Higher Performance Tiered Storage

Author

Tom Coughlin, Contributor

March 11, 2015

It is sometimes difficult to determine if new technologies drive new applications or if the need for these applications drives technology development. In truth, major changes in the way we do business are probably a combination of both factors. Big data analytics are being driven by our ability to generate and store more information than ever before but also by our ability to access and process this data faster.   These factors are driving new performance requirements in what previously would have been colder storage tiers.

This week Google introduced its Google Cloud Storage Nearline. The new Google storage service provides a low cost on-line storage option offering faster response than normal on-line archive services. The Nearline pricing is one penny per GB per month for data at rest. Google Nearline enables about 3 second response time and stores data at multiple physical locations to provide data protection with data security provided by authentication and granular access controls.

The new Nearline service integrated with other Google Cloud Storage services and supports the same programming models as their other services. The Figure below is Google’s comparison of Online data storage solutions against Google Nearline and traditional cost storage offerings.

Google is working with several partners to provide important storage services and front ends to the Nearline service. In particular Veritas/Symantec NetBackup will support Google Cloud Storage Nearline. NetApp’s SteelStore (purchased from Riverbed) provides an on-premise appliance that de-duplicates, encrypts and compresses data before streaming it to Google Nearline. This can reduce data volumes by up to 30X and can speed data transport by 400%.

Iron Mountain, well known for data ingest and preservation  services will provide offline ingestion services to move massive amounts of data into the Google Nearline Cloud Storage. Geminare provides Disaster Recovery (DR) as a service funning on Google Compute Engine and Google Storage Nearline. With this service the cloud storage can act as a secondary data center location.

This week also DDN reported significant quarterly growth and a 16% year-over-year growth. DDN has found strong market demand in Enterprise and Web/Cloud storage sectors for their solutions. The current DDN product line provides their version of end-to-end tiering with high performance storage systems containing an SSD tier, a SAS HDD and a SATA HDD tier and finally their Cloud storage tier, WOS.

DDN says that their clustered storage system design avoids congestion and complexity issues to provide greater parallel access to data than popular scale-out NAS systems and shows transactional performance, streaming performance and overall system bandwidth performance that outstrips both flash based and HDD based competitors. These advantages are particularly pronounced for large storage pools where due to the reduced complexity of their offering, DDN says they can store e.g. 10 PB of data in 4 racks while competing product would require twice as many racks.

While Google says their Nearline service could mean the end of tape for many customers, the DDN system can include lower cost tape storage. In fact the LTO program just announced that tape price per GB were now down to 0.8 cents per GB (flat, not per month). Thus tape still has a cost advantage per GB where this is a compelling system consideration.

Modern storage infrastructure is evolving and often includes in-house as well as on-line cloud storage. The introduction of Google Cloud Storage Nearline expands the capabilities of professionally managed pay as you go storage services, integrated into Google’s other storage offerings. At the same time companies such as DDN are moving to the future of high performance storage clustering that out-performs older scale out NAS storage. Both the Google Nearline and DDN GRIDScaler products, while intended for very different markets, show that higher performance and lower cost will enable keeping more content for the long term and providing value by rapid access to this content.

storage

This article was written by Tom Coughlin from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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