DCIG is in the process of researching the Flash Memory Storage Array marketplace with the intention of publishing the DCIG 2015-16 Flash Memory Storage Array Buyer’s Guide in May 2015. Since the publication of the 2014 edition, many storage providers have come out with new models, new providers have arrived on the scene and others have exited or been acquired–warranting a fresh snapshot of this dynamic marketplace.
Category Archives: Storage Systems
Features such as automated storage tiering and storage domains on today’s enterprise storage arrays go a long way toward making it feasible for organizations to successfully host multiple applications with different performance and priority requirements on a single array. However prioritizing the order in which data and I/Os are tiered is an entirely differently matter as organizations typically want the data and I/Os associated with their mission and business critical I/Os serviced ahead of lower priority applications. This is where the Quality of Service (QoS) Plus feature found on the Oracle FS1 comes into play as it does more than provide the “brains” behind its auto-tiering feature. It also re-prioritizes and re-orders application I/O according to each application’s business value to the enterprise.
At the beginning of 2014, I started the year with the theme: “it’s an exciting time to be part of the DCIG team”. This was due to the explosive growth we saw in website visits and popularity of our Buyer’s Guides. That hasn’t changed. DCIG Buyer’s Guides continue to grow in popularity, but what’s even more exciting is the diversity of our new products and services. This year’s theme is diversity: a range of different things. DCIG is expanding…again…in different directions.
Enterprise storage arrays offer just about every bell and whistle that an organization can possibly want. Whether it is compression, deduplication, a mix of flash and disk, all-flash, connectivity to the cloud, multi-protocol support – you name it, an array out there probably has it. Yet in the midst of all this feature functionality and options on storage arrays, storage arrays have somewhat lost their way in one respect as many are failing to deliver on arguably one of their basic tenets: plentiful amounts of storage that is cheap, highly available and highly reliable. This explains the emergence of a new class of economical, massively scalable storage arrays.
While enterprises still need to validate and test a flash storage array’s performance and stability, the time has arrived for them to expand their evaluation to ensure that the flash storage array offers the other capabilities that they will also need in their environment. Eight other flash storage array features that should now be part of their modern day flash memory storage array check list include:
DCIG is in the process of researching the Hybrid Storage Array marketplace with the intention of publishing the DCIG 2015-16 Hybrid Storage Array Buyers Guide in February/March 2015. This will be an update to the DCIG 2014 Hybrid Storage Array Buyers Guide that was published in November 2013. Since the publication of 2014 edition, nearly every vendor has come out with new models, warranting a fresh snapshot of this dynamic marketplace.
DCIG is pleased to announce the December 17 release of the DCIG 2015-16 Enterprise Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide that weights, scores and ranks more than 95 features of thirty-three (33) different storage arrays or array series from sixteen (16) different storage providers.
Flash is by all estimates the future of enterprise production storage with most enterprises anticipating a day in the not too distant future where they will use flash storage arrays (all-flash or hybrid) much more broadly within their data center. Yet despite flash’s many benefits (higher levels of performance, smaller data center footprint and reduced energy consumption among others,) many enterprises still only use flash in a limited capacity if they use it at all. Today I take a look at some of the factors that still contribute to an enterprise reticence to adopt flash more broadly.
DCIG is preparing to release the DCIG 2015-16 Enterprise Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide. The Buyer’s Guide will include data on 33 arrays or array series from 16 storage providers. The term “Enterprise” in the name Enterprise Midrange Array, reflects a class of storage system that has emerged offering key enterprise-class features at prices suitable for mid-sized budgets. The DCIG 2015-16 Enterprise Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide will provide organizations with a valuable tool to cut time and cost from the product research and purchase process.
Hybrid storage arrays, which dynamically place data in storage pools that combine flash memory and HDDs, are rapidly expanding their market share in the enterprise space. These arrays use the latest generation of hardware – including multi-core CPUs and DRAM and flash caches – to offer high levels of performance and inline data optimization. However, the ZS4-4’s underlying architecture and its unique ability to integrate with Oracle Database 12c make it a superior storage platform to accelerate Oracle Database performance and reduce storage capacity requirements.
