Feeds

IBM multi-petabyte cloud defies XIV storage

How does it scale that much?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Comment With its Smart Business Storage Cloud, IBM says we have its GPFS and XIV being used to build a system capable of multiple petabytes of capacity and supporting billions of files with high-performance computing-like I/O performance. But XIV has a maximum usable capacity of 79TB.

We can envisage an IBM BladeCenter server set running the GPFS (General Parallel File System) connected to an XIV rack, but this seems utterly unbalanced. There is a BladeCenter/GPFS setup capable of handling multiple petabytes and billions of files on the one hand, hooked up to an XIV array that can only hold 79TB and hundreds of thousands or single digit millions of files of any size on the other. What is going on? How will this work?

To get XIV storage up to the multi-PB level IBM has either to scale up XIV, scale out XIV, or do it indirectly and scale out server nodes with attached XIV arrays. Which is it going to use?

Scaling up XIV

XIV arrays use 1TB drives. Let's bring in 2TB drives and make the capacity 158TB. It's still nowhere near enough. If we assume a multi-petabyte capability means 10PB then we would need 64 times as many drives as it could use today. That means a 120X increase in capacity as we continue scaling towards 20PB.

It seems extremely unlikely that IBM is going to announce a souped-up XIV product with a 64X or 120X increase in capacity. The backplane and controller-drive enclosure interconnect technology would be awesomely difficult to design, engineer and develop.

Scaling out XIV

How about clustering XIV arrays? Can we do that? The XIV, with its 21 nodes, is already internally clustered, IBM describing it thus: "The XIV system is based on a grid of standard, off-the-shelf hardware components connected in any-to-any topology by means of massively paralleled, non-blocking Gigabit Ethernet." Devising a cluster interconnect and node software to keep things on track for an already clustered product is like engineering a cluster of clusters.

To scale to, say, the 10PB level, an XIV array using 2TB drives and maxing out at 158TB would need 64 nodes. A 64-node interconnect capable of scaling to higher node levels is perfectly feasible.

Isilon and Exanet make NAS clusters that go past the 1PB capacity level. Isilon can have up to 96 nodes in a scale-out design using 20Gbit/s InfiniBand. So we could envisage some way of scaling out XIV capacity by linking XIV nodes together with InfiniBand and adding functionality to XIV software to enable the nodes to co-operate.

However, scaling up XIV in this way would need a lot of XIV development work. Suppose we take a different tack.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.