Comfort Zones – Stating What Might Be Obvious to Some…

May 26, 2008 – 7:58 am

Storage I/O trends

Over the past couple of weeks I have talked with many IT professionals who work in IT data centers of varying size from different locations around the world. A couple of interesting patterns or trends if you prefer I have noticed are that while IT and storage professionals in general see disk based backup as the future and for some instances, a good tool today, there is still very much a comfort factor with magnetic tape.

The most cited reasons for continued use of tape being affordability, low power requirements, portability (assuming media is encrypted and secure) and familiar or comfort and confidence with the technology. A related trend or pattern is that while many IT professionals see the value and benefit of SSD including FLASH and RAM, there is also a concern or lack of confidence in the first so called enterprise class FLASH based SSD technology.

A related trend should hardly be a surprise in that enterprise customers I talk to who cling to tape as a data retention medium (even when using disk based backups) are also the most likely to have an early adopter aversion towards FLASH based enterprise storage. During discussions, what I also hear is that given time SSD including both RAM and enhanced or next generation FLASH will be adopted and deployed along magnetic hard disk drives (HDDs) and that HDDs will be used more in the future for backups and other data protection tasks.

Thus the consensus is that while HDDs have been declared dead by some with the arrival of FLASH and SSD, HDDs have joined the “Zombie” list of technologies declared dead, yet that continue to be produced and bought by customers. Other “Zombie” technologies include the IBM Mainframe, Fibre Channel, Magnetic Tapes, Copper based Ethernet and Printers among others. So with the magnetic HDD being over 50 years old, its safe to assume that magnetic HDD will be around for many more years, especially now that HDDs are on the “Zombie” technology list, a rather esteemed list I might add!

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
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