We think of the cloud as this vast pool of unlimited storage, usually at not super fast speeds, and accessed via the internet. Great use case if your compute is in the cloud, or you’re not concerned about the latency. If you want low latency access to the data, you’re probably going to at least look at a storage array. We think of storage arrays as having a finite bucket of capacity, the polar opposite of cloud storage. The closest thing a storage array has to unlimited capacity, snapshots, are usually tied to some strict limits. Your storage array needs more capacity. Public cloud providers have extra capacity. It sounds like the beginnings of a match made in heaven. At Storage Field Day 13 Dell EMC talked about their Unity storage array and its integration with their own Cloud Tier Appliance. The Cloud Tiering Appliance is an external device that allows data to move from the storageRead More →

Sometimes when you’re roasting a Thanksgiving turkey in the oven, you notice what appears to be uneven cooking on the bird. Uneven cooking can create a problem for the cook because you risk drying out one part or under cooking another. The last thing you want to do is serve undercooked and dangerous food. The second to last thing you want to do is serve dry turkey to your grandma. Uneven cooking is the bain of cooks everywhere, so they take great care to avoid and mitigate the problem. No, you haven’t stumbled onto a random food post, I just wanted to point out that consistency and predictability matters in the kitchen. Just like it matters in the kitchen, it matters in nearly every aspect of technology. We want web pages to load quickly, search results to return instantly, and our turkeys to cook evenly. We want gravy without lumps and wifi without bumps. Nowhere is consistentlyRead More →

In Enterprise IT we’re all used to life cycle managed of equipment.  For a long time, one of the most painful areas for this was the storage array. Every few years it became time to rip out the old gear and bring in the new.  That process has gotten much better, but one thing still bothers me. What happens to the software that I paid for when I bought that storage array? The idea isn’t limited to storage arrays either.  Enterprise IT shops buy software to do something,  then their needs change, and they replace that software. As long as they got the business value from the software, no one cares that they essentially throw the bits away.  When dealing with big vendors, like VMware or HPE, this is where the Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) comes into play.  It’s an agreement between a vendor and a customer saying that vendor agrees to provide and support software inRead More →

Last week I moderated a panel at the annual Cincinnati VMware User Group conference with some great panelists. As a moderator, I had a pretty simple job: enable the panel to educate and entertain the audience.  Ask some questions, engage the audience, and don’t let anyone ramble on. Pretty straight forward, but when I got off stage one of the staff members commented that it was hard to find IT people who are decent at speaking to a large audience. I dismissed his comment at the time,  but it got me thinking about being a high school freshman. That was the first year I had to write and give an actual presentation to the class. I don’t remember the topic at all, but what I do remember was being filled with anxiety at the seemingly daunting task in front of me. Everyone is looking at you, judging you, waiting for you to fail. Ok, so maybe theyRead More →

I recently attended Storage Field Day 7 and spent some time talking about the concept of data virtualization.  Data virtualization seeks to add a layer of        abstraction between the storage type and the client. Data virtualization, similar to what server virtualization did for compute resource, seeks to free the data from the underlying physical resources. Primary Data seeks to make data virtualization the cornerstone of software-defined storage. In November of last year Primary Data came out of stealth to address the problem of data mobility using data virtualization.  Today data is locked up in storage arrays, public cloud providers, and local server storage.  Each of these types of data repositories had different data service offerings ranging from rich to extremely limited. The metadata and data are locked away of the silo of the repository. A few solutions exist in the market today for data virtualization, but they rely on the data capabilities of theRead More →