The folks at Byte and Switch are on to something with their StoragePlus conference, most notably that storage in and of itself isn't nearly as interesting as looking at the "plus" picture that includes servers, applications, security and more. I hope they do well following the inaugural event in Burlingame, California this week.
There is a post on the site about the presentation by David Webster, manager for IT architecture and strategy at Yahoo, but I think they missed one of David's most interesting comments around virtualization of all resources at the server AND storage layer. I really think the term here should be provisioning as opposed to virtualization, but we can save that for another time.
Here is the important slide as scratched from my notes.
> Problem "solved" in the host space
-resource allocation (e.g. memory/CPU)
> Storage virtualization
-new Quality of Service (QoS) potential
-not easy to recover from over-provisioning of storage
The explanation was that it has been relatively easy to deal with bandwidth and memory constraints at the host layer. There are plenty of tools to manage the allocation of memory and CPU resources. And more importantly, in the event that those resources need to be redistributed elsewhere, that can be easily accomplished. On the networking side, tools to either rate limit or trunk connections allow easy tuning.
But on the storage side there is still a tremendous open opportunity for QoS. Most notably there are no easy ways to de-provision storage right now. In order to match the flexibility at the host layer, there needs to be a corresponding set of capabilities with storage that allow fine tuning and control for bandwidth and I/O access.
These themes indicate that not only is there a gap between server performance and the ability of storage to match that performance, but there is a gap between how resources are deployed. Most of the heavy lifting has been completed at the host layer, but the storage layer still needs the ability to rapidly deploy, provision, and de-provision predictable performance.