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Bryan Betts

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Hard disk repair by William Warby https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/ cc 2.0 attribution generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Scale-out storage: Proprietary? Commodity? Or both?

There is no doubting that scale-out storage is now thoroughly achievable. Indeed, scale-out is pretty much the norm for object storage, plus it is now the primary option when it comes to huge volumes of file-based NAS, where scale-out means a highly-scalable file system that supports clustering. It is growing in popularity for …
Bryan Betts, 11 Feb 2016
Ceph_basic_Scheme

Will open source storage make the hyperscale dream real?

Open-source software has become an important presence in many areas of IT, and now, as storage increasingly becomes software-defined storage, it is storage's turn. The darling of the open-source storage movement – though it is by no means the only viable and popular option – is Ceph. A unified storage platform originally …
Bryan Betts, 09 Nov 2015
Old scrolls at the National Archive

Flash, holograms? Where will your archive end up?

Whether it’s unstructured rich media, traditional business documents and files, or the audiovisual library of a media company, there is more data about than ever before. And more than ever, it has potential value – whether that is to build new content, to improve customer relationships, to answer the demands of regulators, or …
Bryan Betts, 03 Sep 2015
Herdwick sheep walk towards the camera

You can do more with backup than just cloning your data

As we all know, the world of backup is changing, and not just in obvious ways such as the move to disk and cloud-based backup, the adoption of deduplication, the need to copy, back up and restore virtual machines, and so on. First, flash memory and the wider availability of snapshots and replication means that other elements …
Bryan Betts, 23 Jul 2015
Assembled experiment lowered into a high-field magnet system. Image credit: Jason Krizan

Flash is fallible. But you'd rather have an AFA than spinning rust

We tend to think of flash as a solid-state disk – like spinning rust, only more expensive, consuming less power, and much, much faster. And yes, it is true that you can use it like that, but there is a lot more that flash can offer if you start to take into consideration what makes flash different in the first place. Simply …
Bryan Betts, 16 Jun 2015
arrow pointing up

What hyper-converged storage really means for you

To paraphrase an old joke, ask three IT “experts” for a definition of hyper-convergence and you'll get four different answers - depending on which areas they work in and what their employers are currently trying to sell. We are going to simplify things though by looking at it through the prism of storage. This turns out to be a …
Bryan Betts, 05 Jun 2015

Federation promises to bring your storage under control

As virtualisation brings IT consolidation back onto the agenda, storage federation is being touted by many as the best way to impose discipline on infrastructures that have grown unwieldy. So what can it offer that storage virtualisation or a global file system cannot, and is it time for us all to join the federation? Storage …
Bryan Betts, 03 Jun 2015
Flash Gordon

It pays to fake it: Test your flash SAN with a good simulation

It is pretty obvious that storage systems vary. You could reply, with some justification: “No shit, Sherlock!” What is less obvious and more useful to know, however, is how and why they vary and how the variation – not just between all-disk, hybrid and all-flash arrays but even between different arrays of the same class – can …
Bryan Betts, 21 May 2015

Hybrid storage arrays versus all-flash: will disks hold their own?

In the early days of smartphones, some had hard disks in them – tiny devices storing a gigabyte or two on a single one-inch (or smaller) disk platter. This was mainly because flash was expensive and untrusted, whereas people knew where they were with hard disks. We all know how it turned out, though. Flash memory grew cheaper, …
Bryan Betts, 14 May 2015

Storage: Never mind the quantity, feel the quality of service

Today's organisations must store ever-increasing volumes of digital information arriving in an ever-wider range of formats. At the same time, more and more data-hungry applications are coming on stream. It is harder than ever for your storage to provide each application with the appropriate quality of service (QoS). How can you …
Bryan Betts, 07 Oct 2014
Merlin Data Center Interior

Is your data growing too big to handle?

For years we have been told that consolidation and centralisation are good things, especially in the realm of data storage. Not only do they mean fewer boxes to manage, but with the utilisation rate of direct-attached storage running at maybe 30 per cent, moving to shared storage can allow us to dramatically prune back slack …
Bryan Betts, 26 Sep 2014

Do you really have to slash and burn to upgrade your storage?

