Rethink-Storage-Hubspot-Banner.png

Rodger Burkley

Recent Posts

Hard or Soft Storage? That is the Question and the Answer

Posted by Rodger Burkley | Author Info

Dec 15, 2014 9:00:00 AM

There’s lots of press these days on Software-Defined Storage (SDS), Software-Defined Data Centers (SDDC), Server SAN’s, software-only virtual SANs, hyper-converged storage servers, storage appliances and the like. We’ve all been inundated with this new technology and architectural terms by bloggers, marketing mavens, PR, tradeshow signage, consultants, analysts, technology pundits and CEOs of new start-ups. As a blogger and marketing guy, I plead doubly guilty. But the emergence of SDS systems and SDDCs is real and timely. Definitions and differences, however, can be a tiny bit murky and confusing.

This enabling technology is coming to market just in time as today’s modern data centers, servers, storage arrays and even network/comm fabrics are getting more and more overtaxed and saturated with mega-scale data I/O transfers and operations of all types with all kind of data formats (i.e., file, object, HDFS, block, S3, etc.). When you add in the line of business commitments for SLA adherence, data security/integrity, compliance, TCO, upgrades, migrations, control/management, provisioning and the raw growth in data volume (growing by at least 50% a year) IT directors and administrators are getting prolonged headaches.

Against this backdrop, it’s no wonder that lately I’m getting asked a lot to clarify the difference between converged storage appliances, hyper-converged/hyper scale-out storage server clusters, and pure software-defined storage systems. So I wanted to make an attempt to provide a high level distinction between a storage hardware appliance and pure software-defined (i.e., shrink wrapped software) storage system, while also providing some considerations of choosing one over the other. In fact, architectural and functional differences are somewhat blurred. So it’s mostly about packaging…but not entirely.

Read More

Topics: Software Defined Storage, 3rd Platform, third platform, storage management

Energize Your Cloud

Posted by Rodger Burkley | Author Info

Nov 17, 2014 9:00:00 AM

You’ve been hearing a lot about cloud computing these days. If the many definitions of the Cloud seem a tad abstract and esoteric - you’re not alone. Go to any IT tradeshow or consulting conference and you’ll see liberal references and pictures of the Cloud. Many messages are often mixed with cloud enabling technologies like Software-defined Storage (SDS), hyper-converged/hyper-scalable virtual Server SANs, and the many different flavors of Flash. Let’s not forget vendor messages around Big Data, Virtualization and 2nd to 3rd Platform transformation to Mobile Computing. It’s no wonder they call it the Cloud – it’s anything but clear!

Whatever it is you are trying to do with your cloud, whatever use case you are trying to solve, it is likely that SDS, Flash, and ultimately software defined data center (SDDC) platforms will be the key building blocks. Why? As performance requirements of cloud computing overtax the max performance limits of traditional spinning media, silicon based NAND Flash with no moving parts bridges the I/O performance gap between today’s hyper fast CPUs/Cores and much slower spinning media (i.e., 3,500 IOPs/SSD vs 150 IOPS/HDD at system level, respectively). A purely software-defined and implemented control and data services application forms an independent, de-coupled abstraction layer from the underlying physical layer of storage hardware resources. SDS is optimally designed for use in today’s modern heterogeneous, multi-vendor, and multi-hardware platform environment. SDS and the greater overarching SDDC umbrella platforms like ViPR and the ECS Appliance truly make centralized management of the storage infrastructure more flexible, easier to deploy, and simpler to manage. This provides a centrally managed control/access point among disparate physical devices/resources in the process plus the side benefits of hardware agnosticism and vendor independence. Who doesn’t like an easy button?

Read More

Topics: Software Defined Storage, 3rd Platform, third platform, hybrid cloud, cloud storage

A Look Back Forward: IT Visions, Miscues, and True Transformations (Said Simply: Ken Olsen Was Right After All!)

Posted by Rodger Burkley | Author Info

Oct 6, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Once upon a time, ‘parsecs’ ago in high tech time, there was a computer giant homegrown in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded by an engineering and entrepreneur genius. I’m referring to (of course) Digital Equipment Corporation (aka “DEC”) and wunderkind founder, CEO, President, and paternalistic ‘gentle giant’ Ken Olsen. Not familiar? Not surprising, especially since upstart Compaq Computer ended up buying DEC back in early 1998 (only later to be subsumed by HP). Besides, even in its PDP and VAX heyday, DEC was pretty ‘low profile’ and mostly an OEM channel vendor. But one really has to look hard in today’s high tech world and IT data centers to find any substantial technology, system, platform computing style or application that Digital didn’t have some impact upon, either directly or indirectly. For starters, have you ever heard of StorageWorks, Alpha, Workstations, Alta Vista, Ethernet or RDB? I was lucky to be there on the tip of the high tech spear back in the 80s and 90s. I was a proud “Deccie” and a dedicated/loyal one of Ken’s minions like all the rest at DEC. Ken was among other things a true visionary and also “low profile."

Read More

Topics: Software Defined Storage, third platform, ViPR

“Analyze This”: How Analytics, Pattern Recognition and Software-Defined Storage are Transforming the Datacenter…and Your Life

Posted by Rodger Burkley | Author Info

Aug 4, 2014 9:15:32 AM

Pattern recognition! That’s what we carbon-based ‘humanoids’ are good at…since the very beginning when humankind first started walking upright. As a whole, we’re really adept at observing our immediate surroundings, natural environment and a sundry of other random and not so random things. We notice what happens around us in our personal biosphere, and existential universe. We notice things that touch our lives in some significant or insignificant way. From the mundane and annoyingly trivial to profoundly grave matters affecting our very existence like: Cause/effect; action/reaction; commotion/notion; fascinations/machinations; observation/correlation; discovery/recovery; monitoring/manipulating, detection/correction; measuring/tabulating; analyzing/theorizing and so on. My, how busy we are! A strong survival and pain avoidance instinct does that. And so does natural selection.

It comes down to situational awareness (SA). SA gleaned from recognizing patterns that allows us to understand interrelationships and dynamics so we can plan for; act on and hopefully accurately predict events, occurrences and outcomes. Of course, sound ‘policies’ usually evolve, improve and get codified in the process. Just think about how much you observe in your daily life. Chances are you’re constantly coming up with possible ‘situations’, course of actions (COAs) and maybe even personal policies based on probabilities or predictability for all different reasons, seasons, ligations, occasions and outcomes. And we tend to make these ‘root cause’ observations, COAs and predictions on both general abstracted assumptions and/or backed by granular data analysis. We can even ‘virtualize’ scenarios and problem solving while day dreaming….or conjuring up ‘what ifs’. 

Read More

Topics: Software Defined Storage, software-defined data center, Virtual Environments, storage management