The quest for storage dominance in the SMB space has been evident for years, and now it appears many are vying for a piece of the action in the enterprise and cloud data center space. It’s all about cramming as much storage capacity in the smallest physical space, with the highest level of reliability, at the lowest possible cost (take a breath). Here is a rundown of what we have witnessed and blogged about in the first quarter plus of this year alone:
- Dell Compellent 48TB of raw capacity in a single 2U enclosure
- Quanta M4600H 240TB with 60 Hot-Pluggable Drives in Coverless 4U Chassis.
- MBX X-60 supporting 240TB with 60 Hot-Pluggable Drives
- Infortrend EonStor DS 4U/48 bay RAID system that can reach over 1 petabyte.
- AIC XJ3000-4603 supporting 60 bays for a total capacity of up to 180 TB.
- Supermicro high-capacity storage server with 72 hard drives and up to 288TB.
Ranging in capacity from 48TB in a 2U rack to 288TB in a 4U rack, to well over a Petabyte when racks are daisy chained together, this is some serious storage. What’s driving this high density trend? There are a number of factors at play. Everything from online backup and disaster recovery to cold storage and archive, to big data, the growing amount of unstructured data businesses accumulate is astounding.
Just wait until hard drive suppliers ramp up technologies whether they be Shingled Magnetic Recording, Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording, or some other technology, storage density has nowhere to go but up. The caveat being that it’s not going up as fast as the market needs. Areal density has slowed and when you combine this with the speed at which unstructured data is growing, both on-premise and in the cloud, we have a storage crisis ahead of us. Businesses will not only need more of these high density systems with even more hard drives. They will need more infrastructure: power, space, and cooling and software that is able to not only tie it all together, but maximize the use of the available capacity.
This dilemma raises the question: is simply increasing areal density the solution to this problem, or should storage device manufacturers be looking at other ways to minimize Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in the data center?
I have to think it’s the later, because this is quickly becoming a problem that goes well beyond simply addressing data growth. Sounds like we all should be opening our minds to a more strategic application of storage.