Enterprise storage architects all over the world are deploying flash memory in order to increase application performance. But in order make the IT professionals evaluate the option in a more meaningful way; here is a guide that includes use-cases and caveats for typical applications best suited for flash memory.
Flash storage is being offered in three flavors and that is –
- Solid-State Drives- Basically the work functions of SSD look similar to that of HDD. But the fact is that SSDs which are silicon made don’t have any moving parts and so need no specialized device drives.
- Peripheral Component Interconnect Express Cards (PCIe)- These cards mimic the behavior of traditional memory expansion cards using lightweight cashing device drives and can be easily pegged into the standard card slots within servers/storage controllers.
- PCIe as Solid-State Drives- Influenced by factors like price, packaging and density, PCIe cards emulate SSD drives, but with a caveat of nullifying the ability of hot-swapping the cards.
Here are four distinct application cases where SSDs can be used
- Flash as server cache- Active data is cached by server flash in a close proximity to server CPU within the enterprise storage system. This is achieved by sophisticated caching software, where any server based PCIe flash or server based SSD can serve the purpose of acting as a storage system cache. Generally, mission critical servers are tucked by this usage, where unpredictable data burst from multiple application resources (example data analytics) is an issue of concern. While this practice offers fastest access to cached data, it does requires server management, where the solution needs to smartly manage write operations that change a block on the storage system, while the block existing in the cache remains untouched. So, a server management tool dealing with cache persistence becomes highly necessary.
- Flash as cache in storage appliance- Nowadays, using SSDs or PCIe cards in a storage system along with storage tiering software is seen as the best practice in so called “Software defined storage systems”. Here the hot data gets auto directed to flash from HDD and speeds data reads. But the caveat over here is that the auto caching of all the hot data may bring in troubles in the storage system, if it is not sized properly. So, though the data is readily available for read purposes, the actual writes to flash may be slower than what it is observed in an HDD array. This is due to the fact that each write requires a relatively slow flash erase cycle. Many streams must run concurrently, when the flash is being used for writes in order to deliver sufficient write throughput. Otherwise, the cache should have an asynchronous, write around provision to pervade the demand.
- Flash as a server disk- All- flash unified approach is the best example to explain this flash usage environment. In this case, Solid-state drives are used in place of HDD for any direct connect storage needs of a server. However, the inability to upgrade or reconfigure flash components without downtime is hard to achieve in these environments.
- Flash as disk in storage system- All-flash arrays are slowly catching up the storage industry as a trend, where these systems are free from any HDD usage and solely perform on SSDs presence. These kind of storage systems driven by all-flash are ideal to be used for performance oriented critical application storage needs, where the application data is always stored on flash. But experts such as Larry freeman, senior resourceful technologist-Netapp divulge the weaknesses involved in such storage systems. Larry has a viewpoint that these solutions handle a common weakness of flash-memory write-cliffs where a sudden drop in performance is observed. Generally, a write-cliff occurs when all cells are busy in erasing and are unable to write new data. But nowadays, techniques such as intelligent background garbage collection, a non-voltaive RAM staging and advanced cell mapping practices can ensure that most of the flash cells are available for write operations.
After going through all these application cases where flash is being used, Larry wants the enterprise storage architects consider the usage options in a two dimensional way. He first wants them to decide on the form factor and then wants them to settle on how the flash is going to act as a replacement to HDD for your application.
The year 2013, overall turned out to be a good year for cloud storage providers around the world. According to a survey, a 19% increase in business revenue was witnessed by all major cloud storage providers on a global note.
On analyzing this trend, TwinStrata, a cloud storage provider has come up with the following 10 predictions for 2014 and those are as follows-
- Small Cloud providers may find it tough to get along in business in coming year. Especially, after the shutdown of Nirvanix, new entrants will find it tough to newly gain or retain their customer base. It is predicted that only large players like AWS, Google and Microsoft will be serving their customers with enthusiasm.
- The year 2014, will witness many mainstream businesses expanding their cloud backup & disaster recovery services. As more and more companies are identifying the need to have backup solutions in place, DR solution providers will be on great demand.
