The Scale-out Storage World, And Intel Architecture’s Place Within It

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Intelligent Storage: You would have to live under a pretty large rock to be completely unaware of the “Intel Inside” marketing and branding campaign. But the breadth of Intel’s intent and capability to be “inside” might come as something of a surprise. After all, this paper has both scale-out storage and Intel Architecture (IA) in its title. Really? To most people, “Intel Inside” intuitively applies to the company’s processors being found inside computing devices such as laptops and servers.

When the word “storage” is uttered, the minds of few people—even people in IT—leap immediately to think of Intel. However, that is something that Intel looks to be about to change, not only because Intel is a pragmatic and aggressive commercial organization, but also because the necessity for advanced, intelligent, and powerful computing in storage—especially today’s increasingly dominant scale-out storage approach—means that storage is becoming more processor dependent.

Thus, IA has a key role and opportunity in the storage market. As storage infrastructures become more heavily based upon industry-standard X86 servers, so IA and storage become increasingly interlinked. “Intel Inside Scale- out Storage” may not yet be a phrase that trips off the tongue. But compelling reasons exist for users to be aware of the important relevance of processing in today’s increasingly complex storage world.

Moreover, Intel wants to be seen as more than just a supporting cast member in the storage world; it wants to create the same sort of integrated value that it has achieved with its other, more traditional processing platforms. As the company states:

“The bottom line: The world needs storage, and it needs it in new ways. Intel architecture-based storage solutions can support scale-out storage solutions that address your immediate need for efficiency and prepare you to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Intel Xeon processors can help by providing more energy-efficient storage performance, delivering added data protection, and enabling new usage models and greater scalability.”

This paper covers Intel’s new focus from two perspectives. It contains two sections, each readable as a standalone piece.

• Section A examines and explains scale-out storage architecture, focusing on its emergence as the leading approach to contemporary storage and on the IT and business values it can deliver.

• Section B looks in depth at the specific IA capabilities that can address scale-out storage needs, emphasizing their operational and economic value.

Why does this matter? First, because modern storage generally, and scale-out storage in particular, put new demands upon the processing capabilities that support them, so it’s important to know what underpins a solution. Second, the adoption and growth of scale-out storage as the modern architecture of choice means that the majority of users are impacted, and they’ll need to understand all this so they can make good planning and purchasing decisions.

Indeed, ESG has delivered a scale-out storage market forecast 2 through the year 2015, at which point we expect the transition to scale-out architectures to be almost complete, with scale-out storage architectures making up 80% of all net-new external networked storage shipments on a revenue basis. From 2010 to 2015, scale-out storage continues its march into commercial IT and away from just the niche markets that were the first to require the bandwidth and performance it provides.

In that same time frame, our market forecast for scale-out external networked storage shipments in commercial and government sectors increases from 4,189 petabytes (PB) to 62,834 PB. That is a 72% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) that far exceeds the overall external networked storage growth rate. This significant growth is based on a near-wholesale transition from scale-up to scale-out architectures across the vendor landscape—and that makes understanding scale-out, together with IA’s role within it, a matter of broad importance across IT.

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Posted in: Big Data, Corporate, Intel, Intel IT, Intel: Intelligent Storage, Intel: Software Defined Infrastructure, IT White Papers