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'Unprecedented data growth challenge for enterprises, SMEs'

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Says Hu Yoshida, Hitachi Data Systems' vice-president and chief technology officer in this conversation with Pankaj Maru of CIOL

MUMBAI, INDIA: Hu Yoshida discusses key trends, innovation and development in the storage technology, growth and demand of storage and also shares reason for the slow-up take of SSDs during the interview. Excerpts.

CIOL: What are key trends in storage technology?

Hu Yoshida: The cost of hardware (Capex) is trending upwards, becoming a greater share of total cost of ownership (TCO). Instead of buying all their storage today and capitalizing it over the next four to five years, organizations will buy what they need when they need it.

Replication multiplies data growth. A content store will help by reducing the need to back-up and replicate unchanged data. Flash controllers with advanced processors will improve the durability, performance and capacity of flash making it more affordable than SSDs. Hypervisors like VMware and applications such as VDI create demand for entry enterprise storage systems. Standard file systems will need to be replaced by object-based file systems in order to meet the growing demand of unstructured data. The use of content platforms for data archives and data sharing will accelerate as users try to correlate information from different applications.

Storage controllers will be equipped with advanced processors and hardware assist ASICs to address increasingly complex workloads and higher throughput. Adoption of mobile devices increases productivity and innovation but requires a secure, content-anywhere platform for data sharing. Certified, pre-configured and pre-tested converged solutions are gaining traction but require a unified management and orchestration interface.

CIOL: Do you feel there is not much innovation or development happening in storage technology compared to mobility, devices and application sectors? Any particular reason for this?

Hu Yoshida: The increasing usage of mobility, devices and applications is driving new innovation in the storage industry. The increasing use of these devices is resulting in huge data growth and the need for enterprises to store and manage this data efficiently and securely. This unprecedented data growth is not only a challenge for enterprise customers but a growing base of mid-range and SME customers as well who require the same enterprise class functionality and performance at a lower cost. Hitachi has always been at the forefront of innovation and has introduced several new solutions over the last year to cater to the growing needs of its customers. These solutions include a unified platform for the mid-range segment and converged infrastructure for easier deployment of solutions.

CIOL: SSDs (Solid State Drives) have been around for quite many years however the industry hasn't seen mass adoption beyond enterprise segment, which is again not so high. So what's your view on SSDs and factors restricting its mass adoption and usability?

Hu Yoshida: Primarily, the higher price and limited durability are reasons for the lack of adoption of SSDs. Enterprises need to decide whether the higher investment cost is justified by the advantages that SSDs provide. Current SSDs are built with low cost, commodity controllers to manage the durability and performance of flash media. These controllers have limited processing power, bandwidth and memory and as a result the durability, performance and capacity of flash SSDs is limited to about 400GB with a five-year life, subject to a specified number of write/formats.

We will see the introduction of flash controllers with advanced processors that are built specifically for enterprise storage systems and increase the durability, performance and capacity of flash memory. By using multi-core processors with hardware-assist ASICs, a new generation of flash controllers will be able to improve performance and increase capacity tenfold with new packaging. The increase in capacity will reduce the equivalent capacity cost of standard MLC (Multi Level Cell) SSDs by 40 per cent with better durability and performance. The MLC price erosion is driven by increasing volumes in the consumer market and is expected to be cheaper than high-performance SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) HDDs by 2019. This improvement in flash controllers should move this crossover point in price erosion forward by three to five years.


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