- More activity is being expected around data tiering in the cloud and so going ahead with this trend, many small and big IP storage providers will focus on offering economically viable cloud tiers in coming year ranging from enterprise-class to archives.
- Having two clouds backups is just a hype- Despite Nirvanix breakdown, the concept of having two cloud backups for greater redundancy may not work in coming year. It is predicted that very few customers in 2014 will choose to have fully redundant cloud providers due to cost factor. This is due to the fact that customers need to deal with double the costs and bandwidth, especially when most of the cloud storage providers are offering triple data center redundancy (if believed).
- US Cloud storage providers will face tough time- After the whistle blowing act of Edward Snowden on NSA Prism Internet surveillance in June 2013, Cloud storage business in United States is predicted to witness around $2 billion loss in coming year and years ahead. This is due to the rise in competition overseas from international cloud providers, who are claiming to be NSA surveillance free. So, this single marketing phrase might catch the attention of most of the cloud storage customers globally and may succeed in putting US Cloud storage business in jeopardy to a certain extent.
- Software-as-a-service model based clouds will be a hit in coming year and so traditional hardware vendors relabeling racks of equipment as cloud may no longer command the industry.
- In coming days ahead, (which includes the coming year) customers will start insisting on terms such as data export, data migration, data mobility included in service level agreements. This will be apart from the regular inclusions like data security, access and availability. Moreover, before signing the SLA, users will be forced to point out questions like what about the services during outages and cloud commitment. This may encourage them, to ask for a plan to migrate their data from cloud-to-cloud in emergencies.
- Security concern will increase among cloud storage users in 2014 and so the need for strong encryption keys that are locally managed Off-Cloud will become table stakes.
- Next year, technologies like de-duplication will mature enough in order to be used in cloud storage services. This is due to the fact that data storage needs will continue to grow rapidly for many organizations.
- Tape sales may increase in coming days as cloud storage providers need to cater to the demand of storing exabytes of data at an attractive price point . So, they will surely opt for cheaper storage media like tape, as it economically works out for them from business perspective.
In a surprising revelation, Trustwave, which is an Information Security company fighting against cybercrime, announced that over 2 million passwords of Facebook, Google and Yahoo services were compromised in this year. Trustwave discovered a blog post which contained 2 million passwords of the said services and discovered that those passwords were harvested by a large botnet- dubbed as Pony.
Note 1- Botnet is a network of machines controlled by hackers and that is possible by induction of malicious software into the target computers without the owner’s knowledge. These Botnets are usually used to steal large amounts of personal data which is often sold to others for a special price. In this instance, the Russian site claimed to have put over 318,000 username and passwords for sale which were procured from Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter and Linkedin users.
Trustwave is presently probing into the hack which happened early this year, and it is during this investigation that the present details were leaked out. The security company notified that only Log-In information for popular social networks was leaked out on the blog and it is not sure whether the passwords mentioned in the blog are still active with the users. However, the company has done its duty and informed Facebook, Yahoo and Google further details on this issue and advised it to send an alert to all its users on a default note.
Reacting to Trustwave’s revelation about stolen passwords, Facebook openly confessed that it was not at fault and that this security risk was due to infected user machines. The social media giant also went ahead and said that the hackers used malware to scrape information directly from the users web browsers.
In the meantime, Trustwave which started analyzing the posted passwords from the blog reported that the password “123456” was used by over 18,000 users. So, it revealed that such predictable combinations made the whole concept of having passwords completely ineffective…..very true in every sense.
However, Google has confessed that it has a new password theory concept in practice from the past few months and so the password leak out may not be much of concern to it. All Google users who are changing their passwords or signing in to fresh accounts are not allowed to use regular passwords like their names, phone numbers, 123456, parents name and so on…..The internet search giant is specifically mentioning to its users to use a combination of alphanumeric letters as passwords. Google is also not allowing its users to reuse their old passwords on future course.
So, for now, let’s hope that 2 million password leak out doesn’t lead to another online fraud massacre.
Google, the internet juggernaut is in plans to venture into robotics business soon. Yes, the search engine giant which is also the company behind the globally used Android mobile platform and Google Glass is all set to try its luck in the business of Robotics in coming years.
