About a decade ago, new companies formed around building online applications in the areas of SaaS, Social Media, and other verticals that required the ability to scale effortlessly in multiple dimensions to support growth and peaks in demand. These companies and technologists built a new kind of infrastructure to service a rapidly-growing customer base that required real-time information. They relied upon low-latency storage resources directly installed in servers as direct-attached-storage (DAS) in order to put the data as close to the CPU as possible. The scale-out database technology that underpinned these applications could manage data across the cluster, and avoided the need to deploy traditional shared storage resources. Examples are shown below:
Applications are becoming increasingly parallel. What used to be done on a single application server is now spread across a cluster of servers operating in parallel. This allows for scaling in multiple dimensions. Need more bandwidth or compute power for your clustered application? Just add more servers to the cluster. Hyperscale customers have been doing this for nearly a decade now, and the number of customers that embrace this architecture are growing constantly.
Over the course of two decades I have been deeply involved in developing products that spanned various domains such as data networking, storage area networking, PCIe interconnects, IO Virtualization, Flash controller, and all flash array systems. My journey took me through a variety of companies such as Cisco/Andiamo, Aprius (acquired by FusionIO) and Violin Memory and I am proud to be part of these teams that developed and shipped innovative products that served the data center.
Businesses are transforming to be more digital and are constantly in the quest of getting a competitive advantage over their competitors. One of the important and popular means is to do more with the data that they have. We all know that the amount of data as in volume, velocity and variety are continuing to grow unabated. To maintain competitive edge in the digital era implies the ability to take control of this deluge, analyze and deliver insights accurately to better serve business needs. This has turned the focus back to storage software, storage media and systems as it was proving to be one of the big bottlenecks.