Software-defined storage is the logical next step

As enterprises far and wide undergo digital transformations, the demand for better storage technologies has sky rocketed. Brocade’s Anuroop Gupta talks about the enterprises’ needs today and how newer technologies are redefining storage architectures.

Q: How have enterprise digital transformations impacted storage infrastructures?

A: With increased digitization, there is an accelerated demand for immediate access to information, forcing IT departments to focus on modernizing their core IT infrastructures. Large and small businesses are increasingly moving to flash-based technologies to create faster, more responsive IT environments. Flash is more than raw performance – it’s being deployed in high capacity storage arrays supporting low latency applications in a shared data environment. NVMe over Fabrics is a new industry standard announced last year that dramatically reduces latency and eliminates the need for SCSI translation, by directly transferring NVMe commands and structures across an existing network. NVMe over Fabrics is poised to extend the low-latency efficient NVMe block storage protocol over fabrics to provide large-scale sharing of storage over distance. NVMe over Fabrics maintains the architecture and software consistency of the NVMe protocol across different fabric types, providing the benefits of NVMe regardless of the fabric type or the type of non-volatile memory used in the storage target.

Q: What are the latest global trends in storage networking industry?

A: The newest and most exciting storage advancement today is flash-based storage. The unprecedented speed and rapidly increasing cost-effectiveness of flash-based products are dramatically accelerating datacenter transformation. Ethernet storage not only helps customers maximize the ROI of existing investments, it also dramatically simplifies storage management. With the scalability to meet business and storage requirements, Ethernet can solve the challenges of rapid data growth by enabling a cost-effective storage solution that can support deployment and management as the storage network evolves.

[quote font=”tahoma” font_size=”13″ font_style=”italic” color=”#262626″ bgcolor=”#f2f2f2″]

“Flash will change the way companies do business by dramatically speeding application performance and improving efficiency.”

Anuroop Gupta
Country Manger- SAN Business
Brocade India


Software-defined storage (SDS) is the logical next step of the software defined data center. By employing SDS, organizations are able to separate and abstract storage elements, as well as combine storage elements and capabilities providing storage solutions/services. Data de-duplication will help reduce the time required to back up all the data and is relevant to large organizations that have similar kind of data being handled in various physical storage devices.

The other trend to be noted is that public cloud is often touted as a more scalable and cost-effective than on-premise solutions.  In 2016, as more enterprise IT departments wrestle with massive data workloads generated from corporate video marketing, virtualization and IoT, they will also turn to on-premise cloud storage to get the job done quickly and on-budget.

Q: How significant is the role of networks in storage? Can you elaborate?

A: Storage networks provide a centralized repository for digital data that can be accessed by many users, and they use high-speed connections to provide fast performance. The benefits of storage networking can include improved performance, reliability and availability. It can enable greater collaboration among workers, and it can simplify some IT management tasks. Storage networks also make it easier to back up data for compliance and disaster recovery purposes. In addition, they can free up valuable server CPU cycles for more important tasks. A storage network solution can protect company’s data from user error and malicious intent, theft, natural disasters and system failures. Storage network lets enterprise easily add new storage resources anywhere across the enterprise — one can plug in a new box or slot in new disks without ever powering down a server.  IP Storage network delivers predictable performance, provides security for storage data flows between data centers, contains failure domains, and maximizes uptime. These attributes are essential for managing growth, mitigating risk, and reducing costs.

Q: How is Fiber Channel innovation helping enterprises derive more value from their applications and infrastructure?

A: Fibre Channel is a viable and vibrant storage networking technology that has demonstrated its value over time, and is now the most widely deployed storage network infrastructure for virtualization, cloud, and mission-critical applications.  Fibre Channel is the most widely deployed storage networking infrastructure for server and storage virtualization.  In fact, Fibre Channel has been an integral part of every wave of storage advancement in the data center. Fibre Channel drives the world’s economies with the most trusted and widely deployed network infrastructure for storage. Thirty billion transactions go through Fibre Channel each day and 96 percent of the world’s banks, airlines and retailers rely on Fibre Channel. FC may lack some reusability for networking purposes other than storage, and require in-house expertise, but the fact that FC was purpose-built for data storage, doesn’t drop data packets and offers Linux drivers that have been around for more than a decade. Fibre Channel has long been a prime choice for enterprises in need of a high-speed interconnect for SANs.

Q: What are the features of Brocade G610 switch and how does Brocade plan to target the market with Brocade G610 switch?

A: Brocade G610, a no-compromise storage switch for always-on connectivity to the all-flash data center. The Brocade G610 is an entry-level switch designed for a variety of environments ranging from small shared storage fabrics to network edge deployments in data centers. This breakthrough switch leverages the power of Brocade Gen 6 Fibre Channel technology, providing up to 32 Gbps performance, unmatched simplicity and enterprise-class functionality that helps organizations adapt to dynamic workloads and new demands for always-on business operations. To support their ever-evolving storage environments, organizations can start with eight ports and grow on demand with up to 24 ports per switch. In addition, the Brocade G610 switch is easy to use and install, with a point-and-click user interface that simplifies deployment to save time.

Q: What is your advice to CIOs looking to advance their storage infrastructure to enable enterprise-wide digitization?

A: Today’s flash technology, coupled with the trend to virtualize servers, is changing the way storage is designed into systems. The good news is that flash-based storage is evolving rapidly and getting much faster. Flash will change the way companies do business by dramatically speeding application performance and improving efficiency. The speed of flash is critical to accelerating application performance and throughput. To deliver the speed of these new flash devices, non-volatile memory express (NVMe) is emerging as a new storage protocol that will drive massive performance gains. NVMe is brand new protocol designed specifically for the needs of higher core, faster processors that run the latest generation of high-speed applications, while unlocking the latent value of faster storage media such as NAND flash SSDs.  NVMe was built explicitly for flash which provides both flexibility and compatibility, while removing complexity, overhead, and latency. Benefits of NVMe-based storage drives include lower latency, additional parallel requests, and higher performance.

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