Storage hardware continues to evolve to meet the challenges required to support the exponential growth of the digital universe. Hardware vendors are developing new systems that can store multi petabyte (PB) of storage, with various different disk sizes and types. The innovations in hardware are tied to software improvements that provide better management and performance of the data that resides on them. The challenge lies in understanding what resides on the existing storage systems and how best to migrate them to the new hardware platforms.
The largest growing segment in storage is network attached storage (NAS) because of strong improvements in its performance and its relatively low costs compared to storage area networks (SAN) based storage. In addition, NAS is typically where unstructured user data resides and therefore the growth in user stored files and its associated data has exponentially increased the storage associated with hit. The adoption and growth in NAS is evidenced through its proliferation in use by enterprises and external cloud providers. The two largest hardware vendors in terms of market share in the NAS space are Network Appliance and Isilon, an EMC company. These vendors have continued to evolve their hardware to meet the requirements of the marketplace, most recently with the release of clustered file systems with new or updated operating systems that provide greater functionality. Clustered file systems alleviate the need to deploy individual filers and provide a seamless storage expansion capability to users. A key barrier to the adoption of this new hardware capability is the means to migrate the existing storage to the new clustered platform. Currently hardware providers and integrators offer a labor intensive solution that costs almost as much as the hardware that is being purchased. In addition, the time it takes and the risks involved give pause to potential adopters.
Innovation is only as good as its ease of adoption and there lays the challenge faced by these NAS vendors. If the clustered filers cannot be migrated to with ease, it creates a barrier for potential customers. There are hardware based solutions that have been created that try to provide a means to route the data through them and thereby become a ‘gateway’ and or an abstraction to the new platform. The challenge in this solution is the impact to user performance as these gateways become a bottleneck. In addition, it adds another layer to the hardware infrastructure stack to manage and maintain. Furthermore, removing and or upgrading these hardware platforms, create a migration challenge in itself.
Data Dynamics Inc. has created a solution that addresses the challenge associated to discovering files and migrating the data from traditional filers to new clustered file systems with its StorageX platform. StorageX provides heterogeneous supportability and provides a software based solution that is out of the data path. It’s a proven solution, therefore when you look at migrating to a clustered environment consider StorageX. You may learn more about them at www.datadynamicsinc.com.