George Crump recently blogged over at InfoWorld and asked, “do we really need Tier 1 storage”? It struck me as interesting topic and while I disagreed with his reasons on where he put our solution, I tend to agree that the others mentioned are right where they should be. In his article he specifically mentions some of the reasons both the monolithic array manufactures as well as the “modular guys” have “issues” and he zeroed in on performance and scalability. Now his article was speaking about the front end controllers, but I think he missed out on pointing to the backend architectures as well. I thought this would make a great blog posting As you recall in my “Performance Starved Applications” blog and my “Why running your hotel, like you run your Storage array can put you out of business” blog I said that if you lined up the various different storage vendors next to each other about the only difference is the logo and the software loaded on the controllers.
About 4 years ago we at Xiotech became tired of dealing with all of these issues. We rolled out a full Fabric backend on our Magnitude 3D 3000 (and 4000) solution. We deployed this in a number of accounts. Mostly it was used for our GeoRAID/DCI configuration where we split our controllers and bays between physical sites up to 10Km. Essentially each bay was a loop all to itself directly plugged into a fabric switch. Fast forward to our Emprise product family and we’ve completely moved away from FCAL on our backend. We are 100% FULL, Non Blocking, Sweet and as pure as your mamas homemade apple pie Fabric with all of the benefits that it offers!!
My opinion (are you scooting towards the front of your chair in anticipation?) is unless you just enjoy running things in hubs I would STRONGLY advise that if you are looking at a new purchase of a Storage Array you should make sure they are not using 15-year old architecture on their backend !! If you are contemplating architecting a private cloud, you should first go read my blog post on “Building resilient, scalable storage clouds” and applying the points I’ve made, to that endeavor. Also, if you really are trying to make a decision around what solution to pick I would also suggest you check out Roger Kelley (@storage_wonk) over at http://www.storagewonk.com/. He talked about comparing storage arrays “Apples to Apples” and brought up other great differences. Not to mention, Pete Selin (@pjselin) over at his blog talked about “honesty in the Storage biz” which was an interesting take on “Apples vs Apples” relative to configurations and pricing. Each of these blog posts will give you a better understanding on how we differentiate ourselves in the market.