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    The Next Step for Containers: Best Practices and Data Management Services

    October 25th, 2016

    In our first SNIA Cloud webcast on containers, we provided a solid foundation on what containers are, container storage challenges and Docker. If you missed the live event, it’s now available on-demand. I encourage you to check it out, as well as our webcast Q&A blog.

    So now that we have set the stage and you’ve become acquainted with basic container technologies and the associated storage challenges in supporting applications running within containers in production, we will be back on December 7th. This time we will take a deeper dive into what differentiates this technology from what you are used to with virtual machines. Containers can both complement virtual machines and also replace them, as they promise the ability to scale exponentially higher. They can easily be ported from one physical server to another or to one platform—such as on-premise—to another—such as public cloud providers like Amazon AWS.

    At our December 7th webcast, “Containers: Best Practices and Data Management Services,” we’ll explore container best practices to address the various challenges around networking, security and logging. We’ll also look at what types of applications more easily lend themselves to a microservice architecture versus which applications may require additional investments to refactor/re-architect to take advantage of microservices.

    On December 7th, we’ll be on hand to answer your questions on the spot. I encourage you to register today. We hope you can attend!


    The Current State of Storage in the Container World

    October 25th, 2016

    It seems like everyone is talking about containers these days, but not everyone is talking about storage – and they should be. The first wave of adoption of container technology was focused on micro services and ephemeral workloads. The next wave of adoption won’t be possible without persistent, shared storage. That’s why the SNIA Ethernet Storage Forum is hosting a live webcast on November 17th, “Current State of Storage in the Container World.” In this webcast, we will provide an overview of Docker containers and the inherent challenge of persistence when containerizing traditional enterprise applications.  We will then examine the different storage solutions available for solving these challenges and provide the pros and cons of each. You’ll hear:

    • An Overview of Containers
      • Quick history, where we are now
      • Virtual machines vs. Containers
      • How Docker containers work
      • Why containers are compelling for customers
      • Challenges
      • Storage
    • Storage Options for Containers
      • NAS vs. SAN
      • Persistent and non-persistent
    • Future Considerations
      • Opportunities for future work

    This webcast should appeal to those interested in understanding the basics of containers and how it relates to storage used with containers. I encourage you to register today! We hope you can make it on November 17th. And if you’re interested in keeping up with all that SNIA is doing with containers, please sign up for our Containers Opt-In Email list and we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

     


    SNIA Storage Developer Conference-The Knowledge Continues

    October 13th, 2016

    SNIA’s 18th Storage Developer Conference is officially a success, with 124 general and breakout sessions;  Cloud Interoperability, Kinetiplugfest 5c Storage, and SMB3 plugfests; ten Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions, and amazing networking among 450+ attendees.  Sessions on NVMe over Fabrics won the title of most attended, but Persistent Memory, Object Storage, and Performance were right behind.  Many thanks to SDC 2016 Sponsors, who engaged attendees in exciting technology discussions.

    For those not familiar with SDC, this technical industry event is designed for a variety of storage technologists at various levels from developers to architects to product managers and more.  And, true to SNIA’s commitment to educating the industry on current and future disruptive technologies, SDC content is now available to all – whether you attended or not – for download and viewing.

    20160919_120059You’ll want to stream keynotes from Citigroup, Toshiba, DSSD, Los Alamos National Labs, Broadcom, Microsemi, and Intel – they’re available now on demand on SNIA’s YouTube channel, SNIAVideo.

    All SDC presentations are now available for download; and over the next few months, you can continue to download SDC podcasts which combine audio and slides. The first podcast from SDC 2016 – on hyperscaler (as well as all 2015 SDC Podcasts) are available here, and more will be available in the coming weeks.

    SNIA thanks all its members and colleagues who contributed to make SDC a success! A special thanks goes out to the SNIA Technical Council, a select group of acknowledged industry experts who work to guide SNIA technical efforts. In addition to driving the agenda and content for SDC, the Technical Council oversees and manages SNIA Technical Work Groups, reviews architectures submitted by Work Groups, and is the SNIA’s technical liaison to standards organizations. Learn more about these visionary leaders at http://www.snia.org/about/organization/tech_council.

    And finally, don’t forget to mark your calendars now for SDC 2017 – September 11-14, 2017, again at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara. Watch for the Call for Presentations to open in February 2017.