DCIG is pleased to announce the release of its inaugural DCIG 2014-15 High End Storage Array Buyers Guide that weights, scores and ranks more than 100 features of thirteen (13) different storage arrays from five different storage providers.
Enterprises investing in today’s high end storage arrays understand the value that these arrays offer in regard to their availability and performance as it can cost upwards of $5,000 for every minute that an application is offline. Applications and data must be available all of the time as any interruption in service can seriously impact a corporation’s revenue and reputation.
Dedicating a single flash-based storage array to improving the performance of a single application may be appropriate for siloed or small SAN environments. However this is NOT an architecture that enterprises want to leverage when hosting multiple applications in larger SAN environments, especially if the flash-based arrays has only a few or unproven data management services behind it. The new Oracle FS1 Series Flash Storage System addresses these concerns by providing enterprises both the levels of performance and the mature and robust data management services that they need to move flash-based arrays from the fringes of their SAN environments into their core.
Beginning in the early 2000’s high end storage arrays began to lose some of their luster. While the EMC Symmetrix (now the VMAX,) HDS USP (now the VSP) and IBM Shark (now the DS8870) never technically fell out of favor, a new generation of midrange arrays had, at that time, matured to the point that organizations of all sizes began to deploy them as viable alternatives to these high end storage arrays. Now, 10 years later, specific features that can often only be found on high end storage arrays coupled with changes in organizational environments are driving the resurgence of these arrays.
DCIG is pleased to announce the September 2 release of the DCIG 2014-15 Midrange Unified Storage Array Buyer’s Guide that weights, scores and ranks more than 200 features of forty (40) different storage arrays from fourteen (14) different storage providers. The plethora of vendors and products in the marketplace–combined with a lack of readily available comparative data–can make product research and selection a daunting task. DCIG creates Buyer’s Guides in order to help end users accelerate the product research and selection process–driving cost out of the research process while simultaneously increasing confidence in the results.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, CA, where I had the opportunity to talk to a number of providers, fellow analysts and developers in attendance about the topic of flash memory. The focus of many of these conversations was less about what flash means right now as its performance ramifications are already pretty well understood by the enterprise. Rather many are already looking ahead to take further advantage of flash’s particular idiosyncrasies and, in so doing, give us some good insight into what will be hot in flash in the years to come.
It has been said that everyone knows what “normal” is but that it is often easier to define “abnormal” than it is to define “normal.” To a certain degree that axiom also applies to defining “high end storage arrays.” Everyone just seems to automatically assume that a certain set of storage arrays are in the “high end” category but when push comes to shove, people can be hard-pressed to provide a working definition as to what constitutes a high end storage array in today’s crowded storage space.
There is literally a divergence occurring right now in data storage solutions. On one hand, a number of storage providers seek to deliver highly differentiated storage solutions that work with a broad set of applications and operating systems. On the other, a few providers focus on delivering a storage solution that tightly integrates with one or more applications to deliver unparalleled levels of application performance and ease of management. The latest Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance ZS3 Series with its new OS8.2 provide the best of what both of these categories of storage systems currently have to offer to deliver a storage platform that truly stands apart.
Organizations are becoming increasingly virtualized within their data center infrastructures which is leading them to aggressively virtualize the storage arrays in their infrastructure to complement their already virtualized server environment. As they do so, it behooves them to distinguish between, and have a clear understanding, of each virtual component that makes up their newly virtualized storage infrastructure. The need to clarify this terminology comes clearly into focus as organizations evaluate the multi-tenancy and virtual storage array capabilities found on many high end storage arrays.
The use of data reduction technologies such as compression and deduplication to reduce storage costs are nothing new. Tape drives have used compression for decades to increase backup data densities on tape while many modern deduplicating backup appliances use compression and deduplication to also reduce backup data stores. Even a select number of existing HDD-based storage arrays use data compression and deduplication to minimize data stores for large amounts of file data stored in archives or on networked attached file servers.