IBM Storage Optimisation Breakfast – Auckland

Last week we went to the “IBM Storage Optimisation Breakfast” here in Auckland. As you can guess that Breakfast started quite early 😉
Anyway, through the rain we made it there in time.

8:00am Registration / Breakfast
8:25am Welcome & Overview of Current Storage Technologies, IBM ANZ Executive
9:00am IBM Customer Case Study
9:40am Storage Future Trends Presentation by Tony Pearson, Master Inventor
10:20am Questions & Closing

The breakfast itself was typical NZ/Continental (I thought I mention that here ;-)).

The two most interesting Agenda points were the IBM Customer Case Study and the Storage Future Trends presentation from Tony Pearson.

The case study was presented by the Customers (big Telecommunications company here in NZ) Storage architect and was very interesting.
He spoke about the challenges they faced (Vendor lock-in, migration problems, …) and how they eventually decided to work around that. They ended up buying IBMs SVC and a DS8700 as tier one storage backend and are so far impressed by the capabilities and the migration speed. He mentioned before SVC it took them about 4 years to decommission an old Storage array after the new one had been procured, while SVC of course simplifies storage migration with the online migration features.

The next presentation was done by Tony Pearson.
Summary from his Blog:
Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Storage Consultant for the IBM System Storage product line at the IBM Executive Briefing Center in Tucson Arizona, and featured contributor to IBM's Virtual Briefing Center. Tony has been working in IBM storage for over 20 years, and is author of the book Inside System Storage: Volume I. This blog is for the open exchange of ideas relating to storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.

Tony spoke about 3 new Trends in the Storage & IT world that he thinks will eventually become standard.

SSD + SATA = New storage architecture

Tony said that the combination of these two devices into a Storage subsystem will soon become standard in the industry for the following reasons:

SSD performance per Watt is extremely higher than a 15k RPM Harddisk (Watt/performance 2,970 IOPS/Watt compared to 17.5 IOPS/Watt for a 15k Disk)
SATA disk offers significant savings in hardware pricing & energy consumption compared to SAS/FC disks
SSD has the disadvantage of being much more expensive and smaller than standard Harddisks

So combining SSDs with SATA drives will enable customers to benefit from the low price/energy consumption of a commodity SATA harddrive and the high performance of a SSD.

We can already see that this kind of device is getting traction by looking at XiV which consists of standard of the shelf hardware that is accelerated by by 15x8GB RAM. You could say that the memory of each node acts as a SSD here.

FC HBA + NIC = CNA (Converged Network Adapters)

The other very interesting point he presented was a big possible change in networking. Instead of having to patch 2 cables for FC disk, 2 cables for FC tape and 2 or more cables for Ethernet (management, gigabit, 10G ethernet), all this can be replaced by a CNA (Converged Network Adapters). The CNA appears to the OS as a NIC & Fibre HBA and routes both kinds of traffic to a top-of-the-rack-switch (8GB FC capable & 10GB Ethernet) that will then demultiplex the packets and de-stage them to the different networks (FC & Ethernet). This technology is already available for some servers and it can be developed further by eventually unifying the two Networks.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing was the last point on Tony’s agenda for that day. But not many new things were presented. He basically said that he thinks that sooner or later all customers will use the Cloud as if they use a company for accounting or cleaning. IT will become a service and it will be done by highly specialized ISPs whom will drive efficiency and cost effectiveness.

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