What Is Enterprise Storage?

I got a call today from someone asking about a vendor’s claim that it offers enterprise storage.  I asked myself again, what is the definition of enterprise storage? I also asked myself if it is changing or going to change anytime soon.  


To me what differentiates enterprise storage is both the availability and the consistency of performance.  To me, consistency of performance is a critical aspect of the definition of enterprise storage.   So assuming you accept my definition, what needs to happen in and to a storage system to meet consistent performance?  In my mind, that means two things:


1.      A controller that allows consistent data access performance for both IOPS and streaming

2.      A disk subsystem that provides data access performance for both IOPS and streaming


Number 1 is pretty obvious and most vendors claiming enterprise storage address the failover, address writing to any LUN to any port.  This is well-known set of issues and technology solutions.  


The real issue, in my opinion, is that SATA drive recovery takes too long because much of the recovery has to be done on the host side as compared with SAS/Fibre Channel drives.   With the new crop of drives that offer SAS interfaces-- but actually have SATA hardware guts -- consistent performance will be possible with drives that historically have used SATA interfaces.  This I believe might be good for the consumer, but bad for the drive vendors that make really SAS enterprise drives. 

Labels: IOPS,FibreConnect,enterprise storage,fibre channel,SAS,SATA

posted by: Henry Newman

Henry Newman, InfoStor Blogger
by Henry Newman
InfoStor Blogger

Henry Newman is CEO and CTO of Instrumental Inc. and has worked in HPC and large storage environments for 29 years. The outspoken Mr. Newman initially went to school to become a diplomat, but was firmly told during his first year that he might be better suited for a career that didn't require diplomatic skills. Diplomacy's loss was HPC's gain.

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