    The Everything You Want To Know About Storage Is On Again With Part Mauve – The Architecture Pod

    October 11th, 2016

    The first installment of our “colorful” Webcast series, “Everything You Wanted To Know about Storage But Were Too Proud To Ask – Part Chartreuse,” covered the fundamental elements of storage systems. If you missed it, you can check it out on-demand. On November 1st, we’ll be back at it, focusing on the network aspect of storage systems with “Everything You Wanted To Know About Storage But Were Too Proud To Ask – Part Mauve.”

    As with any technical field, it’s too easy to dive into the jargon of the pieces and expect people to know exactly what you mean. Unfortunately, some of the terms may have alternative meanings in other areas of technology. In this Webcast, we look at some of those terms specifically and discuss them as they relate to storage networking systems.

    In particular, you’ll find out what we mean when we talk about:

    • Channel versus Busses
    • Control Plane versus Data Plane
    • Fabric versus Network

    Register now for Part Mauve of “Everything You Wanted To Know About Storage But Were Too Proud to Ask.

    For people who are familiar with data center technology, whether it be compute, programming, or even storage itself, some of these concepts may seem intuitive and obvious… until you start talking to people who are really into this stuff. This series of Webcasts will help be your Secret Decoder Ring to unlock the mysteries of what is going on when you hear these conversations. We hope to see you there!

     

     

     


    The Changing World of SNIA Technical Work – A Conversation with Technical Council Chair Mark Carlson

    August 3rd, 2016

    carlson_mark_resizeMark Carlson is the current Chair of the SNIA Technical Council (TC). Mark has been a SNIA member and volunteer for over 18 years, and also wears many other SNIA hats.   Recently, SNIA on Storage sat down with Mark to discuss his first nine months as the TC Chair and his views on the industry.

    SNIA on Storage (SoS):  Within SNIA, what is the most important activity of the SNIA Technical Council?

    Mark Carlson (MC): The SNIA Technical Council works to coordinate and approve the technical work going on within SNIA. This includes both SNIA Architecture (standards) and SNIA Software. The  work is conducted within 13 SNIA Technical Work Groups (TWGs).  The members of the TC are elected from the voting companies of SNIA, and the Council also includes appointed members and advisors as well as SNIA regional affiliate advisors. SNIA_Technology_Infographic_4

    SoS:  What has been your focus this first nine months of 2016?   

    MC: The SNIA Technical Council has overseen a major effort to integrate a new standard organization into SNIA.  The creation of the new SNIA SFF Technology Affiliate (TA) Technical Work Group has brought in a very successful group of folks and standards related to storage connectors and transceivers. This work group, formed in June 2016, carries forth the longstanding SFF Committee work efforts that has operated since 1990 until mid-2016.  In 2016, SFF Committee leaders transitioned the organizational stewardship to SNIA, to operate under a special membership class named Technology Affiliate, while retaining the long standing technical focus on specifications in a similar fashion as all SNIA TWGs do.

    SoS:  What changes did SNIA implement to form the new Technology Affiliate membership class and why?

    MC: The SNIA Policy and Procedures were changed to account for this new type of membership.  Companies can now join an Affiliate TWG without having to join SNIA as a US member.  Current SNIA members who want to participate in a Technology Affiliate like SFF can join a Technology Affiliate and pay the separate dues.  The SFF was a catalyst – we saw an organization looking for a new home as its membership evolved and its leadership transitioned.  They felt SNIA could be this home but we needed to complete some activities to make it easier for them to seamlessly continue their work.   The SFF is now fully active within SNIA and also working closely with T10 and T11, groups that SNIA members have long participated in.

    SoS:  Is forming this Technology Affiliate a one-time activity?

    MC: Definitely not.  The SNIA is actively seeking organizations who are looking for a structure that SNIA provides with IP policies, established infrastructure to conduct their work, and 160+ leading companies with volunteers who know storage and networking technology.

    SoC:  What are some of the customer pain points you see in the industry?

    MC: Critical pain points the TC has started to address with new TWGs over the last 24 months include: performance of solid state storage arrays, where the SNIA Solid State Storage Systems (S4) TWG is working to identify, develop, and coordinate system performance standards for solid state storage systems; and object drives, where work is being done by the Object Drive TWG to identify, develop, and coordinate standards for object drives operating as storage nodes in scale out storage solutions.  With the number of different future disk drive interfaces emerging that add value from external storage to in-storage compute, we want to make sure they can be managed at scale and are interoperable.TC org chart 2016

    SoS:  What’s upcoming for the next six months?

