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New Storage Technology: Should You Believe the Hype?

Level 9

As a child of the 80's, there are particular songs (like "Danger Zone", "Shout", "No Sleep Till Brooklyn") that really bring me back to the essence of that time period (RIP mullet). There are even times where current events take me back to a specific song. Take today’s "storage market" and all the technologies that are being discussed. Looking at this has me going back to the classic Public Enemy song, "Don't believe the hype…” There is so much "hype" in regard to different technologies that it can be overwhelming to keep up, let alone make a decision on what is right for your company. You also have to manage the pressures of business needs, storage performance needs, data protection, data growth, and resource constraints to just name a few. I might come off pro old-school IT, but I’m not. Ask yourself some of the questions below, and make sure the promise of these new trends makes sense for your business before you jump on the bandwagon.

 

Hyper-convergence

Hyper-convergence is a software infrastructure solution that combines compute, storage, networking, and virtualization resources in commodity boxes. The promise is integrated technologies that provide a single view for the administrator. This makes it easier for users to deploy, manage, grow, and support their environment because everything is tied together. This is great for quite a few environments, but is it great for "your" environment?  What do your VM workloads look like? Do they all have similar resource requirements or are some VMs more demanding than others? Does your resource needs (CPU, memory, storage, etc...) grow evenly or are some resources growing faster than others? 

If you’re considering a hyper-converged solution, check out this whitepaper: The Hyper-Convergence Effect: Do Management Requirements Change?

Solid State Drives

Solid state drives have been around for decades, but over the last few years have really grown with new technology advances (PCIe/NVMe) and the cost of flash has come down dramatically. The promise of SSD is higher performance, better durability, better cooling, and denser form factors.  This has led to claims that hard drives are dead and SSD (flash) is all that is needed in your data center. Is this right for "your" environment? Do you have a need for high performance across your entire environment?  What is your capacity growth and how does it compare to performance growth? Will your applications take advantage of SSDs? Do you have the budget for flash storage across all applications?

If you are considering making a move to Solid State drives, check out this SolarWinds Whitepaper: How do I know my SQL and Virtual Environments are ready for SS...

Cloud Storage

For years people have been talking about "the cloud" and whether it’s private or public. For this we will talk public clouds. Over the last couple of years we have seen more businesses adopt cloud into their data storage environment. The promise is allowing companies to access their data anywhere, freeing up IT resources, providing scalability to grow your business, and reducing IT costs to name a few. This has led to the claims of everything going to the cloud and that keeping storage "on premise" is not ideal anymore. For many companies, this might be ideal, but is it ideal for "your" environment? What happens if there is an "outage," whether through the cloud provider or your connection to the cloud? Do you have the bandwidth to support your user’s access from an external location? What cloud provider are you using and are you locked in to that provider? How will you manage your data security and protect against attacks to that data?

These are just a few of the "storage technologies" that are currently being "hyped" in the market and each of them have a place in almost all data centers.  However, just because a new technology solves certain data center problems, does not mean it will solve "your" problems. Understanding your problems and where you want to take your business is the best way to be able to move past the "hype" of a new technology and really see the value that it will provide.

Now, what do you think? Is there too much "hype" in the storage market? What storage technology do you think is being over "hyped"?       

13 Comments
MVP
MVP

Your word "Hype" is so correct for this...

Cloud storage may be viable for a small company so they don't have the hardware overhead and admin costs...and may not need the 99.99% reliability factor.

The IT industry has revolved around HYPE for decades...some of it is to drive sales.  In the 90's the big hype was "distributed systems" because the mainframe was dead....

Guess what, many of those who bought into the hype and ditched the mainframe are moving back to it.

As you said.. "Understanding your problems and where you want to take your business is the best way to be able to move past the "hype" of a new technology and really see the value that it will provide."

I believe that cloud storage is way over hyped.  But it is making money so the hype will continue.  Now as for the general public it gives them access to storage that they do not have to manage and they have access from most anywhere. They no longer have to worry about backups or corruption. It is the convenience factor.  That is also what makes it dangerous as they are unlikely to understand the risks of having your data stored by someone else....

Level 14

I too suspect that Cloud storage is hyped.  I also worry about intrusion, identity theft, and other times of breaches.  I just don't think that the security concerns have been addressed enough to justify the risks.  That's just my take. 

Level 12

past memories nice ones......

Level 12

your words are correct for this topic

Level 15

I think I would tend to agree that the overhype is the cloud.  I do not think that we have enough time invested in the security principles to blindly accept that just because they say it is say in the cloud does not prove it to be so.  I would like companies like Microsoft would be shelling millions of man-hours into ensuring that the platform and all parts are shored up and secure.  I mean 32 years later and there are still buffer overflow exploits in so-called mature code.  The concept is a good computer science structure -- access data anytime from anywhere -- but the implementation is where I am very wary.

There is a old adage that seems appropriate -- "Anything man-made can be broken and eventually will fail"  Why should our data storage be any different.

Level 12

One reason why you need to really check your business requirements. Usually when someone tells me it's "all in one," "a solution for anything," or even "this is the silver bullet," that is a red flag for me. Not every solution fits every business requirement. Storage is no different. It is important to really understand your own environment before dropping the money on new technology just because it's something new. Don't let the mullet come back

The thing that really gets me on the cloud storage is the hidden cost of it that no one really talks about: Availability and Bandwidth, anything that puts the internet between me and a resource makes these both a concern. mr.e Security can be an issue as well depending on how you actually deploy to it, there are security precautions like any hosted solution that can mitigate security concerns, the issue is that many companies don't understand that it is their responsibility to deploy similar security controls as if they deployed in-house or hosted anywhere else.

It really comes down to three questions:

  • "Do you have a completely mobile work force, or are you a small shop?"
  • "Does your workforce mainly use mobile devices To access their data?"
  • "Is your primary audience for the data spread all over a large region or world wide?" 

If you answer yes to any of these questions, or something similar you may want to consider Cloud storage as an option. Everyone else you may need to revisit your business requirements and your true target audience and "Budget"

Level 21

Understanding your environment and your true needs is definitely key before going out and looking for a solution; otherwise you may end up with a solution for which there is no problem.

The second part is weeding through the hype to determine if the products and/or services can actually deliver on their claims; I have found that more often then not they can't. 

Level 8

Great post! It never fails to amaze me at the Hype that is generated around the smoke and mirrors of marketing of a product. The big thing I always start my assessments off with, is that there is no "Silver Bullet" for any given solution. As it were there is no "One Ring" to rule them all. There are always compromises and you have to weigh the pros and cons evenly to get the best results for you and your clients(internal or external). I have spent enough time in the industry to know that more often than not, a product does not live up to the hype.

MVP
MVP

indeed - its too easy to get sucked into the hype over cloud everything as though it is the cure for the common cold.

Cloud storage for the purposes of providing web services to external customers is a great use case though.

Level 12

clouding is safe or not for any company it is not clear.  

MVP
MVP

I agree with your comment about potential viability of the cloud for small companies. For larger companies, there is always the question regarding security, access, management, etc. We've also seen companies go from local servers to distributed/cloud and back to local hosting again because of their requirements.

Level 11

Hype is the correct term for sure. Here is what has not changed in IT or any business really for years. Measure with metrics, the data should be able to substantiate the claim of the product(cloud, SSD, new whizbang app) in your environment. The second part is it all comes down to risk and how much your willing to accept. .

Level 9

@Jfraizer i agree with your comments. the word indeed is hype.

About the Author
I talk storage, sports, video games, and more storage...not in that order most days....and I did talk databases... but now I talk security and identity governance & management