Today industry bellwether EMC announced that it will use flash-based drives in the newest Symmetrix DMX-4 arrays. While this might seem like a totally new concept, we should all keep in mind that EMC began life as a memory company, and due to a combination of their smarts and IBM's mis-steps, they turned their memory expertise into a storage system capable of siphoning off data (and revenue) from IBM's largest customers. This remains a fine example of the twists and turns of the technology industry and the need for all large companies to stay on their toes.
There are dozens of articles today talking about the finer points of the technology and where it fits. It will take a long time before the dust settles and a general consensus emerges on customer segments, applications, and workloads. In the meantime, it is fun to watch. See below for a few links.
And while many will focus on the performance gains that memory can deliver over traditional disk drives, something Gear6 has long discussed, I found this quote from the Wall Street Journal to be the most enlightening,
Recently we had to buy a lot more storage than we need in order to get better performance. This technology looks interesting.
-computer manager for a large U.S. financial institution commenting on EMC's announcement
So is this about performance, or is it about re-thinking the architectural model for storage? Where are the data centers that can maximize the benefits of memory and disk drives? The reality is that they are well established at Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, and other web giants. And they are soon coming to an enterprise near you.
Here are a few of today's posts:
Enterprise Storage Strikes Back - Chuck's Blog - plus lots of other links at the end of the post
and a vigorous discussion on the Byte and Switch message board - Personally, I'm amazed at the amount of this media vs. that media discussion on this message board, instead of questions like, "given that we have all these great technologies, what is the best way to apply them across the data center?"