Patently Pavilion

I’m proud to work for a company that values intellectual property.  Writing patent claims is no easy task.  It takes creativity and technical diligence to define the future, cite prior art, and put up with the legal eagles.  In some environments where I have worked, creating patents was frowned upon as it takes time away from getting to market faster.     My belief is that patents are a mark of great engineers working together and doing the really hard work to prove their invention is worthy of merit in the context of history and in the definition of the…

Demystifying Disaggregation

We are witnessing the 2nd wave of NVMe adoption where SSDs move from a captive resource inside a server to a pool of shared media delivered across a network. Sound familiar?   I watched this story play out in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the advent of Storage Area Networks (SANs). This shift in storage architecture came about because HDDs were stranded inside servers, creating islands of storage that had poor utilization, limited scalability, and painful management challenges.   The SAN changed everything. New billion-dollar companies emerged, and petabytes replaced terabytes as the lexicon of choice. Even new…

Award Pure a Participation Trophy

I was President of a Little League Baseball organization for several years.  Every player under the age of 9 would get a “participation trophy” for showing up and trying.  You see the same practice in most youth sports programs these days.   I thought of this when Pure Storage announced their support for DirectFlash™ Fabric this week.  The new feature allows them to connect their FlashArray//X to RDMA-capable Ethernet hosts using NVMe-oF.  Just like Pavilion, they are targeting ‘modern stack’ applications that require massive parallelism, low latency, and high bandwidth.  These applications rarely use shared storage since traditional SANs add…

Man in the Arena Pavilion

A good friend of mine is a venture capitalist.  He likes to jump into emerging market segments when the “water gets frothy.”  A quick Google search of “NVMe-oF” yields 26 million results in just under .7 seconds.  5 years ago, the same search would turn up, at best 2,600.  The NVMe-oF water is indeed getting frothy.   Big Storage has taken notice.  Yesterday brought another announcement.  This one comes from the expert marketeers at Pure Storage who offer a dramatically cooler name for our nerdy RDMA-over-Converged Ethernet (RoCE™).  The newly christened DirectFlash Fabric™ is a fabulous story of disaggregation, hyper-scalability,…

Performance Density – A New Metric for Rack-Scale Design

I’m constantly amazed by the specsmanship of the data storage industry.  Every month we hear about some new system that can achieve a gazillion IOPS or store 100’s of petabytes.  We revel in our own glory, often without consideration of the consequences.  Current examples are NVMe All-Flash Array and Software-Defined Storage (SDS) marketeers running amok.   Our industry is consistently rewarded for storage capacity density. This is the number of TBs that can be crammed into a shelf or rack unit (RU).  It is why drive makers constantly increase capacities for every form factor and Big Storage is cleverly stuffing as many drives as possible…