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• Secondly, the business model. Simply put – can you make more money, or save costs because of these new
technologies? This can be taken a step further to can you use these technologies better and faster than your competitors to gain an advantage? and
• Thirdly, the value shift. Does the disruptive technology cause a change in the flow of value? Value shifts with a new entrant
who is able to tap into this new technology and shifts the power from one player to another – the online gaming industry is just one example of such a shift
A disruptive technology that meets all three of these drivers is likely to be a success!
Q For example, is the virtualisation message now mature and embraced by all?
A It would seem that the use of virtual technologies, certainly within the data centre – server, storage and IO virtualisation
– have taken off over the past year proving that virtualisation has finally past the point where it was used in testing and development roles and has now become a largely accepted mature market.
Virtualisation is now critical to many strategic goals of IT, including IT cost reduction, data centre consolidation, architecture rationalisation and the migrations from physical to logical that currently culminates in cloud computing.
The underlying technology of virtualisation has however been evolutionary in nature not revolutionary – it represents decades of progress from the mainframe to unix and distributed computing platforms. It’s impact is now increasingly visible to end users with virtual desktops finally gaining traction, allowing users to configure machines across locations and devices – this is a compelling story for a concept more than 40 years old.
That said it has still not been fully embraced by all, only the very few have moved from tactical server or storage virtualisation to strategic higher-order virtualisations such as operations, facilities, business functions and IT cost reduction. By far the biggest obstacles we see to such adoptions are organisational in the realignment of technical resource and a fundamental shift in responsibilities.
Q And what about Ethernet as the common network protocol in the future?
A Networks are the essential part of any modern data centre and they must deliver reliability, availability and high performance.
Ethernet is the most widely deployed networking technology today but can it evolve to help data centres improve their cost effectiveness and meet the demands of next generation technologies? It is likely that enhancements will be made to the Ethernet standard to ensure it keeps pace with other technology developments. We have seen some of these already with 40Gps and 100Gps, and FCoE and I’m sure more developments will emerge to ensure Ethernet will prevail long into in the future.
Q Also, servers and storage are moving closer together, is this something for which S3 has a strategy?
I October/November 2011
A Many vendors have had the idea of bringing stored data closer to the server to reduce network latency and get faster access to data. In addition
many vendors have considered alternative ways of getting much faster data access by putting loads of flash memory into servers or provide flash arrays directly to the server, such as Fusion-io, Violin Memory or ID7. All of these vendors are tried and tested and by concentrating on storage and server performance they have forced the time when connectivity of these components is the strain. By virtualising all of these components such as Pivot 3 it has also made them resilient and highly mobile but has now moved the bottleneck to one of connectivity and bandwidth in order to get the most from the box. At S3 we have been working together with IO virtualisation vendors such as Xsigo to help end users overcome these problems.
One could almost see the next generation for disruptive technology would be the server, storage and network in a single unified box! You read it here first!
Q Bearing in mind that most end users start with a legacy environment - what are the first, essential steps on the journey to
creating a flexible ICT environment?
A Audit, audit, audit – it is essential that you know what you have before you embark on planning a route forward.
Q In summary, what is the value-add that S3 and its partners can bring to end users - whether it be in specific industry sectors, or
A The key corner stone to our success over the past 20+ years has been our independence and niche specialist knowledge – we
pride ourselves on delivering the right solution for the customer. Being able to offer a wide range of products and services from leading vendors and emerging manufacturers gives S3 the best possible chance to meet the end users data centre and information management requirements at the best possible price. Whilst we may be small and perfectly formed we are also small and flexible.
The British Library To ensure it meets the requirements of the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003, the British Library has set up the Digital Object Management (DOM) Programme, whose mission is to enable the UK to preserve and use its digital output in perpetuity. According to the library’s technical analyst Paul Wooler, it is difficult to predict the scope of the project, but it is planning for up to 300TB of digital material during the next five years, although its storage sub-systems have been designed to accommodate much larger quantities. In tandem with the DOM Programme, and feeding directly into it, is a large-scale partnership project with funding from Microsoft to digitise approximately a hundred thousand historical books, which will be made available worldwide via MSN through a new feature called Live Search Books.Th
e British Library and S3, entered into detailed discussions to establish the library’s precise needs and budget. As a result, the library has now standardised on Nexsan SATABeasts as its storage system of choice, with twelve currently in action, which includes six for the Microsoft digitisation and four for the DOM System. S3 has also provided the SAN fabric (Brocade switches/HBAs) and the replication software (Veritas Volume Replicator) required as part of the overall package.
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