    MC: The TC is currently working on a white paper to address data center drive requirements and the features and existing interface standards that satisfy some of those requirements.  Of course, not all the solutions to these requirements will come from SNIA, but we think SNIA is in a unique position to bring in the data center customers that need these new features and work with the drive vendors to prototype solutions that then make their way into other standards efforts.  Features that are targeted at the NVM Express, T10, and T13 committees would be coordinated with these customers.

    SoS:  Can non-members get involved with SNIA?

    MC:   Until very recently, if a company wanted to contribute to a software project within SNIA, they had to become a member. This was limiting to the community, and cut off contributions from those who were using the code, so SNIA has developed a convenient Contributor License Agreement (CLA) for contributions to individual projects.  This allows external contributions but does not change the software licensing. The CLA is compatible with the IP protections that the SNIA IP Policy provides to our members.  Our hope is that this will create a broader community of contributors to a more open SNIA, and facilitate open source project development even more.

    SoS:  Will you be onsite for the upcoming SNIA Storage Developer Conference (SDC)?

    MC: Absolutely!  I look forward to meeting SNIA members and colleagues September 19-22 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara.  We have a great agenda, now online, that the TC has developed for this, our 18th conference, and registration is now open.  SDC brings in more than 400 of the leading storage software and hardware developers, storage product and solution architects, product managers, storage product quality assurance engineers, product line CTOs, storage product customer support engineers, and in–house IT development staff from around the world.  If technical professionals are not familiar with the education and knowledge that SDC can provide, a great way to get a taste is to check out the SDC Podcasts now posted, and the new ones that will appear leading up to SDC 2016.


    Linear Tape File System Now an International Standard

    June 9th, 2016

    By David Pease, Co-Chair SNIA Linear Tape File System Technical Working Group

    In 2011 the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) earned IBM an Engineering Emmy Award after being recognized by FOX Networks for “improving the ability of media companies to capture, manage and exploit content in digital form, fundamentally changing the way that audio and video content is managed and stored.”  Now, the International Standardization Organization (ISO) has named LTFS an International Standard (ISO/IEC 20919:2016).

    LTFS’s road to standardization was a long one.  It started with IBM and the LTO (Linear Tape Open) Consortium jointly publishing the LTFS Format Specification as an open format in April, 2010, the day that LTFS was announced at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show in Las Vegas.  In 2012, at the invitation of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), we formed the SNIA LTFS Technical Work Group, with a specific goal of moving towards international standardization.  The LTFS TWG and SNIA proceeded to publish several revisions of the LTFS Format Specification, inviting all interested parties to join the work group and contribute, or to comment on the specification before formal publication.  In 2014 SNIA helped the LTFS TWG format the then-current version of the specification (V2.2) to ISO standards and worked with the ISO organization to publish the specification as a draft standard and solicit comments.  After review and comments, the LTFS Format Specification was approved by ISO as an international standard in April of 2016 (just 6 years after it was first announced).

    We are thrilled by the recognition of LTFS as an ISO standard; it is one more step towards guaranteeing that the LTFS format is a truly open standard that will continue to be available and usable for the foreseeable future.  In my opinion, two of the major inhibitors to the widespread use of tape technology for data storage have been the lack of a standard format for data storage and interchange on tape, and its perceived difficulty of use. LTFS addresses both of these problems by providing a general-purpose, open format that can easily be used like any other storage medium.

    As the world’s data continues to grow at an increasing pace, and the need for affordable, large-scale storage becomes more important, the standardization of LTFS will make the use of tape for long-term, affordable storage easier and more attractive.

    Use Case: Making Digital Media Storage Open and Future-Proof

    Just as in personal photography, the last couple of decades have seen a major shift from analog and film technologies to digital ones in the Media and Entertainment industry, where modern cameras record directly to digital media. This has led to the need for new technologies to replace traditional film as a long-term storage medium for television and movies.

