Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Storage Trends and Predictions for 2016

First of the storage trends is for 25/50/100 GbE. The first products have just reached availability, so in 2016 we will see wide adoption of these. For our segment 25 GbE will be especially popular because it is a single-lane technology (like 10G, not like 40G), It is backwards compatible with 10G (uses the same SFP-type connector) and has a low cost for NICs, cables and switches. By the end of the year the cost difference between 10 and 25 will be minuscule, so the choice of 25G should be obvious for any new deployment during 2016.

All-Flash Arrays (AFA)
All-flash memory has been gaining market share during the last few years. In 2016 even late adopters will switch to flash for their primary storage needs. It still has to go through a row or price reduction to become affordable.

ARM servers
ARM servers are coming up with players like Broadcom. AMD and Samsung are also going to try their chances of gaining (share) of the ARM server chip market.

Non-Volatile Memory (NVM)
NVM is a new class of storage media. It is faster than NAND flash, slower than RAM, but it is non-volatile. We expect to see first productized 3D XPoint memory by Intel/Micron. Also HP/SanDisk (now WD) announced cooperation around memristors but it is unsure if we'll see a product in 2016. The first product will be a 3D XPoint PCIe card to be released in Q1 2016. At the beginning, prices will be higher than the ones of NAND flash, but in the long run, non-volatile memory can replace flash entirely. As a result, NAND flash is going to become the new disk, while NVM will take the role of flash. This means a new crop of storage vendors focusing on the new storage tier, like it happened with NAND flash. We expect first players to be announced in 2016.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI)
Hyper-converged solutions are going to get wider adoption as they reduce complexity. However they are still costly and by concept are best suited for smaller deployments of 2-5 nodes and thus for the SMB/ROBO segment. At larger scale HCI is not the solution of choice for cost and manageability reasons.

Hot in the storage trends will be Software-Defined Storage (SDS)
SDS has been in the storage trends and hot topic during last couple of years, however the majority of deployments were PoC/tests. 2016 is the year when SDS becomes widely used in production deployments. The technology has reached a good level of maturity, developed by early adopters and now mainstream companies are going to deploy it in order to get the benefits delivered by software-defined storage and distributed storage.

Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) drives
SMR drives will be one of the storage trends of 2016. The economics of this new class of media are clear already - SMR HDDs are nearly half the cost of the closest regular HDD available. Other than that, the attraction of SMR drives is the ability to have an online archive at very reasonable cost rather than an offline tape archive. Also, the software stacks and products incorporating them are just coming into place. They fit between tape and HDDs, at the same time displacing both to a degree. Tape will be dead as a backup technology of the mass market and SMR drives will make it really dead.

New tiers
The NVM and SMR drives will create new tiers of storage. NVM will fit between flash and RAM, displacing the highest end of the flash arrays, and enabling a small segment of new applications. SMR drives will fit between tape and regular HDDs, displacing both to a degree. For me tape is dead now. Adding SMR drives for cold storage to the mix makes it very dead.

Further systems specialization
At the medium scale (100TB-1 PB) there is an increasing realisation that you probably need several different systems for the different needs. The best architecture for an archival system is very different for the best architecture for primary storage. So in 2016 mid-sized storage users will look even more to solve different requirements with different systems.

Death of HDD-only and steep decline of cached-HDD systems
Enterprises finally realize that HDD systems, even when cached and centralized architectures don't work for their virtualized workloads. We still see quotes by major vendors offering HDD-based systems, where the customer clearly stated they want high performance. This will not fly anymore in 2016. This is all part of the specialization trend: different problems = different solutions.

The pursuit to reduce complexity
Complexity is a major pain point, getting worse with all the latest technologies that companies have to keep up with and manage. Hyper-convergence promises to address these issues to a large degree, but only in the smaller storage deployments. cloud operators also help a lot by hiding the complexity of their infrastructure behind an easy-to-use web interface. On a larger scale - when you have to build a public or a private cloud - the sensible solution is to consider software-defined technologies. Most of them rely on standard hardware (and standard skillset), thus they reduce complexity as well as vendor lock-in. This promises to be one of the huge storage trends in 2016.

