Breaking the Bottleneck - Solving the Storage Challenges of Next Generation Data Centers
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Overview: If it's true that information is the lifeblood of business, then it's also true that the corporate data center has become the heart of the enterprise. As computing power, networking and traditional NAS/SAN storage technologies matured in the late-1990's, centralized architecture, in the form of corporate data centers, received widespread adoption. However, as these data centers "even those built as recently as 5 years ago" have grown in complexity, scale and business importance, their efficacy has been severely challenged by an unprecedented avalanche of data in the form of digital content, unstructured data and other critical business information. As this well-documented crush of data continues to accelerate unabated (and with no end in sight), the need to remove bottlenecks associated with traditional data center architectures has reached a critical state.
Breaking the data center down to its three most elementary components gives us: Compute Power, the Network, and Storage. Recent advancements in the first two components have allowed for significant and important architectural shifts; from uncontrolled server sprawl to virtualized computing; from single gigabit network speeds to multiple gigabit transfer rates - all propelling the evolution of an improved centralized architecture. The final data center component, traditional NAS and SAN storage, has become the last bottleneck, stalling the full maturation of the centralized data center to its next and necessary evolutionary state.
This paper takes a holistic view of the data center, discusses each of these components individually, and explains how the crucial element of Storage has lagged behind advancements in Compute Power and the Network. It will also examine how an ongoing shift towards clustered storage architectures may help to drive storage forward and, perhaps, even enable it to leap-frog the other data center components in speed and performance. With the storage bottleneck removed, enterprises will be able to gain new insights, create meaningful IT operating leverage and transform information into business breakthroughs - truly realizing the potential of the next generation data center.