    Film has some specific advantages for the Media & Entertainment industry that a new technology needs to replicate, including long shelf life, inexpensive, and zero-power storage, and a format that is “future-proof.” Tape storage is a perfect match to several of these criteria, including long (30+ years) shelf life, and zero-power, inexpensive storage. However, a stumbling block for the wide-spread acceptance of tape for digital storage in the media and entertainment business had been the lack of an open, easy-to-use, future-proof standard for the format of the data on tape. You can imagine an entertainment company using proprietary storage software, for example, only to run into problems like the provider going out of business or increasing its software costs to an unacceptable level.

    We created LTFS to be an open and future-proof format from the beginning: open, because when we published the format, we made it publicly available at no charge, and future-proof because the format is self-documenting and can be easily accessed without the need for proprietary software.

    Being an international standard should make anyone who is considering the use of LTFS even more comfortable with the fact that it is an open standard that is not owned or controlled by any single company, and is a format that will continue to be supported in the future.  As such, becoming an international standard has the potential to increase the use, and therefore the value, of LTFS across industries.

    For more information about the work of the SNIA LTFS TWG, please visit www.snia.org/ltfs.


    Podcasts Bring the Sounds of SNIA’s Storage Developer Conference to Your Car, Boat, Train, or Plane!

    May 26th, 2016

    SNIA’s Storage Developer Conference (SDC) offers exactly what a developer of cloud, solid state, security, analytics, or big data applications is looking  for – rich technical content delivered in a no-vendor bias manner by today’s leading technologists.  The 2016 SDC agenda is being compiled, but now yousdc podcast pic can get a “sound bite” of what to expect by downloading  SDC podcasts via iTunes, or visiting the SDC Podcast site at http://www.snia.org/podcasts to download the accompanying slides and/or listen to the MP3 version.

    Each podcast has been selected by the SNIA Technical Council from the 2015 SDC event, and include topics like:

    • Preparing Applications for Persistent Memory from Hewlett Packard Enterprise
    • Managing the Next Generation Memory Subsystem from Intel Corporation
    • NVDIMM Cookbook – a Soup to Nuts Primer on Using NVDIMMs to Improve Your Storage Performance from AgigA Tech and Smart Modular Systems
    • Standardizing Storage Intelligence and the Performance and Endurance Enhancements It Provides from Samsung Corporation
    • Object Drives, a New Architectural Partitioning from Toshiba Corporation
    • Shingled Magnetic Recording- the Next Generation of Storage Technology from HGST, a Western Digital Company
    • SMB 3.1.1 Update from Microsoft

    Eight podcasts are now available, with new ones added each week all the way up to SDC 2016 which begins September 19 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara.  Keep checking the SDC Podcast website, and remember that registration is now open for the 2016 event at http://www.snia.org/events/storage-developer/registration.  The SDC conference agenda will be up soon at the home page of http://www.storagedeveloper.org.

    Enjoy these great technical sessions, no matter where you may be!


    Open Source Software-Only Storage – Really.

    May 24th, 2016

    Virtually any storage solution is more parts software than hardware. Having said this, users don’t care as much about the percentage of hardware vs. software. They want their consumption experience to be easy and fast to start up, with a pay-as-you-grow model and with the ability to scale without limits. So, it should not be a shock that real IT organizations are using software-only on standard servers to deliver storage to their customers. What’s more, this type of storage can be powered by open source.

    At the upcoming SNIA Data Storage Innovation Conference, we are looking forward to discussing software-defined storage (SDS) from a user experience perspective with examples of OpenStack Swift providing an engine for building SDS clusters with any mixed combination of standard server and HDD hardware in a way that is simple enough for any enterprise to dynamically scale.

    Swift is a highly available, distributed, scalable object store available as open source.  It is designed to handle non-relational (that is, not just simple row-column data) or unstructured data at large scale with high availability and durability.  For example, it can be used to store files, videos, documents, analytics results, Web content, drawings, voice recordings, images, maps, musical scores, pictures, or multimedia. Organizations can use Swift to store large amounts of data efficiently, safely, and cheaply. It scales horizontally without any single point of failure.  It offers a single multi-tenant storage system for all applications, the ability to use low-cost industry-standard servers and drives, and a rich ecosystem of tools and libraries.  It can serve the needs of any service provider or enterprise working in a cloud environment, regardless of whether the installation is using other OpenStack components.

