Storage Short Take #38

In Storage, Technology by J Michel Metz

So Much Content, So Little Time

We're into conference season, although the stress of burnout and fatigue is very real. Part of my job is to get involved in a lot of these (either as a planner, a presenter, or a moderator), and I am getting more and more concerned that people consume the presentations with a diminishing return.

This is particularly true as we struggle to construct these events. Should they be in-person? Hybrid? Remote? How can we provide meaning to attendees? What are the risks involved with unexpected government interference/regulations (yes, these are very real concerns).

Personally, I value the content. I particularly appreciate the fact that it's recorded so that I can return to the presentation when necessary to grab specific pieces of information - this is not always possible when attending in person (you may get the slides, but you don't have the access to the presenter's narrative which can be critical)

I miss the interpersonal interaction, however. I miss the capability of being able to engage with other attendees over a dinner or drinks and talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I do miss the candor. I miss the characters that you always see in these conferences.

But I'm not going to lie. The thought of traveling nowadays scares the bejesus out of me. The TSA gauntlet has always been a particular thorn in my side, but now we've entered a true land of insanity. The anxiety and stress has reached chronic proportions when it comes to venturing out into the world of travel.

For now, I'll have to live with the fact that the trade-off is a matter of dealing with the lesser of two evils. It certainly isn't as if I have too little content to catch up on, and not enough time to do it.  Between SDC and VMWorld, my dance card is definitely full.


Storage Media and Technology

Avishay Traeger published a blog article on designing efficient file operations at cloud scale. In the storage world, there is some debate as to whether or not cloud-scale storage can (or should) include file storage access. Avishay makes a very good argument for how to use it efficiently.

Computational Storage is getting a lot of buzz, but it feels like there's still a disconnect between what it currently does (in its infancy), versus what it could be used for. Western Digital just published a pretty nice blog going beyond the basics, and is worth the read.

A company called Future Market Insights (I'm not really familiar with them, so don't know how much credibility they have) have published a snapshot of the NVMe/FC market - expected to reach more than $30 Bn in 2021. Given what I know about the FC market, though, I think that number is including more than just NVMe/FC.

ArchitectingIT makes the argument that Block is inappropriate for Persistent Container Storage. It's a bold claim, but he makes some very compelling arguments.

Speaking of ArchitectingIT, Chris Evans is definitely on a roll. His summary and thoughts on VMware's Project Capitola announcements are great, and is a great starting point for tiering through the sNIC and Computational Storage layers.

Will spinning disks become obsolete? Lightbits Labs thinks so, and makes a compelling argument as to why. I'm still not convinced, however...

Storage Companies in the News

Wow. Storage Newsletter takes Gartner to the woodshed over their latest Magic Quadrant. They're not wrong. I hope SN keeps this one up and doesn't make it disappear behind the paywall after a week or so.

I think you're going to be hearing more and more about PIM - Processing in Memory. It's a very interesting technology that fits into a gap that is becoming more noticeable. To that end, NeuroBlade raised $83M in a Series B round, which tells me that there's a ramp-up in interest.

Blocks & Files interviewed Charles Fan, CEO of MemVerge. If you're not familiar with MemVerge, think of it is a kind of hyper convergence for memory, creating pools of memory that can be accessed by processors in virtualized tiers. Cool stuff, and with the coming CXL coherency capabilities, I think MemVerge is poised to hit the business end of the hockey-stick.

Industry Associations and Standards

A major contributor to technology (and storage in particular) has been elected to be President of IEEE. Major congratulations to Tom Coughlin.

Webinars, Blogs, and Conferences

SNIA's Storage Developer Conference was an incredible event. Lots of technical content to choose from on all topics of storage. Even though it's over, you can still register and access the content, though.

The FCIA has a number of webinars to check out as well.

