Storage Short Take #69

In Storage, Technology by J Michel MetzLeave a Comment

I'm not saying it's a milestone or anything...

As usual, links were live at the time of publication.

In the meantime, for those of us at a certain age - if you know, you know...


Storage Media and Technology

What is "ceramic nano memory" and will it 'disrupt the $500B storage business? Tom's Hardware also has a take.

In a nutshell, "Flexible Data Placement" is one of those really interesting technologies that takes data locality and takes it to a logical next step. The author of the draft, Michael Allison, has written a really good blog on the subject that is well worth reading. The ability to logically and explicitly direct data placement in a disaggregated storage model - especially from a NVMe perspective - opens us up some very, very interesting possibilities.

The Tape Storage Council has published a white paper on the market outlook. Not surprisingly, they say that "tape is primed for the rise of secondary storage." Now, in their defense, the do make a good case.

StorageReview is taking a firm stance against super-cheap SSD drives, and with good reason. Brian's review is so good, it's worth reposting here (please do go check them out as they do good work):

The Register opted to avoid the snark for some actual technical depth here (and well done!), in their article discussing Samsung's promotion of Compression-Attached Memory Module (CAMM). It's a great article that discusses the tradeoffs in memory usage in various form factors.

It's no secret that I've not been a fan of the phrase "computational storage," because I think that it gives people who aren't storage-oriented the impression that it's a matter of simply slapping a processor on a SSD and calling it a day. I say this in full awareness that I chair SNIA, which has several working groups devoted to the technical progress and promotion of Computational Storage! Chris Evans of ArchitectingIT prefers to use the term "Intelligent Data Devices," (paid eBook, not an affiliate link) though he also uses it to refers to things like SmartNICs (and rightfully so). I think we're getting to a point where a better taxonomy is needed.

Storage Companies in the News

Not exactly a storage company, but CERN has "boosted its storage array... to more than one million terabytes in total size." That's raw capacity, folx. Tell me again how "tape is dead." Sheesh.

Speaking of which, that much data (and how it's accessed) requires its own in-house filesystem.

Synology has resolved a security vulnerability on the Storage Router Manager (SRM).

Always, always, always keep up with the Backblaze reports on drive reliability. More importantly, read the report, not just the headlines. Backblaze does a great job telling you about the methodology and limitations of what they do to give you the most accurate information they can, but I've found that you have to read more than the first paragraphs of any news item to avoid making some pretty significant errors in judgment.

Years ago I had conversations with Nyriad, which (at the time) simply made storage-tuned GPUs. In the intervening decade, they've evolved into a more platform-oriented approach. The Storage Unpacked podcast has a non-sponsored episode on Nyriad's UltraIO storage platform and what makes it different.

Industry Associations and Standards

Kioxia has donated its command set specification to the Software-Enabled Flash (SEF),

Ultra Ethernet Consortium has opened up for applications for membership and has created 4 new working groups for high performance ethernet networking, including one dedicated to storage. Memberships officially begin on November 15.

SNIA has released a new technical white paper on Storage Security, Encryption, and Key Management. This is part of a series of updates and new information that will help storage security professionals understand changes in new regulations (as well as recommendations).

SNIA is a well-recognized face in the storage industry, but the storage industry isn't a static, stagnant thing. Neither is SNIA. Richelle Ahlvers, Vice-Chair of SNIA, explains to a large Flash Memory Summit crowd about the updates and changes to SNIA's direction:

Webinars, Blogs, Podcasts, and Conferences

Leave it to Jonmichael Hands to write one of the best blogs on SSD Write Amplification and TRIM. If you want to understand how SSDs work, you'll want to read this. Of course, now I have to hate him because I didn't think of it.

Webinar: Simplified Namespace Management – The Open Standards WayWednesday, October 18, 2023. SNIA is hosting a webinar on the SNIA Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI™), an open ISO standard (ISO/IEC 17826:2022) for managing data objects and containers, already includes extensive capabilities for simplifying the management of complex namespaces. In this webinar, attendees will learn how to simplify namespace management – the open standards way, including namespace discovery, introspection, exports, imports and more.

Ray Lucchesi is one of the few people writing about the impact on storage from AI. If you're not familiar with Ray's writing, he starts way above the beginner level, but if you are a hard-core storage geek you will find his recent blog on the storage performance benchmark for AI, MLperf Storage very interesting (I know I did).

The 2023 Storage Field Day was a huge success, with many thanks to Stephen Foskett and his team for a brain-hurt opportunity. SNIA presented two projects and got a lot of great interaction with the delegates (I was privileged enough to be in the room at the time): DNA Data Storage and SDXI. Afterwards, they had a roundtable to discuss what they learned during the week and the hot topics that caught their attention. A lot of really smart people in that room, and worth listening to their thoughts.

One of my favorite moments of the SNIA  Storage Developers Conference was the chance to sit in on a GestaltIT podcast, "No One Understands Storage Anymore." I tried to start off with a joke that "I don't understand storage," but only Andy Banta picked up on what I was trying to do. Oh well. I guess subtlety and humor don't always mix. Even so, it was a great podcast and some really insightful comments from the panelists (aside from me, of course; I was just happy to be there).

Jim Handy has a new blog on Western Digital's ethernet-attached NVMe composable storage solution, which he says is designed to solve the problem of orphaned drives in the data center. There is a lot to be said about this particular use case (and one I honestly didn't really consider when we were working on this in NVM Express and SNIA), but it does raise some very interesting considerations in general.

SuperComputing 23 is November 12-17 and will have a complete Standards Pavilion where you will be able to see (but not limited to), DMTF, PCI-SIG, SNIA, UEC, Ethernet Alliance, Open Fabrics Alliance, and more.

Bonus Round

I've always been a huge believer in exchanges of value. For a while I've enjoyed and learned from Chris Mellor's work and often try to promote what he does in both Blocks & Files as well as The Storage Stack by sharing the links here. Nevertheless, I find myself thinking that I could do a little more, as I've found his efforts valuable to me as well (not just to be shared), so I decided to contribute to his publication. Storage is still something of a niche and cottage world with a smaller demographic than, say, software or virtualization, and so if you happen to fall into this bucket you may want to consider skipping a latte once a month to help him out.

Most people of a certain age have never heard of the absolutely brilliant Roy Clark. It's a tragic shame. Let me fix that for you.

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