On the test track with a new Delta-V

At the day job, we have another to finish building today, and then build the RAID. This is the 3rd unit of the new generation of Delta-V’s, and they are generally showing better overall performance than the older versions.
Delta-V’s are cost optimized storage platforms, suitable for block and file storage targets, as well as very cost effective cluster storage platforms. You do need good performance on your storage devices … especially as the size of storage grows.
This is what we are seeing for streaming writes and reads (much larger than system ram).

Read moreOn the test track with a new Delta-V

OT: round four of kidney stones

i’d like to file a bug report on my biochemistry … There is something not quite right about getting another stone so quickly Well at least I know what happens next. If you are ever in this situation yourself remember Toradol is your friend. Well hopefully this one will go easier than the previous.

Thoughts on SSDs, spinning rust, …

So SSDs are upon us with a vengeance. No one is actively predicting the death of spinning rust … yet. But its in the back of many folks minds, even if they aren’t saying it now. Similar to the death of tape. Yeah, I know, its still around.
Call that the long tail. Sequential storage mechanisms are going the way of the dodo bird. The issues everyone worries about are cost per data volume, and speed of access/recovery, not to mention longevity. Sure, tape could cost less than spinning rust, but it is serial, and while tapes can “last forever”, the drives certainly can’t. Looking at inexpensive large volume SATA drives as an integrated drive/media for backup is rapidly supplanting most of the non-diehard tape sites I am aware of.
Basically, tape is dieing out, and being replaced by disks (yeah, there are “counter” examples of this, but they are growing fewer and further between, and actually lending strong support to the thesis that tape is in its long decline). There is an interesting concept coming in from the tape folks that is showing up in SSDs. I am not sure I like it, as it lends itself to incorrect expectations, very easily.
But spinning rust itself is “under attack”. SSDs have great hype, and great hope.

Read moreThoughts on SSDs, spinning rust, …

OT: The day job documentation site is up, with content being added

There is a back story on this. Basically writing documentation takes a while, and when it changes, you have to update many things. I personally find this task painful … in the sense of its hard to make small changes the way most documentation works.
In addition, for years, we’ve been wanting to go “all electronic”. Paper and printed documentation gets lost or destroyed, you have to regenerate it … and oh, as noted above, its hard to make small changes. Not only that, it is still (currently) hard to print an mpeg video of racking a machine, removing a fan, replacing a hard drive … on a sheet of paper.

Read moreOT: The day job documentation site is up, with content being added

… and projects have to figure out their future …

OpenSolaris future is very much in doubt. There is a shelf life on this product, it expires 16-August-2010, unless Oracle decides to communicate actively with the project.
I had suggested this previously, that OpenSolaris is likely under serious review by Oracle. What possible business model could they have for OpenSolaris to be accretive to Oracle’s bottom line, when they give it away, and others get support revenue from it? Well there are several possible, but they involve some changes to licensing, and support models.

Read more… and projects have to figure out their future …

As the market changes …

As noted in the previous post, the EC2 CC1 bit is likely to be game changing for commercial users. The market is undergoing one of its transformations, but I am seeing two different, actually complementary trends, occurring at the same time.
When these changes have happened in the past, a process of creative destruction has occurred. That is, something old was destroyed, and in the process, something new flourished.
The changes driving this market in the past has been the cost per computing cycle, and the up-front purchase/lease costs. Way back in the beginning of the market, we were very high on the price curve, with very few installations. Along the way, technology improved, and costs per cycle dropped very rapidly. Its these large changes, when people realize that they can get useful work done on the lower cost per cycle gear, that have been the leading edges of the shock wave driving through the industry.
What happens during and after this wave passes is whats interesting … this is where the creative destructive forces go to work in earnest. But there is something different this time, and this is why it gets so interesting.

Read moreAs the market changes …

This could be game changing for lots of users

Amazon announced the EC2 availability for HPC users. As per the article on InsideHPC, previous incarnations of EC2 didn’t really work well for low latency jobs or large runs. They still have a storage issue (e.g. storage performance and parallel IO), that we’d be happy to help with.
Why is this potentially game changing for the market? A number of reasons.

Read moreThis could be game changing for lots of users

Ok … this one makes you think … did they really want to do that?

The US Cyber command, a new … er … entity in the US that, er … will protect us … somehow … has an interesting seal. On that seal is a “cipher” of some sort.
Well that “cipher”, 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a appears around the inner ring of the seal.
Wired noticed this and had a contest to de-cipher it.
The Register noticed this, and, as all deep techies might say, ya know, it looks a heckuva lot like an md5 hash of something. Well, they figured it out. It is an md5 hash of the Cyber command mission statement.
Everyone feels good right now … mysterious cipher solved.
But … I would expect … no … I would demand … that the Cyber corps know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that md5 hashes shouldn’t be trusted.

Read moreOk … this one makes you think … did they really want to do that?

Using ZFS in your storage considered harmful … without a license from NetApp …

Chalk this up to “you knew this would happen”.
NetApp is going after ZFS storage vendors, folks who use ZFS in their products, as infringing upon NetApp patents. Yes Virginia, this includes open source vendors.

Now we see a significant hardening of NetApp’s stance as it directly attacks the open source community using ZFS with this offensive against Coraid. This could be part of a negotiating tactic against Oracle.
One outcome is that Oracle agrees to license the relevant patents pertaining to ZFS from NetApp. This would then open the way for Coraid and other ZFS-using storage suppliers to have to license them as well, significantly upsetting their business models unless the license fees are set low.

Read moreUsing ZFS in your storage considered harmful … without a license from NetApp …