Pricing of storage systems changes
It is not about storage anymore - compute network and storage become one integral system. This has considerable impact on how you compare solutions - it is not $/GB and $/IO/s of the storage system anymore. Rather companies have to compare functionality and the total cost of their alternative stacks before choosing.

New approach to backup and DR
There is an increased interest for multi-site deployments. In the larger cloud deployments, the general approach seems to be multiple sites connected over the Internet, with exposed choice to the customer where the cloud should keep backup copies of their data. We don't see any interest in tape libraries. The modern approach to backup and archiving seems to be large HDDs with wide erasure coding. So backups will be either online or nearly online (withins of powering up the HDDs). We also see increased interest in being able to run applications from the backup system even with decreased performance. The line between backup and DR is blurring.

Storage trends and predictions - Summary
On the highest level there is a paradigm shift from 'storage as a separate subsystem' (i.e. stand alone SAN box) to 'software-defined storage'. Companies will grasp the interplay between applications, compute, network and storage. Storage is becoming an integral part of the entire stack and tightly integrated with network and compute (and applications running on top).

Performance requirements are rising and SSD-level of performance is now the standard. Use cases multiply which drives further specialization of storage systems and new tiers of storage.
With impact lower than the paradigm shift new technologies are adding functionality, but also complexity, which the end users are trying to manage, while innovating to keep their competitive edge.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

566PB Produced in Just One Day by All WW New Video Surveillance Cameras Installed in 2015

Big, big, big data: higher and higher resolution video surveillance

In 2013 IHS Inc. announced the rise of HD video surveillance was leading to an astonishing 413PB of data a day produced by newly installed video surveillance cameras.
Now, the proliferation of higher and higher resolution cameras means that the data deluge continues to increase.
566PB was the amount of data produced in just one day by all the new video surveillance cameras installed worldwide in 2015.

But just how much data is 566PB:
  • 11.3 million standard double-layer Blu-ray movie disc
  • All Netflix’s current users streaming 1.2 hours of ultra-high definition content simultaneously, as of December 2015.
  • Approaching twice the amount of all user data stored by Facebook!, as of December 2015.
So why is there this increase?
Globally speaking the video surveillance market is still not saturated. A recent IHS report on the installed base for video surveillance equipment suggested that there was one camera installed for every twenty nine people on the planet. However, camera density varied drastically by country. The mature markets of the US and the UK had one camera installed for every eight and eleven people respectively. Emerging markets such as India (one for every 150) or Middle East and Africa (one for every 200) will see many new installations.

As well as new installations; retrofits and upgrades are a significant part of the market, a market which globally is expected to see a CAGR of 20% in new camera unit shipments from 2014 to 2019. In addition to the high demand for surveillance cameras the following is also true:
  • HD compliant 1080p 25/30 fps cameras have established themselves as the minimum expected from new cameras. This is not now limited to network cameras, HD CCTV has emerged as the replacement for many remaining standard definition analog cameras.
  • Panoramic and 4K cameras are two further storage hungry high growth product categories.
  • When video surveillance footage is being stored it is generally being retained for an increasing period of time. Aside from out-and-out security purposes, video surveillance footage is being increasingly retained longer for anti-litigation, insurance and operational purposes too.
The amount of data produced by video surveillance cameras is huge yet it is often overlooked in analyses of general worldwide data production and storage. The video surveillance industry is still somewhat below the radar for those involved in data storage, perhaps due to its challenges and characteristics.

Management and storage of potentially hundreds of high resolution video streams can be one such challenge. A large throughput capacity and a heavy write focus are just two characteristics of enterprise storage tailored for video surveillance workloads.

