Future Storage Systems: Part 4: Operating System – Conceptual Overview

October 13, 2008

In the previous Future Storage System articles, we’ve covered the basic hardware foundation for what I envision to be a powerful future-oriented storage solution for the commercial midrange.  However, as you’re probably aware, hardware is meaningless without software to provide the operational capabilities that are needed to mange information.  In this article, I will focus on a general design for an extensible software layer (an OS) that will provide future-oriented capability expansion as well as robust analytics, capabilities, and integration with business continuity principles.  As always, please reference the diagram below.

Future Storage System - Operating System - Conceptual

Future Storage System - Operating System - Conceptual

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Future Storage Systems: Part 3b – I/O Expansion Node

October 10, 2008

In Part 3a, we discussed the possibility of a purpose-driven Compute Node based on the Torrenza initiative for the Future Storage system.  This expansion node made use of Hypertransport as a “glue” between the base storage compute node and the expansion node (of computation or I/O flavours) that could be added.  The advantages of that topology were simple:  hot add support for additional processing power, additional I/O bandwidth within the system, and additional computing power for the array OS (which we’ll cover in a later article).  In this overview, we’ll take a look at another variation on an expansion node: an I/O expansion node that will add additional front-end ports and/or functionality to the base system.  We will be referencing the diagram below. (Apologies in advance for the image shearing off in the lower right hand corner).

Hypertransport I/O Expansion Topology

Hypertransport I/O Expansion Topology

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Future Storage Systems: Part 3a – Node Expansion Overview

October 9, 2008

In the previous two articles on the Future Storage System (FSS), I took a general look at a basic storage system architecture (Part 1) and then went a bit deeper into some of the more interesting bits of that system from a platform standpoint (Part 2).  In this article, I want to dive a bit deeper into how I envision nodes to be building blocks for additional capabilities and processing directives.  I will be referencing the image below as part of this article.

Hypertransport Node Expansion (detailed)

Hypertransport Node Expansion (detailed)

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Future Storage Systems: Part 2 – Detailed Node View

October 8, 2008

So, in my article yesterday, I gave a global view of a very simple storage system for the future. Since I LOVE this type of conjecture and theoretics (is that a word?), I decided to take this a step further and flesh out some of the other intricacies of the design.  Check out the image below and then click through to read the rest.

Fleshing out the Hypertransport Storage System

Fleshing out the Hypertransport Storage System

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Why wouldn’t the following work? (Future Storage System: Part 1)

October 7, 2008

So, I’ve been toying around with this in my mind for some time.  Essentially, I’ve tried to understand the basic “Storage Processor” limitation of current storage systems and propose an admittedly simplistic design to get around some of the difficulties.  The biggest hurdle, in my mind, is to have cache coherency, low latency memory access to other nodes in a “cluster,” and have a communications “bus” between nodes that is extensible (or at least will grow bandwidth with more devices on the signal chain).  Staring at that problem, then, look at the image below.

A case for Hypertransport connected nodes...

A case for Hypertransport connected nodes...

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EMC CX4 is ALIVE!

August 6, 2008
Which memory locations can be cached by which ...Image via Wikipedia

Is it just me or have we been waiting for this for a while? 😉  Today is officially the EMC Clariion CX4 public GA (general availability) date.  Good news: they’re shipping TODAY!  No paper launches, folks…this is immediate availability.  The other good news: you get to do more with your storage; faster, cheaper, stronger, more flexible, etc.  Let me rip through some highlights for you:

a.) Cache and SP Processor increases.  Across the board, processor “speeds” and cache sizes have been increased.  Now, this may appear somewhat odd in that the CX4-120, for example, only has two dual core 1.2ghz processors, but, when you consider that the onboard L2 cache is greater in size (and Woodcrest processors were HANDILY more powerful than the older Nocona Xeons), it actually has more innate processing power than the previous generation processors.  Cache sizes, when coupled with the 64 bit FLARE OS for the array, allow for better allocation and utilization within the array. 

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More on Corporate Blogging…

August 20, 2007

Sorry for another post so quickly in the day, but I just happened to stumble upon Jeremiah Owyang’s excellent blog entry entitled “How Blogs can help a Corporation.”  While he makes some very valid points about some of the more tenacious exchanges out there (StorageZilla and Robin Harris), I think he missed something along the way.

Jeremiah states:
“The rules around EMC’s organic (bloggers that appear on their own, without corporate control) bloggers seem very controlled…”

Honestly, I don’t think this is the case whatsoever.  As a matter of fact, what got me started blogging was several really good exchanges with Chuck Hollis regarding Infiniband, etc. that were off the beaten path.  Chuck simply asked me what my passions were and to blog those. Simple, really, but the essence of what blogging should be about.  What drives me as an EMC employee is my thirst for knowledge that lies outside the scope of my daily routine.  I can engage with those who have experience beyond that of mine and learn and then, when the mood strikes, blog. 🙂

So, let’s give up on the whole EMC ControlCenter blogging argument and focus on what drives us in storage.

Cheers,

Dave

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