Big Tin

Big tin: IT infrastructure used by organisations to run their businesses. And other stuff too when I feel like it…

Cloud means gloom for hardware vendors – or does it?

Maintaining a good relationship with hardware vendors is an essential element of any cloud or service provider’s daily process. The problem is that, if some recent gloomy predictions come true, there will be fewer of them. That’s the line from Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer, among others, according to this piece on ZDNet. But is it true?
Vogels reckons that, as enterprises aim to reduce capital expenditure by buying in an increasing number of services, hardware vendors will suffer a squeeze in sales, and so revenues.

The rest of this article can be found here.

Filed under: Business, Cloud computing, Enterprise, Technology, , , , , ,

Are SSDs too expensive?

Recent weeks have seen a deluge of products from solid-state disk (SSD) vendors, such as Tegile, Fusion-IO, and now LSI to name but a few; a significant proportion of new storage launches in the last year or two have been based around SSDs.

Some of this is no doubt opportunism, as the production of spinning disk media was seriously disrupted by floods in Thailand last year, a phenomenon that the disk industry reckons has now disappeared. Much of the SSD-fest though purports to resolve the problem of eking more performance from storage systems.

In your laptop or desktop PC, solid state makes sense simply because of its super-fast performance: you can boot the OS of your choice in 15-30 seconds, for example, and a laptop’s battery life is hugely extended. My ThinkPad now runs happily for four to five hours of continuous use, more if I watch a video or don’t interact with it constantly. And in a tablet or smartphone of course there’s no contest.

The problem is that the stuff is expensive, with a quick scan of retail prices showing a price delta of between 13 to 15 times the price of hard disks, measured purely on a capacity basis.

In the enterprise, though, things aren’t quite as simple as that. The vendors’ arguments in favour of SSDs ignore capacity, as they assume that the real problem is performance, where they can demonstrate that SSDs deliver more value for a given amount of cash than spinning media.

There is truth in this argument, but it’s not as if data growth is slowing down. In fact, when you consider that the next wave of data will come from sensors and what’s generally known as the Internet of things – or machine-to-machine communication – then expect the rate of data growth to increase, as this next data tsunami has barely started.

And conversations with both vendors and end users also show that capacity is not something that can be ignored. If you don’t have or can’t afford additional storage, you might need to do something drastic – like actually manage the stuff, although each time I’ve mooted that, I’m told that it remains more costly to do than technological fixes like thin provisioning and deduplication.

In practice, the vendors are, as so often happens in this industry, way ahead of all but the largest, most well-heeled customers. Most users, I would contend, more concerned with ensuring that they have enough storage to handle projected data growth over the next six months. Offer them high-cost, low capacity storage technology and they’re may well reject it in favour of capacity now.

When I put this point to him, LSI’s EMEA channel sales director Thomas Pavel reckoned that the market needed education. Maybe it does. Or maybe it’s just fighting to keep up with demand.

Filed under: Enterprise, Servers, Storage, , , , , , , ,

Precise Software adds new performance monitoring features

I don’t need to tell you about the technology industry’s love affair with cloud computing – since as an individual you’re likely to be way ahead of most enterprises in your seamless use of cloud already. After all, you probably use email, you store files on Dropbox, and you sync with Google or iCloud. That makes you a cloud computing user.

For a cloud provider however, extracting maximum value from expensive infrastructure is essential. And for that they need to be able to measure performance accurately – you can’t analyse what you can’t measure. And this is where Precise Software enters the picture.

Precise’s software uses analytics to measure the performance of applications, in the shape of a new version of its flagship product, Precise 9.5, which it sells to large enterprises with their own datacentre and cloud facilities.

The problem datacentre managers are having is tracking data as it moves from virtual machines across the network to storage and back again.

Company spokesman Kevin Wood said: “Users want to track the data through from client to storage, to find why a virtual server is being starved of resources. Are resources being sucked up by another server, for example?”

The software is tailored to work with EMC and VMware‘s storage and hypervisor infrastructure, although a version that supports Microsoft’s Hyper-V and then Citrix Xen are planned in about six months.

Precise is not alone in this area of the industry however, as the explosion of cloud computing is sucking in a growing number of companies keen to sell support products such as Precise. Additionally, the company’s focus on market leaders VMware and EMC may prove a barrier to many potential buyers, who are more likely to run heterogeneous environments.

Filed under: Enterprise, Product launch, Systems management, Technology

New start for Big Tin

It’s been a while since this blog was updated, but this is about to change, so expect a new beginning.

You’ll be getting regular updates from on new enterprise technologies – and sometimes consumer ones too – as I encounter interesting new ideas and implementations.

Watch for the next posting – it won’t be long…

Filed under: Technology,

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