Cloud Storage

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I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Eric Kuzmack and I recently joined Dell as an Architect in the Data Center Solutions group. I came to Dell after 15 years at Gannett, the USA’s largest newspaper company and the publisher of USA TODAY along with more than 1000 other publications, television stations, and other ventures. I spent much of my time at Gannett working on large scale Identity Management, Server, and Storage architectures.

I just returned from Storage Network World in Dallas hoping to hear about what’s going on with storage infrastructure in the cloud. I’m not talking about what services are being offered by companies such as Amazon, Mozy, or Nirvanix, but what’s new on the infrastructure side to allow companies such as these to offer new and unique storage services to customers. With all the talk about cloud storage opportunities, what surprised me was how little there actually was at the show aimed at that space.

An interesting tidbit: I attended an IDC presentation where they mentioned that they expect cloud computing spend to grow from $16B in 2008 to $42B in 2012. In 2008, storage is 5% of the spend, but in 2012, it’s 18%. Dell DCS J23, rear view

Combining that potential along with the financial meltdown that many expect will hasten the adoption of cloud based services, I would have expected the show to be packed full of cloud storage goodness.

Are we going to see a radical change from what’s worked for years or are we just going to see incremental changes along the way?

Dell DCS J23, top-down view I suspect that many of the traditional players in the storage space aren’t quite sure how to deal with the cloud within their existing product portfolio. Monolithic storage solutions become too expensive to deploy in the hyper-scale environment. A new way of thinking needs to come from the vendors. For example, at DCS, we have what I think is an interesting storage chassis. We call it the J23 – JBOD with 23 drives. What makes it cool is that it holds 23 3.5” SAS/SATA hot plug drives in just 2U of rack space. We mount drives in both the front (12) and rear (11) of the chassis but still use front-to-back cooling.

Much of the cloud architecture that my colleague Jimmy talks about here focuses (rightly so) on the services end of the cloud. But there seems to be a lack of discussion in the blogosphere about the underlying infrastructure.

Stay Tuned…

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