September is usually too early to draw year-end conclusions, but I'll go out on a limb to say that 2008 will be remembered as a key year for SSDs (solid-state drives) -- not so much for sales figures, which won't likely reflect the hype surrounding flash SSDs this year, but for the technology itself, which remains one of the most controversial to hit storage in recent times.
Stories by Mario Apicella
We don't have Olympic Games for file server systems but the SPEC SFS (System File Server) benchmark serves as the next best thing, providing a comparable rank of file server performance. If you sifted through all of the SPEC SFS results published to the SPEC Web site, you'd find that the fastest NAS systems are from NetApp, BlueArc, and EMC, who take what in Beijing would have been a gold, a silver, and a bronze medal, in that order.
In a recent review, I consolidated FC and Ethernet networks using FCoE (fibre channel over Ethernet) and Cisco's new Nexus 5000 switch. As the review showed, the combination merged the two transport protocols easily, allowing FC frames to channel through a 10G connection without giving up features or performance.
Healthy debate is often necessary to get a balanced view of an emerging technology. Somewhere between endorsements and detractions, a realistic understanding of the long-term outlook for a technology arrives. As such, I have decided to turn to a guest once again for the second installment in what I hope to be an ongoing debate over the merits of flash SSDs (solid-state drives).
Traditionally, network transport has run on two separate technologies, FC (Fibre Channel) and Ethernet, which, like two railroads with different gauges, seemed bound to never meet.
Being an optimist, I like to think that storage management is or will be getting better. It's hard, however, to ignore the fact that many admins don't know much about what's going on in the storage boxes they are sitting on. And it's not their fault, as management has been the Cinderella of storage apps for many years, and she hasn't found a prince to rescue her quite yet.
Would you pay several times more for a technology that yields only dubious performance advantage? How about if that technology is experiencing a high rate of product returns from early adopters?
Creating an effective backup for Windows is a challenge -- largely because the OS lacks a powerful, simple tool like Linux's dd, for example. However, there are many options for establishing a worthwhile backup system for Windows, some of which are free or rather inexpensive.
As the old saying goes, "When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail." For me, this means more than just seeing a storage angle everywhere I look. Lately, it also means seeing the environmental impact of every product I review.
Solid-state drives (SSDs) have been around for many years. Their high cost, however, has limited their deployment to special environments, such as the military, where their rugged, shock-resilient design, coupled with extremely fast performance, justifies the expense.
Reaping the fat savings of thin provisioning may have gotten a little easier, as IBM this week announced new features for managing SVC (SAN Volume Controller). And depending on your strategy for implementing SVC's new thin-provisioning capabilities in your storage environment, the news could come with a green lining.
There aren't many products I review that I can test for traveling. In fact, most are large enough for me to hide behind, if not inside. But the Lenovo Thinkpad T61 with a 64GB Samsung SSD (solid state drive) I am currently testing offered a rare opportunity to take my work with me on the road.
Judging from the blogosphere's post-EMC World buzz, EMC's recent passion for SSDs (solid state drives) is no fly-by-night affair. In fact, at the event, which I was unable to attend, EMC suggested that by 2010, SSDs could reach price parity with, and eventually replace, FC (fibre channel) drives.
Hardware upgrades can be a blast. Slide 2GB more RAM in your machine and everything just works faster and smoother. Updating a laptop or desktop with an SSD (solid-state drive), however, can be tricky and not so rewarding, as I am finding.
For years now, 3.5 inches has been the reigning size of disk drives for enterprise storage arrays. Now, however, smaller, more efficient 2.5-inch SFF (small form factor) drives are proving viable challengers to their larger brethren.
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