On the plane to OpenStack Summit, I was thinking about what we on Oracle ZFS Storage team have been saying about cloud storage, and how Oracle's cloud strategy internally (building the world's most successful Software-as-a-Service company) maps to our thinking. If you haven't followed the SaaS trends, Oracle's cloud has grown well beyond the recreational stage. We're killing it, frankly, and it's built on Oracle ZFS Storage.
The cliche is that there's no clear definition for cloud (or maybe it's that there are a bunch of them). I disagree. I think that as typically happens, people have done their best to twist the definition to match whatever they already do. Watch Larry Ellison's CloudWorld Tokyo keynote (there's a highlights video/but watch the whole thing). At at 22 minutes in, he walks you through how real cloud applications work.
What I'm thinking about relative to storage architecture is this notion that next-generation "cloud" storage can just be a bunch of commodity disks (think Ceph, for example), where you copy the data three times and are done with it. OpenStack Swift works this way. In the Hadoop/Big Data world, this is conventional wisdom. But as the amount of data people are moving grows, it's simply hasn't turned out to be the case. In the cloud, we're seeing the same bottlenecks that plague hyperconsolidation in the enterprise: Too many apps trying to get to the same spindle at the same time, leading to huge latencies and unpredictable performance. People are deploying flash, in response but I'd argue that's the blunt force solution.
We've learned at Oracle, and have demonstrated to our customers, that super fast, super intelligent caching is the answer. Likewise, our friends at Adurant Technologies have shown that once your map reduce operations hit a certain scale point, Hadoop runs faster on external storage than it does on local disk.
Turns out that you can't just jump to commodity hardware and expect optimal storage efficiency.
EMC and NetApp simply aren't going to explain all of this to you. From afar, they are hitting the right beats publicly, but look like they are flopping around looking for a real answer. Their respective core storage businesses (FAS and VNX specifically) are flagging in the face of cloud. Their customers are going where they can't.
And indirectly, they are coming to us. Whether they are buying Oracle Exadata and Exalogic with Oracle ZFS Storage to turbocharge their core applications, moving to Oracle's massively expanding IaaS/PaaS/SaaS clouds, or discovering how they can get 10x efficiency by putting Oracle ZFS Storage in their own data center, they are moving away from stuff that just doesn't work right for modern workloads.
So, we're here at OpenStack, partly to embrace what are customers are hoping will be the long-sought Holy Grail of the Data Center (a single, consolidated cloud nerve center), and we're feeling rather confident. We have the the right answer, and we know we're getting to critical mass in the market.
If you happen to be in Vancouver this week, drop by Booth #P9 and we'll tell you all about it.