    I know what you are thinking, storage is too critical, so it will never work this way. But the same was said >25 years go when using RAID was seen as too risky given solutions would acknowledge writes while the data was in cache prior to being written to disk. The same was also said >15 years ago when VMware was seen as not robust enough to run any manner of demanding or critical application. Replicas and Erasure Codes are analogous to RAID 1 and RAID 5 respectively, and the uniquely as possible distribution of data behind a single namespace abstracts standard hardware like server virtualization.

    Interested in hearing more? Come check out my DSI session, “Swift Use Cases with SwiftStack,” where we look forward to sharing how this new type of storage can work, and to suspend your disbelief that this storage can be enterprise-grade.

     


    Hitachi Data Systems’ Hu Yoshida Featured in Keynote at SNIA Annual Members Symposium

    January 18th, 2016

    The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Annual Members Symposium is a must attend event for both SNIA members and interested colleagues. Held at the Westin San Jose in San Jose California from January 19-22, 2016, the Symposium offers four full days of collaboration, networking, and knowledge about the latest advances in cloud storage, Ethernet storage, solid state storage, storage management, green computing, and more. Register and learn more at http://www.snia.org/events/symp.

    A highlight of every SNIA Symposium are keynotes from leaders in the industry, and 2016 is no exception. Whether you are a SNIA member, or thinking about hubert-yoshidaSNIA membership, you are invited to attend a very special keynote presented on January 19 at 8:45 am on IT Trends that Matter in 2016, presented by Mr. Hubert Yoshida, CTO of Hitachi Data Systems. Mr. Yoshida will comment on how innovative technology companies that quickly capitalize on business opportunities and satisfy the demands of today’s empowered consumer have caused a wave of disruption. In 2016, businesses will turn to IT for solutions that will keep them competitive. Chief Information Officers will invest in faster delivery of applications and analytics, and transform IT by leveraging the third platform, social, mobile, analytics, and cloud. Mr. Yoshida will advise on how to avoid distractions and remain focused on the IT trends that matter in 2016.

    Hubert Yoshida is responsible for defining the technical direction of Hitachi Data Systems. Currently, he leads the company’s effort to help customers address data life cycle requirements and resolve compliance, governance and operational risk issues. He was instrumental in evangelizing the unique Hitachi approach to storage virtualization, which leveraged existing storage services within Hitachi Universal Storage Platform® and extended it to externally-attached, heterogeneous storage systems.

    Mr. Yoshida is well-known within the storage industry, and his blog has ranked among the “top 10 most influential” within the storage industry as evaluated by Network World. In October of 2006, Byte and Switch named him one of Storage Networking’s Heaviest Hitters and in 2013 he was named one of the “Ten Most Impactful Tech Leaders” by Information Week.

    Hitachi Data Systems is a valued member of SNIA.  Currently,  Thomas Rivera, Technical Associate – File, Content & Cloud Solutions at Hitachi Data Systems, serves as the Secretary of the SNIA Board of Directors.

    For the full agenda of activities and events at the SNIA Symposium visit http://www.snia.org/events/symp.


    New Webcast: The Life of a Storage Packet (Walk)

    November 10th, 2015

    Wonder how storage really works? When we talk about “Storage” in the context of data centers, it can mean different things to different people. Someone who is developing applications will have a very different perspective than someone who is responsible for managing that data on some form of media. Moreover, someone who is responsible for transporting data from one place to another has their own view that is related to, and yet different from, the previous two.

    Add in virtualization and layers of abstraction, from file systems to storage protocols, and things can get very confusing very quickly. Pretty soon people don’t even know the right questions to ask! That’s why we’re hosting our next SNIA Ethernet Storage Webcast, “Life of a Storage Packet (Walk).”

    Join us on November 19th to learn how applications and workloads get information. Find out what happens when you need more of it, or faster access to it, or move it far away. This Webcast will take a step back and look at “storage” with a “big picture” perspective, looking at the whole piece and attempting to fill in some of the blanks for you. We’ll be talking about:

    • Applications and RAM
    • Servers and Disks
    • Networks and Storage Types
    • Storage and Distances
    • Tools of the Trade/Offs

    The goal of the Webcast is not to make specific recommendations, but equip you with information that will help you ask the relevant questions, as well as get a keener insight to the consequences of storage choices. As always, this event is live, so please bring your questions, we’ll answer as many as we can on the spot. I encourage you to register today. Hope to see you on November 19th!