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New storage technologies gain ground
Solid-state storage is the current darling of the storage world, garnering the lion's share of the new tech buzz. For many, however, solid state is still suffering from the "terrible toos" -- too new, too untested and too expensive. But our current survey turned up some interesting results: 8% of respondents said they're using solid-state drives (SSDs), with another 3% planning implementations this year. Thirty-five percent are evaluating the technology.
Of those using SSDs, 48% have them in their arrays, 25% are using SSDs as direct-attached storage (DAS) in servers, and approximately 14% report implementations in their arrays and servers. Apparently, the efforts of solid-state drive vendors to counter high price-per-gigabyte claims with more performance-oriented comparisons to hard drives are paying off. And SSD users may also be reaping the benefits of much lower power consumption, although power conservation still isn't top of mind with most data storage managers. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed said energy efficiency is either the most important criteria or a major factor in choosing an array, essentially the same percentage reported last fall.
Higher-speed storage networking protocols are also nudging SSD and dedupe for the storage spotlight, with 10 Gbps Ethernet (10 GbE) and 8 Gbps FC now available. And while changes to the networking infrastructure are usually painfully slow developments,
Currently, the most widely used storage networking protocols are 4 Gbps FC (48%) and 1 Gbps Ethernet (33%). But 8 Gbps FC is used by 14% of respondents, with 13% reporting that they've made the move to 10 GbE.
The value of virtualization
Server virtualization is ubiquitous, with 84% of respondents noting that they've virtualized all or some of their servers. And the effects of server virtualization on storage have become key issues for many of those installations. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed chose Fibre Channel for their virtual server storage, but iSCSI is gaining in popularity. Last fall, only 12% said they hook their virtual servers up to iSCSI storage systems; this time, 18% noted their preference for the technology. In smaller companies, the iSCSI preference is even stronger, with 25% indicating they use it for their virtual servers. (DAS is often dismissed as a viable storage solution for virtual servers, but 11% of those surveyed said DAS is their choice.)
Backup has been the most prominent storage pain point for virtualized server environments. Forty-four percent of our survey takers said they use traditional backup software and methods for their virtual servers, putting agents as required on each virtual machine (VM). VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), touted as a backup method to save on software licensing costs, is used by only 20% of respondents -- a somewhat surprising figure as VCB has been so widely endorsed. VM-specific backup products, like PHD Virtual Technologies' esXpress, Veeam Software's Veeam Backup & Replication and Vizioncore Inc.'s vRanger Pro, have also drawn a lot of attention, but only 6% of those surveyed said they were using products like these in their VM backup operations.
This was first published in October 2009