Storage Innovations Continue to Broaden Technology Horizons

There have been several recent trends in the data management and technology storage industries: hybrid flash solutions, hybrid cloud solutions, scalable virtualization, and all-flash systems. All are seeking to gain significant control of the business and attention of enterprise solutions by conquering cost issues, security problems, and the chaotic, ever growing sources of increasing data.

Two well-known names are utilizing all flash systems technology for creative endeavors and to find original solutions.

Recognizable tech giant IBM refuses to fade with technology trends. IBM is claiming its stake in the storage future with its new Flashsystem series, the 900 and V9000. A critical component of the architecture of the new systems is IBM’s acquisition of Texas Memory Systems (TMS) whose development of memory-based storage products is foundational for the Flashsystem series. IBM is looking to create large-scale, powerful solutions for data management without compromising performance or capacity limits.

These all-flash systems incorporate IBM modified Micron MLC flash drives to help increase the density, and the V9000 includes SAN Volume Controller storage virtualization hardware to help manage the data. The biggest changes to the IBM series from the previous releases are the capacity boost and changes to potential capacity configurations. IBM boasts that the FlashSystem 900 is “up to four times better capacity in less rack space than EMC XtremIO flash technology.”

Both storage options integrate data services such as real-time compression, dynamic tiering and storage virtualization. Disaster recovery tools are also included through snapshots, clones and replication. IBM Virtual Storage Center blends it all together and provides advanced virtualization, provisioning and performance management with these systems.

From the 840 in the Flashsystem series, the performance has been maintained in the 900 with just an increased density. It uses Micron-made, IBM modified MLC flash drives in interchangeable groups called Microlatency Modules that come in 1.2TB, 2.9TB and 5.7TB capacities to provide a maximum of just under 58TB in 2U.

In the V9000, there is room for up to 32PB of external storage to be managed; within the machine, the V9000 can house from 2TB to 456TB of capacity in the same MLC flash modules as the 900. Depending upon the needs and skills of the IT department per enterprise, the V9000 will act as a secure backbone for virtual data center storage while the 900 can act as a building block in the custom created system.

Meanwhile, Pure Storage is seeking to give unstructured data the same organization and transformation that structured data has seen by utilizing the same tool: all-flash storage.

To accomplish this goal, Pure Storage has introduced the first storage blade server, suitably called FlashBlade (like a dog named Dog). On the computing side, a blade server is a server chassis housing multiple electronic circuit boards, known as server blades. Each blade is its own server that often is dedicated to a single application.

By mirroring that same idea, Pure Storage’s FlashBlade works alongside the company’s new scale-out, all-flash media storage system to focus on handling multi-petabyte-scale sets of unstructured data. Additionally, companies may build an all-flash cloud by combining the powers of Pure Storage FlashBlade and the equally new Pure Storage FlashArray.

Pure Storage is future casting and pro-actively seeking a solution for the avalanche of unstructured data beginning to overwhelm enterprise businesses. With multiple inputs from laptops, smartphones, and more, organizing and analyzing the usefulness of this unstructured data is what Pure Storage predicts will be the next stumbling block for many companies.

FlashBlade reduces the bottlenecks and management headaches caused with assigning data to nodes that then snowball into data silos; FlashBlade works on “elastic scale-out architecture, which combines commodity hardware components with specialized software and ultra-dense packaging” to be “big, fast, and simple,” as described by Matt Kixmoeller, vice president of products at Pure Storage.

It achieves this by supplementing each blade with the technology it needs to be independent to run processes, software that runs in each blade and creates a network of shared processes, and a support network of Ethernet connectivity that provides high quality communication between the blades.

Such a solution was designed for digital science and engineering innovation, wide-spread analytics, and Cloud applications. Though FlashBlade is not available yet, it will be forthcoming likely in the latter part of 2016.

These innovative new ideas prove that there is still much unknown yet to be discovered on the technology storage frontier.

Lindsey Cobb

Lindsey Cobb, a Georgia native and former history major, is a technology researcher who is fascinated by past and future of technology. When she is not engrossed in the prophecy of science fiction stories, Lindsey is likely to be planning her next adventurous trip or petting every dog she meets. Contact Lindsey at [email protected]