is just astounding. CiscoLive in the US (in June) has just been made virtual. As a former speaker for CL, I can’t help but wonder how that will affect the Distinguished Speaker awards (I know, I know, not the focus right now, but hey – I’m still curious!). Not only that, but they’ve made it free.

LightBits Labs has a webinar on Ceph and how NVMe-oF can help with some of the performance issues Ceph has. Personally, I don’t like Ceph (never hid that) but I do like LBL, which is why I’m including a ‘technical advertisement’ for them here. Plus, they admit that Ceph is bloody slow as molasses in winter in Vermont.

If you want to understand more about NVMe Namespaces, there is a decent webinar from SNIA’s Storage Developer’s conference that includes some use cases. You can (and should) skip past the Micron commercial to 4:00 where he actually starts talking about the technology. Then you can stop when it gets to the Micron commercial for vSAN. The in-between parts are pretty informative.

SNIA NSF put together a webinar on Ethernet-attached SSDs (eSSDs, or E-SSDs): “Brilliant Idea or Storage Silliness?” This has been tried before, of course, with “Object-Drives” using HDDs. Trying this again, but with NVMe-oF, does it make more sense?

Some more webinars that you may find interesting:

A couple of additional conference cancellations/virtualized events:

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Synology News

Synology Workshops 2020 has (naturally) become an virtual event. Why they have specific cities listed for registration I have no idea.

Synology has announced a new home NAS called the DS220j (the last two digits represent the year). I’ve started to really go off these 2-series (i.e., 2-bay) Synologies, myself. I have just found their power reliability to be too flaky for any long-term use. I really like the 4-bay HDD systems for backup, though. I think the hardware is much more sound.

Please see earlier Storage Short Takes for additional Synology advisories. Some of those vulnerabilities are still active.

Low Severity:

Affected: SRM 1.2

Status: Ongoing.

Solution: None.


A vulnerability allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information via a susceptible version of Synology Router Manager (SRM) that is equipped with Broadcom BCM43460.


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Bonus Round

RIP Dave Deming

Now on to the sad news. Dave Deming was integral to storage development and technology for several decades, even being part of the days when Fibre Channel was being written as a specification. He even built a company – Solution Technologies – to help consult and advise developers. He was a mainstay in T11 (Fibre Channel), T10 (SCSI), SNIA and FCIA, among others. He passed away on Monday, March 16, after a long illness. RIP.

Oh, and a very sad farewell to Albert Uderzo, the creator of Asterix and Obelix. The comic series is hilarious (especially if you can read the original French, which has un-translatable humor in the original).

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Special thanks to Sophia Meyer and Diane Marsilli for contributions to this article.

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