A quick review of nearly every field of technology shows the inevitable march from proprietary hardware to software-defined solutions using open systems.
The vast majority of IT environments have already made the transition, starting with general purpose business computing environments which migrated off of mainframes. This was followed by the migration of scientific computing from purpose built minicomputers. Eventually, even the high performance computing industry made the leap to massive arrays of commodity hardware over supercomputers and custom digital signal processing solutions.
The laggards in the modern data center, veritable dinosaurs, are storage systems. Even storage systems, however, are finally under pressure as a new wave of software-defined storage solutions such as Fusion’s ION Data Accelerator reach the market.
Storage systems from the largest players have much in common with mainframe environments: Racks of custom hardware, proprietary processors, closed operating systems and design philosophies that favor intense centralization of the data center. More than anything, the modern storage system emphasizes control over openness and centralization over performance.
For dormant data, Cambrian era storage systems seem appropriate. The modern data center, however, is not just about data cemeteries. The modern data center is gathering data by the petabytes, but individual data are often only valuable for as long as they provide instantaneous clues or bigger picture trends. We get value from data by analyzing it, not by storing it. In this way, the monolithic symbols of our antique data centers are solving the wrong problem.
While some see Fusion-io as a storage company, we instead view ourselves as application accelerators resolving the performance bottlenecks caused by data centralization.
One of the early adopters of our newly announced ION Data Accelerator software is deconstructing the monolith and breaking out applications so that users can be productive again. When centralization takes precedence over corporate business objectives, the data center has lost its way.
ION Data Accelerator is designed with some fundamental premises: Tier 1 servers are awesome platforms for enterprise storage; Fusion-io should not be in the business of telling you which server to use for your enterprise acceleration; data center customers are tired of being locked-in with array-bound storage services; using tier 1 servers lowers cost and improves quality.
Once a server has been loaded with ION Data Accelerator software, equipped with ioMemory and interface controllers, it is ready to participate in a storage network either directly attached to host servers or attached to Fibre Channel/InfiniBand switches.
Storage, the last remnant of custom hardware, is giving way to a new era of software-defined storage. This evolution of our data centers will lead to higher performance, lower costs and greater flexibility.
Value Added Resellers interested in learning more about building Fusion ION solutions for their customers can register for a live webinar on August 7, 2012 at 2 pm PT or August 8, 2012 at 4 pm PT.