IBM GPFS, SSD combo shows promise for file management

Headlines: IBM GPFS scan using Violin Memory solid-state arrays shows the effect solid-state drives (SSDs) and parallel processing can have on data storage performance.

Storage channel news roundup for July 21 to July 27, 2011

IBM GPFS, SSD combo shows promise for file management 

IBM's revelation last week that it scanned 10 billion files in 43 minutes with the use of the IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) technology and solid-state drives (SSDs) showed the potential of SSDs and parallel processing to help organizations manage their rapidly growing data stores.

IBM accomplished the results with a combination of new algorithms in its clustered parallel file system and a hardware configuration of 10 eight-core IBM 1036 M2 servers and four Violin Memory 3205 flash SSD arrays that stored 6.5 TBs of metadata for a file system containing 10 billion files, said Bruce Hillsberg, director of storage systems at IBM Research Almaden.

Read the full story on IBM’s use of GPFS and SSDs combined for file management, and check out this podcast on NAS clustering.

EMC big sellers: Isilon, FAST, flash

EMC’s earnings last week revealed few surprises with revenue of $4.85 billion and income of $793 million at or slightly above expectations, but the results include a few interesting product trends:

• Isilon scale-out NAS is EMC’s fastest growing software platform, doubling in revenue over Isilon’s performance as a standalone company last year. EMC said its other Big Data products — Atmos and Greenplum — also doubled revenue year-over-year, but they were from smaller bases. EMC acquired Isilon for $2.25 billion last November. Isilon’s product revenue for the second quarter of 2010 was $64.9 million.

• More flash solid-state capacity shipped with VMAX and unified storage systems in the first half of this year than in all 2010.

Read more on the results of EMC’s earnings.

Gluster combines object and file storage

Object storage has been hailed as a better way to store files than traditional NAS, and perhaps even a long-term replacement for file storage. Now open-source software vendor Gluster has integrated object and NAS capabilities in the same file system.

The GlusterFS 3.3 beta that became available this week lets users store and access the same data as an object and a file. They can store objects and then access those objects as files, or view and access files as objects. The idea is to make it easier to migrate file-based applications to object storage so they can be used in the cloud.

Read the full blog post on Gluster’s object and file storage integration.

Tape systems evolve with higher performance, sophisticated robotics 

Tape systems have seen a good deal of innovation on a number of fronts recently. On one hand, we've seen changes to the tape medium itself as capacities continue to increase along with data rates. On the other hand, tape libraries are evolving with higher capacities, faster data transfer rates, and more sophisticated robotics. Also, much has been made about the Linear Tape File System (LTFS), although it is only just beginning to be integrated into actual products.

"What we are seeing is that companies are taking tape resources that might be allocated to a particular workgroup and aggregating them into bigger boxes, more slots, more drives," said Robert Amatruda, research director, data protection and recovery with IDC. "The trend we are seeing at the high end is fewer libraries with higher capacity."

Get tips on LTO-5 tape and LTFS in this article.

Additional storage news

Check out last week’s storage channel news roundup.

Dig deeper on Network-Attached Storage (NAS)

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