Friday Nov 09, 2007

Is Thumper worth a Billion?

Our Senior Disk Analyst, Bruce Norikane, just walked into my office and asked this very interesting question:  "If the following is true, how much is Thumper (aka The SunFire X4500) worth?"

Data DomainDeduplication Storage System


EqualLogic: iSCSI SAN System


SunFire X4500 (Thumper): Storage Server System 

We think so...

Friday Jun 08, 2007

Redshift Storage...

In astronomy, "redshift" refers to when the Sun's light is reflected off of an object and is shifted towards the red end of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Our CTO Greg Papadopoulos described what Redshift means to Sun Microsystems and its customers at the '07 Sun Analyst Summit.    

In a nutshell, Redshift refers to a segment of IT users applications whose computing needs far outstrip Moore's Law (i.e. the doubling of transistors every 18 months).  While processing power is adequate for some of today's applications, a segment of customer applications need more than what Moore's delivers.  

The Redshift segment includes last-mile bandwidth provider applications (BW), high-performance computing (HPC) applications and on-demand Internet application providers (\*Prise).  Sun is meeting the Redshift need through projects like multiprocessing, crossbow and multithreaded networking cards.  The illustration below shows Moore's Law and where our Core customers (Green Line) sit vs. our emerging Redshift Customers (Red Line).

 

 

So what about Redshift Storage?
To see the relation between Core and Redshift customers, applications and their Storage needs, we drafted a model "borrowing" Greg's methodology - but using Storage numbers:

Moore's Law for Storage:  This has been mapped in terms of Hard Drive Capacity, but let's use the same method as the diagram above.  All those 1Ms and 100Ks are actually how many MIPS (million instructions per second) a customer could buy for $1,000 USD at a given point in time. 

To determine "Moore's Law for Storage" let's look at how many Gigabytes (GB) customers could buy for $1,000 over time.  (And since Tape and RAID storage differ in price and density, let's look at both lines over time): 


 

Core Storage Demand:  Now we need the Core customer demand line, the Green line.  To best capture demand, let's look at a metric that sums up what our customers deal with every day - "How much storage can a singe IT administrator manage?"  Fortunately, Horison Information Strategies tracks such a metric.  So below is our new chart - with Moore's law vs. Core demand:  (We added the Tape and RAID "blue" lines together for simplicity)


The Information Management Gap:  The most interesting difference is that the Core "green" line is below Moore's line in Computing; but the Core line is above Moore's line in Storage.  Simply put, Storage technology has not kept up with Core storage demand.  This constitutes the Information Management Gap - customers need to manage more storage, but storage technology has not kept pace with the explosive amount of data the world is generating (ever heard that one before?).  Also, when you look at our emerging Redshift customer applications - needs are even greater:   

 

So what's the Solution?  A great first step for anyone everyone struggling with Information Management would be to simply determine how equipped a "data center" is in managing data.

This current market trend has also brought terms like "virtualization", "partitioning" and "volume management" to the top of IT manager's minds: Storage Virtualization helps grow systems without disrupting operations and Virtual Tape speeds backup and recovery without changing backup infrastructures.  Technologies like Thin Provisioning help utilize more in a storage system.  In addition, file systems are gaining more and more data management features that help IT admins with Information Management.

But the intersection between Information Management and core storage needs like application support, data protection, business continuance and archive requirements is where customers need the most help - We'll cover what Sun is doing in these areas in later blogs...

(Inside Sun, see our Redshift Storage Wiki)




 

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My storage team and I focus on three of the most important aspects in any industry: customers, competitors and market trends. There is insight to gain and share in this role, so here is our take on Sun and Storage.

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