IBM Continues to Advance Its Strategic Storage Investments

In 2015, IBM announced that it would spend $1 billion on software-defined storage (SDS) R&D over the coming five years. Recent enhancements in its SDS portfolio — namely the IBM Spectrum Storage family — reflect how that ongoing investment is benefiting storage users and IBM customers. IBM Spectrum Storage family: Responding to changing times Regarding IBM’s Spectrum Storage family, recall what SDS is and why just one product won’t do. SDS decouples the software that manages storage from the underlying physical storage hardware. That increases the flexibility of deployment. So customers can choose to use software-only with virtually any heterogeneous storage systems, i.e., not necessarily IBM storage, although all or part of the mix could include IBM equipment. A second SDS deployment model is with an appliance. In the case of selected IBM Spectrum Storage products, the software can be sold with specific IBM hardware making it a more traditional approach, but it also means that the software can take fuller advantage of the underlying physical hardware. An example is the tight coupling of the IBM DeepFlash 150 with IBM Spectrum Scale that results in a high-capacity, all-flash (meaning high performance) system (called DeepFlash Elastic Storage Server) with the scale-out file management capabilities. A third SDS deployment model is as the foundation of a cloud service. Since the “cloud” in its many permutations and manifestations continues to proliferate applications and data, SDS can provide the support needed for accompanying storage systems. But why the need for multiple products? The answer is that the variety of applications and data types continues to explode in numerous dimensions, all of them additive with none taken away. Traditional block-based, structured data online transaction processing systems and file-based systems, such as for semi-structured data as document management, are still critically important. But now, big data, Internet of Things, Web-based applications, and mobile applications are taking center stage, as well. NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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EMC & SDE: Canniabalize or Be Cannibalized
Sep07

EMC & SDE: Canniabalize or Be Cannibalized

Today’s the day Dell closes the $65-billion EMC acquisition (and Apple releases the iPhone 7), but while the mega-deal has been inching through the regulatory and shareholder approval process, it’s been business as usual for the storage giant, and increasingly, the usual business has involved alternatives to its bread and butter, disk drives. The enterprise storage giant has been pushing flash, AKA solid state drives (SSDs), software-defined storage (SDS), and now, stealing a page from its virtualization business, VMware, software-defined everything (SDE). Also referred to as SDX, SDI (software defined infrastructure) and software-defined environments (IBM’s nom de guerre), SDE is am umbrella term that describes how virtualization and abstracting workloads from the underlying hardware can be used to make IT infrastructures more flexible and agile. In a recent conversation with EMC’s Manuvir Das, SVP, Advanced Software Division, he told IT Trends & Analysis that the current evolution of IT is offering customers a couple of choices in pursuit of shrinking data centers, lower CAPEX and OPEX and the ability to leverage the cloud: some form of do it yourself versus an all-in-one solution, and hardware versus software lock-in (and that at the end of the day, there’s no getting away from software lock-in). With 14 years at Microsoft, including the development of Azure, the company’s public cloud offering, he should know a lot about software lock-in. “The reality is there is nothing beyond software lock in… there is no way a customer can live in a world where there is no lock in somewhere in the stack.” Lock-in is an ongoing concern. “We don’t want to trade a closed hardware world for a closed software world,” said Nick Lippis, ONUG co-founder and co-chairman, said in his opening presentation at the Open Networking User Group spring conference in May. “All too often, the vendors have the upper hand,” stated IDC in a recent report. High switching costs or other “vendor control points,” such as proprietary technology integrations or overly customized applications, can make it too much trouble for enterprise customers to discontinue using one vendor and switch to another. Das said the challenge with a DIY approach to a complete software-defined solution — “the holy grail of what a software defined data center would look like” — is that he sees “very few customers who have the remotest idea of how to do that.” This is not something you get just off the shelf, he added. Of those who have taken this approach, he has yet to meet anybody “with any degree of success.” Lack of success doesn’t appear to be an inhibitor to SDE/SDDC. Vendors fighting for their slice...

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ChalkTalk Video: [SDS] has to do More

The first phase of software defined storage (SDS) is bringing many benefits to the data center. Its abstraction of storage software from the storage hardware enables organizations to manage all their storage assets from a single view, along with a reduction of hardware acquisition cost. But SDS needs to do more. In its next phase SDS should also provide rich end-to-end, cross system analytics, and it should automate data placement decisions. Join George Crump, Founder of Storage Switzerland and Tim Sheets, VP of Marketing at FalconStor in this ChalkTalk video to learn what more SDS can and should be doing. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Storage Switzerland Weekly...

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FalconStor Lassos A Piece of SDS’ 35% CAGR
Feb27

FalconStor Lassos A Piece of SDS’ 35% CAGR

If llamas can stage a prison break in Arizona, then why can’t the struggling  FalconStor Software try and find freedom by busting out to the hottest storage commodity? Software Defined Storage (SDS) is still in its infancy, said storage guru George Crump, Storage Switzerland. “FalconStor’s new FreeStor solution promises to mature the category in a hurry.” By ‘freedom’, FalconStor means an approximate 2X surge in its ‘attainable market’, the market growth it thinks it can achieve on strictly product revenue, without maintenance or professional services. ‘With FreeStor and by targeting the SSD, Hybrid and Cloud MSP markets, we believe we can reasonably grow to $56.6 million.’ Originally pre-announced back in October by CEO Garry Quinn, following another quarter of declining revenue, the company’s approach is to let the data center adopt SDS at a pace that makes sense for the organization. “More importantly, this adoption can include the aggregation of existing storage assets, leveraging them as it makes sense,” said Crump. While worldwide disk storage systems factory revenue grew 5.1% year over year to nearly $8.8 billion during the third quarter of 2014, the SDS market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 35.20% over the period 2015-2019. SDS helps enterprises reduce storage infrastructure costs through efficient allocation of resources, which is the reason many large enterprises have added it to their infrastructure paradigm. Currently, the key players are EMC, HP, IBM, NetApp and VMware. FalconStor can now add its name to the list of SDS wannabes that also includes Coraid, DataCore, Dell, Hitachi Data Systems, Nexenta, Pivot3 and RedHat. Building on FalconStor’s ’15 years of innovation in virtualization, data protection and migration,’ FreeStor is ‘the first truly horizontal, software-defined storage platform for unified data services. Due to ship no later than May, the unified platform provides migration, continuity, protection, recovery and optimization for any storage environment through a single management interface – all for a single price based on managed capacity across arrays, servers, hypervisors, data centers, and the cloud, said the company. Last year was an inflection point for FalconStor, said Quinn, during the 2014 earnings call two weeks ago. ‘Throughout the year, we’ve stabilized our employees, partners and customers with updates of our new products, discussions of new products on the horizon, and launching of a new FalconStor image and message #BEFREE.’ Talking about the upcoming FreeStor announcement, he said it ‘addresses the heterogeneous storage portfolio of just about every large enterprise customer. It addresses those all-Flash array and Hybrid Flash array hardware manufacturers which do not have a software stack or do not have an enterprise ready software stack, as well as it provides...

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The Two Worlds Of Private Cloud Storage

Various industry sources estimate that unstructured data (user files, PDFs, email, rich multimedia, machine sensor data, etc.) accounts for upwards of 90% of all new data growth. Software-defined object storage offers an alternative approach to NAS/SAN systems. But many organizations don’t have the time or the people resources to integrate their own solution. Instead, they need the best of both worlds – the ease of deployment that an appliance offers, along with the cost savings that a software-defined storage (SDS) solution can deliver. Cloudian’s Cloud Appliance promises to deliver both of these capabilities to the enterprise. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Storage Switzerland Weekly...

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