Even though cloud computing is taking dead aim at low- and mid-tier storage by offering a low-cost alternative with little or no local infrastructure, traditional storage systems are still the name of the game at most enterprises.
That is evidenced by the tide of mid-level systems coming out this fall.
Cloud storage has only just scratched the surface in terms of the overall storage industry, and, costs aside, it will likely be held at arm's length for a little while longer due to security and availability concerns.
In the meantime mid-level storage will continue to thrive and will likely show more and more of the kinds of features previously found only on the high-end systems.
IBM, for instance, has loaded its new System Storage DS5020 Express system with four 8 Gbps Fibre Channel interfaces, with support for an additional four ports that can be configured as 8G FC or 1 G iSCSI. It also has a self-encryption function and features a modular architecture that allows it to easily scale up or down with vSphere or Hyper-V environments. Prices start at $22,500.
Equally impressive is Dell/EMC's new CX4 array, which sports 10 GbE capability and the UltraFlex Modular I/O architecture that lets you customize your port configurations between 8 G and 4 G Fibre Channel and 1 and 10 G iSCSI. The companies say it is looking to help enterprises consolidate "stranded servers" on storage networks by adding support for more virtual machines and aggregating mulitple 1 G iSCSI connections into 10 G ones.
The system also holds the Navisphere management software that features integrated vCenter APIs designed to form a tighter bond between virtual machines and available storage resources. The result is improved discovery and reporting across physical and virtual environments and better drill-down to identify the root cause of performance problems.
Over at Hitachi Data Systems, customers will see a number of enterprise-class additions to the Adaptable Modular Storage 2000 family through a series of hardware and software upgrades. Among these are a high-density storage expansion tray that doubles capacity to 48 TB and a dynamic provisioning software stack that provides thin-provisioning capabilities for improved utilization. The system also features 8 G Fibre Channel and enhanced data protection for Tier 1 applications.
Adding higher-level capabilities to low-cost storage serves two purposes. It makes them more attractive to the small and mid-sized firms, many of which have just as great a need for the flexibility and virtual enhancements that larger firms take for granted, and it provides a quick solution for those same larger organizations looking to buttress their existing storage infrastructures.
Either way, it's likely that mid-level storage will continue to see higher-end solutions trickling down, which could mean advanced cloud capabilities before too long.