Make the Next Storage Move
Organizations reduce costs by matching the right type of
storage to their needs.
Oracle Magazine spoke with Benjamin S. Woo, program vice president for
worldwide storage systems at International
Data Corporation (IDC), about today’s
evolving storage technology and how to
create an effective strategy for delivering
data to the enterprise.
Oracle Magazine: How can businesses create
storage strategies that keep them ahead of
Woo: To create an effective storage strategy
that accommodates growing data volume
and maximizes your gigabyte per dollar, you
have to balance access time against application requirements. There is a place for
high-performance solid-state drives [SSDs];
slower, high-capacity disk drives; and tape
drives. Matching application attributes with
data at each stage of the data lifecycle—from
initial processing to final archiving—will
enable you to correlate your needs with the
right solution set.
Oracle Magazine: How is disk storage technology evolving in terms of technology
Woo: We will continue to see increases at
both ends of the spectrum—in capacity and
performance. Performance will increase
through the penetration of SSD technology,
while capacity will increase through the proliferation of multiterabyte SATA [serial ATA]
drives. We now have drives that hold 3 terabytes per unit in the open market. These high-capacity drives will lower the power envelope
and also increase the amount of data that
can be stored in one place. We will also see a
gradual movement toward flash technology
for some high-performance applications.
Oracle Magazine: What is the optimal use of
flash technology in a storage environment?
Woo: Flash is a performance technology, so it
is not designed to replace all storage. It’s not
suitable if you are looking to maximize your
gigabyte per dollar of capacity. Most people
JULY/AUGUS T 2011 ORACLE. COM/ORACLEMAGAZINE
Tape is still the
way to store offsite,
equate performance with capacity, but
these are two very separate measures. IDC’s
research indicates that flash technology will
represent from 2 to 5 percent of total storage
within larger enterprises.
Oracle Magazine: How should organizations
measure storage performance?
Woo: For starters, don’t just read the spec
sheet! Sheer performance is just one
measure of utility, and not all types of drives
are appropriate for all purposes. The best
way to evaluate your particular storage
needs is to look at the number of I/Os or
storage transactions that represent your
peak load, and then address those performance needs with the appropriate type of
Oracle Magazine: What are the leading
advancements in storage controllers, and
how do these devices help IT departments?
Woo: Storage controllers are starting to
adopt multicore, multi-CPU technology.
This will become very valuable as much of
today’s single-threaded storage software
is rewritten to take advantage of multicore
processors. For example, you could have one
core doing all the RAID calculations, another
core doing NFS, a couple of cores handling
compression and deduplication, and so
forth. Multithreading will give customers a
lot more bang for their buck. It will also help
IT departments manage multiple storage
functions in a unified way.
Oracle Magazine: Oracle Exadata technology
moves certain aspects of database processing
into the storage layer. What are the database
and storage benefits of this technology?
Woo: Systems like Oracle Exadata are what
we call object-based storage systems because
they provide a more direct link between
where data objects are stored and the leveraging of those data objects for value-creation
purposes. Interjecting database technology at
this level not only dramatically improves the
performance of database queries and transactions but also lets you store user-definable
metadata, such as the ability to tag a file as
“personal,” “public,” or “enterprise,” to identify its purpose and relevance.
Oracle Magazine: What is the future of tape
Woo: Tape is not going away. It is still the
most cost-effective way to store offsite,
offline data. As alternatives, people have
talked about “spin-down drives” and other
technologies that minimize energy consumption and maximize equipment life. But
if you don’t need data for a lengthy period, it
is still more efficient to offload it to tape and
place it “at rest” in a library. Tape is a great
long-term archival technology, and it is the
most reliable and cost-effective technology
for achieving persistence.
David Baum ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is
a freelance business writer based in Santa
IDC ( idc.com) is a global provider of market
intelligence, advisory services, and events for
the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets.
Sun ZFS Storage Appliances
Sun flash products
Storage Tek tape storage products
Oracle Exadata Storage Server