The traditional separation of security and IT has meant convergence between the two has been slow. However, increased surveillance storage demands may force many end-users to re-access their storage solutions as previous approaches will no longer be sufficient.

If enterprise storage is used, the majority of demand at present is being fulfilled by IP SANs.
Chinese video surveillance vendors are well positioned to ramp-up their offerings of low-priced, high capacity SAN systems to meet the capacity requirements of the mass video surveillance market. This approach, previously reserved for only the largest installations, is filtering down to smaller systems.

However, the market is also evolving. Concurrently, some larger installations have progressed to the use of smarter storage architectures integrating moving data between edge and core storage, between multiple tiers (in some cases storage media) within single platforms which are all viewable in the VMS.

Qualstar Announces the Q80, an Expandable Rackmount LTO Tape Library System

Qualstar Corporation (NASDAQ: QBAK), a manufacturer of data storage solutions and high efficiency power supplies, today announced the release of Q80, a 19-inch rackmount form-factor scalable 6U high LTO Tape Library system designed for small and medium businesses and distributed deployment environments. 

The Qualstar Q80 is designed to provide superior performance and value for backup, recovery and archiving environments while cost effectively accommodating growth. The Q80’s patented architecture allows easy field configuration of a unified library consisting of up to 7 individual modules containing up to 560 cartridges and 42 Half Height LTO drives. The Q80 offers outstanding storage capacity and data throughput in a system that can be expanded incrementally and cost-effectively. The Q80 features wizards to simplify installation and configuration as well as advanced diagnostics, which provide suggested actions to resolve problems quickly. With LTO 7 tape technology, the Q80 will offer a maximum of 3.36PB native storage capacity and maximum native throughput of 45.4 TB/hr. 

“The addition of Q80 to our product portfolio adds a scalable library solution to our Q series product range. This model targets growing businesses that require a flexible system to scale with their needs. The addition of the Q80 demonstrates Qualstar’s continued commitment to delivering a broader range of storage solutions for our customers”, said Steven N. Bronson, Qualstar’s CEO.

In adddition to the Q80 Qualstar offer a 24-slot and 48-slot tape library.  Contact fora quote today at 866 801 2944for your next LTO-6 or LTO-7 Tape Library.

Quantum: Fiscal 3Q16 Financial Results

Quantum Corp. reported results for the fiscal third quarter 2016 ended December 31, 2015.
Fiscal Third Quarter 2016 Results:
(All comparisons relative to the fiscal third quarter 2015.)

  • Revenue was $128.0 million, driven by continued strength in scale-out storage offset by overall weakness in the general storage market and pricing environment of commodity tape media products.
  • Scale-out storage and related service revenue grew approximately $8.5 million to an all-time high of $35.7 million, a 31% increase, marking the 18th consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth.
  • Royalty revenue increased $0.6 million to $11.3 million.
  • Disk backup systems and related service revenue decreased to $19.6 million.
  • Branded tape automation and related service revenue decreased to $38.5 million, while OEM tape automation and related service revenue decreased to $12.7 million.
  • Devices and media revenue decreased to $10.2 million as a result of a $3.5 million decline in tape media revenue.
  • GAAP and non-GAAP operating income of $2.0 million and $7.2 million, respectively.
  • GAAP net loss was $0.3 million, or $0.00 per diluted share.
  • Non-GAAP net income was $5.3 million, or $0.02 per diluted share.
Based on current market conditions, including tape media pricing dynamics and the difficulty in forecasting large and mega deals given their long sales cycles, Quantum provided the following guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter:
  • Revenue of $118 million to $122 million.
  • GAAP and non-GAAP gross margin of approximately 43-44%.
  • GAAP and non-GAAP operating expenses of approximately $50 million to $51 million and $48 million to $49 million, respectively.
  • Interest expense of $1.5 million and taxes of $400,000.
  • GAAP and non-GAAP earnings per share of ($0.01) to $0.00 and $0.00 to $0.01, respectively.