As per a New York Times report, Google is nowadays busy in developing robotic technology to be used in its manufacturing operations. Google Robots business will be led by Andy Rubin, the same man, who was behind the creation and worldwide adoption of Google Android software.
From the year 2009, Google was in plans to venture out far from its core business and so came up with its android operating system, chromebooks, autonomous cars and Google glass. Therefore if the company now wants to come up with Google Robots in near future, there is no big surprise at all. The technology used in making good robots is similar to that used in a super-sophisticated autonomous vehicle.
“When a company is capable of creating new products from its existing business resources and product line, then it will surely taste success in that business, when it ventures out,” said Patrick Moorhead, Analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. He added that the technology used in creating good robots would be similar to that of super-sophisticated autonomous vehicles. Similarly, Object recognition can also be used by a robot for visual search. So, with this support Google will surely take its chances in trying this new business vertical in coming days.
Presently, a team of analysts are deeply analyzing Google’s entry into the business of Robotics. And when they submit the research report, Google is said to announce its new business on an official note to the world.
So, who knows, in coming years, if Steven Spielberg decides to use robots in his movies, we may see Google embossed on the upper body of those robots like how superman carries ‘S’ on his chest.
StoneFly, INC. a subsidiary of Dynamic Network Factory is offering a Unified Flash Storage appliance just for $14,995. This StoneFly USO Series scale-out storage with 32TB SAS and 1.6TB Flash SSD will be available for the said price till December 31st, 2013. All orders placed on or before December 2013 will be entitled to avail this StoneFly USO Series storage appliance limited offer.
StoneFly USO Series is a highly scalable, fully featured NAS and IP SAN (iSCSI) delivered as one easy to manage appliance. So, no worries, while deciding on which technology to use, when USO series of StoneFly offers both in a single appliance.
StoneFly, INC. is offering its USO series product based on its customer’s feedback in past 10 years. The idea is to serve its customers with the best technology by offering it with a powerful high availability storage solution that can scale out storage capacity while scaling up the performance.
StoneFly™ USO Series product line consists StoneFly™ USO Appliance and StoneFly™ USO-HA Appliance.
The StoneFly USO allows you to “scale out” your storage needs along with the growth of your business, just by adding nodes without losing performance. The user can expand one or more volumes across multiple nodes using no metadata and a single namespace. Additionally, usable bandwidth increases, as new nodes are added and all those multiple nodes can be managed by single user interface.
Now, for applications such as e-commerce systems, email software, customer relationship management, online transaction processing programs a highly available storage turns into basic necessity. Keeping these requirements in mind, StoneFly USO-HA is being offered, where this storage appliance delivers unprecedented performance, scalability and high-availability via an easy to manage modular appliance.
StoneFly™ USO Series are software defined as they are driven by award winning StoneFusion operating system through which block level storage intelligence can be achieved. Other benefits such as increased storage utilization through resource consolidation & virtualization, storage provisioning, centralized access control, volume management and advanced storage services including -Active/Active clustering, deduplication, mirroring, replication, encryption, snapshots and thin provisioning can also be achieved.
Moreover, the availability of SAS and Flash in this appliance, offers to its users the convenience to balance their storage resources as per their enterprise applications needs.
Seagate Technology has begun shipping of its world’s thinnest 2TB storage hard drive from early this month. In early November 2013, Samsung HDD division, which is a part of Seagate, announced that its 2.5 inches Spinpoint M9T hard drives will be available to commercial markets from this year end.
But now, the company has made an official announcement that its 9.5mm drives are available to channel system integrators, OEMs and consumers from early December 2013. The drives will be available in 1.5TB and 2TB capacities and with highest areal density.
Samsung Spinpoint M9T includes a SATA 6GB/s interface and microactuation to ensure fast, consistent hard drive performance along with Noiseguard and Silentseek technologies to deliver ultra quiet operation.
The Samsung Spinpoint M9T is currently available in the market along with other internal drive product lines such as M3 portable and P3 portable external drives. The price of these drives is yet to be officially announced. But they are likely to cost $169~ $194.