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Friday, May 25, 2012

The evolving cloud and how it impacts storage – Part 2 of 4


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The evolving cloud and how it impacts storage – Part 2 of 4

via Inside IT Storage by Mark Wojtasiak on 5/24/12

This past March, Wes Perdue, Seagate's  Director of PLM Cloud Strategy at Seagate spoke at World Hosting Days in Europa-Park Rust, Germany.  The topic: The Evolving Cloud and How it Impacts Storage.  We have taken the transcript of Wes's presentation and created this 4 part series covering:

Part 2: The Seagate Cloud Strategy

From a strategy standpoint, Seagate is going to be the market leader and the technology leader, and in large part, we will be doing that by developing strategic partnerships.  Engaging with key partners, and through that engagement, understanding what their challenges and what their issues are, so we can bake that back into the product development process and optimize drives that better fit these applications.

Engagement to Understand Requirements is Critical

As we have these engagements; there are a lot of topics that we try to understand. We try to understand the differences and challenges and how they impact hard drives. We will be taking a deeper dive into each and talk about everything from the type of data center infrastructure to security to cold storage to architectures. It has been eye opening for us in the way things are done differently in this (cloud) space.

Data Center Infrastructure

Starting with the data center infrastructure.  You can have a 50,000 or 60,000 square meter data center, or a very small, modular, container type of data center, and what we've learned across the board is that it really doesn't matter the type. What really matters is the application and the architecture from a software standpoint that determines what storage device is needed for that application, or a given set of applications in these data centers.

Data Center Environment

In terms of environment, this has been a big trend or topic of discussion. The tier one service providers are building their own data centers, and just about all of them are deploying free air or fresh air cooling economizers for power and cooling efficiency.  Power and cooling is probably the number one operating expense in a data center.  They want to operate their data centers with this free air-cooling more days out of the year, as much as possible.  At one of Facebook's newest data centers in the northwest part of the United States, they did an environmental study.  They increased the chassis inlet air temperature from 25 degrees C to 30 degrees C, and they raised the relative humidity from 65 percent to 90 percent.  Then, they increased the delta-t temperature from 10 degrees C to 20 degrees C.  What this means to the drive is about a 50 degrees C case temperature. That's getting up there.  We see this trend continuing to occur, and we believe that drives, as well as all components in the system are going to experience harsher environments.

Pushing the Workload Utilization Envelope

In terms of workload utilization, a lot of infrastructures are virtualized; a multi-tenant infrastructure. As we talk to the cloud architects, a lot of them are in the process of revamping their file systems, their software stacks, and they want to improve the utilization of their key components.  They are basically saying, the workloads one year from now will look nothing like they do today.  And that peaks our interest. Think of it this way, whenever a processor isn't calculating, isn't processing, they (the service provider) are not making any money. Whenever a hard drive is not reading and writing, the service provider, again, is not making any money.  So what's ideal for them, what's nirvana is for the hard drives to read and write all the time, 24×7, no idle time which impacts us, because we use some of that idle time to do background checks, to do drive scans.  So, in addition to drives being used in harsher environments, they are going to be working even harder.

Pushing the Efficiency Envelope

Remember that story I told you about the delta-t study, the delta-t temperature increase?  The delta-t temperature is the temperature difference between the hot aisle temperature and the cold aisle temperature. That delta-t temperature put the temperature of the hot aisle at 50 degrees C, and the hot aisle is where the maintenance is done.  So, management said, we need to be kinder to our system admins, so they're going to do maintenance in the cold aisle.  That necessitated the need to change, a design change, that had to move all the cabling to go from one end to the other.  So guess what folks were able to respond very quick to that change, be nimble and adapt, and be very responsive to making that change for this tier one service provider?  Those builders, those integrators working side by side, very closely with these tier one service providers. What we have heard over and over again is this local high-touch technical support is critical to success.

So in what ways is Seagate innovating for the cloud?  We'll cover that in the next post on Data Protection, Security, and Cold Storage in the Cloud.

Stay tuned.

Related Posts:

The evolving cloud and how it impacts storage – Part 1 of 4



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