Inside a Modern Fibre Channel Architecture - Part 2

October 27, 2021. Discussion on how Fibre Channel is purpose built and engineered to meet the demands of enterprise data centers requiring rock solid reliability, high performance, and scalability. At Part 2 of “Inside a Modern Fibre Channel Architecture” our FCIA experts return to dive into:

  • Building blocks and their hierarchy
  • Frames, Sequences, Exchanges, Protocols
  • Segmentation and reassembly
  • Error detection and recovery
  • Current enhancements e.g., Congestion Notifications

Fibre Channel Zoning Fundamentals – All You Need to Know

December 2, 2021. Fibre Channel is the original secure storage fabric. Perfected over 25 years, the zoning service in Fibre Channel makes security possible by ensuring that end devices are able to communicate only with the set of devices explicitly permitted. As a follow up to our presentation on Fibre Channel Basics, this live webcast is a more advanced session that will focus on Zoning for the real world, covering: 

  • What is Zoning
  • How Zoning works
  • Real-world examples: How to zone for database applications, virtualization and more 


Cloud Storage and Big Data, A Marriage Made in the Clouds

October 21, 2021. Learn the history of “Big Data” and how it has pushed the storage envelope, eventually resulting in a seemingly perfect relationship with Cloud Storage. But local storage is the 3rd wheel in this relationship, and won’t go down easy. Can this marriage survive when Big Data is being pulled in two directions? Should Big Data pick one, or can the three of them live happily ever after?

Computational Storage – Driving Success, Driving Standards

October 26, 2021. For new technologies like computational storage, standards do not exist. As companies develop solutions, questions arise. Should computational storage have standards for recommended behavior for hardware and software?  Should an application programming interface be defined? Join leaders of the Computational Storage Technical Work Group as they discuss how they define and develop standards with input from many different companies and users, what they perceive as important today and moving forward, and how you can participate.

NVMe-oF: Discovery Automation for NVMe IP-based SANs

November 4, 2021. NVMe® IP-based SANs (including TCP, RoCE, iWARP) have the potential to provide significant benefits in application environments ranging from the Edge to the Data Center. However, before we can fully unlock NVMe IP-based SAN’s potential, we first need to overcome the NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF™) discovery problem specific to IP based fabrics. Several companies have been collaborating on innovations that simplify and automate the discovery process used with NVMe IP-based SANs. This session will explain:

  • NVMe IP-based SAN discovery problem
  • The types of network topologies that can support the automated discovery of NVMe-oF Discovery controllers
  • Direct Discovery versus Centralized Discovery
  • An overview of the discovery protocol
[Special thanks to Diane Marsili for helping me with these webinar listings.]

NVM Express

NVM Express just had their NVMe 2.0 Specifications Webinar. There are some major changes to the way that NVMe is being developed, and if you have any involvement in moving from 1.4 (or earlier) to 2.0, you'll definitely want to see this.

Of course, if you want the higher-level view, you can watch this interview with the Chair of NVM Express' Promoters Board, Amber Huffman.

Speaking of Amber, she's sitting in on a Storage Unpacked podcast.

If you're like me, though, I tend to prefer reading materials (easier to break away and come back), so the NVMe blog on the 2.0 specifications is right up my alley. Especially the Infographic - great cheat sheet.

(Special thanks to Sophia Meyer for helping me collate the NVMe items!)

Other Interesting Items

The Flash Memory Summit is scheduled to be live (that is, in person) next year - August 2-4, 2022.

There are a few people that I actually look forward to seeing present. My friend Erik Smith (Distinguished Member of Technical staff and the owner of the fantastic BrassTacks Blog) did a NVMe-oF presentation that is well-worth watching. I love his "No BS" style."

Tom Coughlan has a Forbes Update on the 2021 Computational Storage sessions at SDC. It's a really good summary of the work that's being done.

Bonus Round

In the UK, a new plan is in the works to allow the Police to have access to patient data. With the steady goose-step march to Stasi-like police powers, this will not end well.

Flackbox is offering a Cisco CCNA Training and Exam package giveaway. [Affiliate link]

Lately, it seems that I've had a lot of conversations about trust and the issues that hype and hyperbole cause. Then came along this cautionary tale that's well-worth the read.

Of course, don't forget to check out Blocks & Files latest "Ticker Tape" version of the storage short-take. Chris Mellor has shifted to an abbreviated form because there's so much news that it can't really be contained in a digest (I can relate, believe me).