The above chart was included in our e-newsletter Microsoft Exchange Solution Reviewed Program (ESRP) performance report, that went out at the end of July. ESRP reports on a number of metrics but one of the more popular is total (reads + writes) Exchange database transfers per second.
Categories reported on in ESRP include: over 5,000 mailboxes; 1001 to 5000 mailboxes; and 1000 and under mailboxes. For the above chart we created our own category using all submissions up to 10,000 mailboxes. Then we grouped the data using the storage interface between the host Exchange servers and the storage, and only included ESRP reports that had 10 KRPM disk drives.
Continue reading Microsoft ESRP database transfer performance by storage interface – chart of the month
At Flash Memory Summit (FMS 2016) this past week, Vijay Rao, Director of Technology Strategy at Facebook gave a keynote session on some of the areas that Facebook is focused on for flash storage. One thing that stood out as a significant change of direction was a move to JBOFs in their datacenters.
As you may recall, Facebook was an early adopter of (FusionIO’s) server flash cards to accelerate their applications. But they are moving away from that technology now.
Insane growth at Facebook
Why? Vijay started his talk about some of the growth they have seen over the years in photos, videos, messages, comments, likes, etc. Each was depicted as a animated bubble chart, with a timeline on the horizontal axis and a growth measurement in % on the vertical axis, with the size of the bubble being the actual quantity of each element.
Although the user activity growth rates all started out small at different times and grew at different rates during their individual timelines, by the end of each video, they were all almost at 90-100% growth, in 4Q15 (assume this is yearly growth rate but could be wrong).
Vijay had similar slides showing the growth of their infrastructure, i.e., compute, storage and networking. But although infrastructure grew less quickly than user activity (messages/videos/photos/etc.), they all showed similar trends and ended up (as far as I could tell) at ~70% growth.
Continue reading Facebook moving to JBOF (just a bunch of flash)
Last year we reported on IBM’s progress in taking PCM (phase change memory) and using it to create a new, neuromorphic computing architecture (see Phase Change Memory (PCM) based neuromorphic processors). And earlier we discussed IBM’s (2nd generation), True North chip and IBM’s (1st generation) Synapse Chip.
This past week IBM made another cognitive computing announcement. This time they have taken their neuromorphic technologies another step closer to precise emulation of neurological processing of the brain.
Their research paper was not directly available, but IBM Research has summarized its contents in a short web article with a video (see IBM Scientists imitate the functionality of neurons with Phase-Change device).
Continue reading IBM Research creates PCM synapses – cognitive computing, round 4
Saw an interesting chart the other day in a post in TechPinions (Searching for What’s Next) showing the sales in millions over time of PCs, Tablets and Smart Phones. From the chart, PC sales peaked 2010-2012 and that Tablet sales have at flat lined (2016). Not sure what’s projections vs. actuals but the story on SmartPhones have yet to run out and they had rapid sales growth between 2008 and 2014.
The other thing to take from this chart is that device adoption is speeding up. It took 20 years to reach peak PC sales but it only took ~10 years to reach peak Smartphones sales.
Continue reading QoM1608: The coming IOT tsunami or not
We talked with Hedvig (@HedvigInc) at Storage Field Day 10 (SFD10), a month or so ago and had a detailed deep dive into their technology. (Check out the videos of their sessions here.)
Hedvig implements a software defined storage solution that runs on X86 or ARM processors and depends on a storage proxy operating in a hypervisor host (as a VM) and storage service nodes. Their proxy and the storage services can execute as separate VMs on the same host in a hyper-converged fashion or on different nodes as a separate storage cluster with hosts doing IO to the storage cluster.
Hedvig’s management team comes from hyper-scale environments (Amazon Dynamo/Facebook Cassandra) so they have lots of experience implementing distributed software defined storage at (hyper-)scale.
Continue reading Hedvig storage system, Docker support & data protection that spans data centers
At USENIX ATC conference a couple of weeks ago there was a presentation by a number of researchers on their BlockStack global name space and storage system based on the blockchain based Bitcoin network. Their paper was titled “Blockstack: A global naming and storage system secured by blockchain” (see pg. 181-194, in USENIX ATC’16 proceedings).
Bitcoin blockchain simplified
Blockchain’s like Bitcoin have a number of interesting properties including completely distributed understanding of current state, based on hashing and an always appended to log of transactions.
Blockchain nodes all participate in validating the current block of transactions and some nodes (deemed “miners” in Bitcoin) supply new blocks of transactions for validation.
All blockchain transactions are sent to each node and blockchain software in the node timestamps the transaction and accumulates them in an ordered append log (the “block“) which is then hashed, and each new block contains a hash of the previous block (the “chain” in blockchain) in the blockchain.
The miner’s block is then compared against the non-miners node’s block (hashes are compared) and if equal then, everyone reaches consensus (agrees) that the transaction block is valid. Then the next miner supplies a new block of transactions, and the process repeats. (See wikipedia’s article for more info).
All blockchain transactions are owned by a cryptographic address. Each cryptographic address has a public and private key associated with it.
Continue reading BlockStack, a Bitcoin secured global name space for distributed storage
We talked with Exablox a month or so ago at Storage Field Day 10 (SFD10) and they discussed some of their unique storage solution and new software functionality. If you’re not familiar with Exablox they sell a OneBlox appliance with drive slots, but no data drives.
The OneBlox appliance provides a Linux based, scale-out, distributed object storage software with a file system in front of it. They support SMB and NFS access protocols and have inline deduplication, data compression and continuous snapshot capabilities. You supply the (SATA or SAS) drives, a bring your own drive (BYOD) storage offering.
Their OneSystem management solution is available on a subscription basis, which usually runs in the cloud as a web accessed service offering used to monitor and manage your Exablox cluster(s). However, for those customers that want it, OneSystem is also available as a Docker Container, where you can run it on any Docker compatible system.
Continue reading Exablox, bring your own disk storage
At Usenix ATC’16 last week, there was a “best of the rest” session which repeated selected papers presented at FAST’16 earlier this year. One that caught my interest was discussing disk reliability in free cooled data centers at Microsoft (Environmental conditions and disk reliability in free-cooled datacenters, see pp. 53-66).
The paper discusses disk reliability at 9 different datacenters in Microsoft for over 1M drives over the course of 1.5 to 4 years vs. how datacenters were cooled.
Continue reading Surprises in disk reliability from Microsoft’s “free cooled” datacenters