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Storage Fundamentals are the Basis for New Storage Innovation

Innovation within the data center seems to be on the lips of IT managers, vendors, and analysts alike. Innovation, it is said, will pull us through this economic downturn even as organizations experience cutbacks in budgets, staff and just general doom and gloom. These innovations include maturing technologies such as virtualization, grid computing and deduplication coupled with management initiatives like consolidation, outsourcing and reduced expansion. These ensure organizations can continue to cut costs and stay on budget while creating more efficient data centers that are ready for whatever tomorrow brings.
 
In a recent SearchStorageAsia article, “Gartner Predicts 2009: Innovation despite economic downturn”, Robin Simpson, Gartner Research Director, makes it clear that organizations will need to realize that taking hold of innovation is what will bring about improved efficiencies and reduced costs. In the article, he says, “Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace but … organizations that postpone essential technology deployments do so at their peril”.
 
According to analyst firm IDC, data storage is expected to grow at more than 50 percent per year between 2008 and 2010. This puts enormous pressures on organizations to select the proper storage architecture that helps stay within budget while providing the ability to keep up with the expected dynamic and explosive growth. But what we fear is that many data centers are jumping on the innovation / feature bandwagon without much thought and forgetting about the fundamentals of that storage architecture.

Availability, reliability, and performance are still king in enterprise computing and especially in enterprise storage. In fact, without them, we might as well be doing our computing on an abacus. But since these three features are so tightly coupled together, they should be of high concern when deploying a storage solution – innovative or otherwise.

In this respect, NEC is taking no chances with its HYDRAstor storage system. While it introduces a grid storage that lays the groundwork for future expansion and eliminates many concerns organizations have about expansion and growth, it does not require organizations to sacrifice their concerns about these computing fundamentals either.

As a fully distributed platform, the HYDRAstor grid architecture is not limited by any single central resource and thus offers, through the simple addition of Accelerator Nodes or Storage Nodes, scalability in performance or capacity that screams of high availability, performance and reliability. This ability to add new nodes into an existing HYDRAstor system without provisioning, forklift upgrades, downtime or data loss allows the HYDRAstor to be more scalable, reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), and extend the life of older technology. This enables IT to quickly and effectively leverage this platform in support of changing business requirements.

But the beauty of the HYDRAstor architecture is that it still behaves as a single autonomous, self-configuring and self-healing system. It can automatically and non-disruptively load-balance across nodes to optimize performance. Adding to the protection of data and extending on the architectural availability and reliability features is the HYDRAstor’s Distributed Resilient Data technology (DRD) which enables users to set protection levels according to business data criticality. For example, setting the HYDRAstor’s resiliency level to three will protect against the failure of three drives or three nodes concurrently.
 
While technological advances are imperative, the traditional fundamentals of availability, performance and reliability that enterprise organizations demand cannot be ignored. The NEC HYDRAstor grid architecture delivers on these essentials while laying the foundation for what organizations will need to be successful in the data center of tomorrow. The stress of today’s economy is adding to the pressure of organizations to innovate but, as Gartner’s Simpson points out, those who fail to innovate even in these tough times do so at their own peril. The NEC HYDRAstor provides organizations a mechanism to innovate in their storage infrastructure without sacrificing the fundamentals of what made data centers successful in the first place.

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