Whether it’s new storage architectures, software defined networking (SDN) or cloud computing, the assumption is you start with bucket-loads of cash and either a slash 'n' burn approach to your existing set-up or develop a green field site into which you can install the latest all-singing, all-dancing technology. But what if this …
Bryan Betts, 11 Jun 2014
EMC Vatican Library Video still

Spot the joints: You say backup, I say archiving

If you have ever been asked to recover an old, lost or deleted file, you will know just how hard people find it to tell the difference between backup and archiving. The administrator's workload has grown so much that backup companies have even added user self-service portals to ease it. The problem has accentuated as companies …
Bryan Betts, 27 Jan 2014
Dolphins play in the water

Why storage needs Quality of Service

Storage consolidation looks great on paper. Direct-attached storage is notorious for its inefficiency, with some arrays being just 40 per cent occupied or even less. Providing an Oracle database with 10,000 IOPS could mean aggregating dozens of 15,000 RPM drives, and unless the database is several terabytes in size that is a lot …
Bryan Betts, 16 Dec 2013

Space-saving ideas for improving storage performance

Once upon a time pretty much the only thing a storage manager had to worry about was running out of capacity. Disk space was expensive and a slew of products offered data compression, moving disused files off to tape and so on. Disk space is pretty cheap now, with multi-terabit drives readily available along with petabyte-class …
Bryan Betts, 06 Nov 2013
A tape reel from IBM's 726 tape drive

Tape never died, it was just resting

Once upon a time, you could find tape drives everywhere. Even home offices used DAT, QIC and other small tape cartridge formats to do backups. In the days when having a hard disk as large as 500MB seriously impressed people, tape was pretty much the only economical way to make a copy of your data. So what went wrong for tape – …
Bryan Betts, 14 Oct 2013
Orangutan at Chester Zoo

How to break out of the storage hardware zoo

With enterprise storage now costing significantly more to run than it does to buy according to many estimates, the need to cut those operational costs – or at least to slow their rise – is paramount. The result is a growing desire to move away from the siloed and application-specific nature of much of today's storage market. " …
Bryan Betts, 30 Sep 2013

Leave nothing behind when migrating virtual machines

We migrate virtual machines (VMs) for all sorts of reasons: to load balance our physical hosts, say, or to offload a server so it can be taken offline for maintenance, or because the original host has failed. But in every case we want no interruption to the VM's operation, or at least as little interruption as possible. That …
Bryan Betts, 28 Sep 2011
Cat 5 cable

Network switching is having a light bulb moment

As server farms grow and their workload changes, the design and structure of the networks that serve them must also change. End-of-row switching is increasingly giving way to top-of-rack switching, and tiered networks may need to be replaced – or perhaps augmented – by more mesh-like Ethernet fabrics. The increasing density of …
Bryan Betts, 26 Aug 2011

Network switches look different in the cloud

Cloud computing takes more than just a philosophical shift. It requires new skills, processes and architectures. In particular, traffic patterns in cloud networks can be quite different from those of the familiar enterprise network and the scale of operation can be significantly higher. That, according to experts in the field, …
Bryan Betts, 11 Aug 2011
channel

Tarmin touts active archiving software

Storage Expo UK-based software developer Tarmin Technologies has come out of stealth this week with an intriguing archiving tool called GridBank. As the name implies, this is grid-based and looks rather like ILM version 2.0 - but Tarmin CEO and co-founder Shahbaz Ali prefers to call it active archiving. Currently in beta and due for full …
homeless man with sign

iSCSI dodges Fibre Channel over Ethernet noose

Storage Expo Fibre Channel over Ethernet may not have taken off yet, but at least it's on the taxiway. That's thanks to NetApp's launch of the first native FCoE storage subsystem, converged network adapters (CNAs) from Emulex and QLogic, and Cisco's announcement of the first FCoE switch - the Connectrix NEX-5020, which is based on its Nexus …
Steve Ballmer

Ballmer deploys greenery in CeBIT charm offensive

On his first trip to CeBIT in six years, Steve Ballmer is hoping to fix up Microsoft's somewhat tarnished image in Europe. Tonight, he's at the official CeBIT opening ceremony along with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and German chancellor Angela Merkel. Rumour has it he'll …
Bryan Betts, 03 Mar 2008
channel

Neterion's NICs are virtually there

10Gig Ethernet specialist Neterion is announcing its third generation of virtualisation-aware network adapters at VMworld Europe this week, with a claim that these NICs will greatly speed up network-intensive tasks such as migrating virtual machines (VMs) from one server to another. The cards offload work normally done in the …
Bryan Betts, 25 Feb 2008
Fujitsu Siemens

Fujitsu Siemens says bye-bye to VXA

SNW The storage side of Fujitsu Siemens Computers has given VXA tape the heave-ho, dumping it in favour of LTO. The company has brought out two new models in its FibreCAT range of storage systems, aimed at SMEs. While the FibreCAT SX88 disk box is mostly a faster version of its predecessor, the TX08 backup system represents a …
Bryan Betts, 01 Nov 2007