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Chris Evans

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Top Stories by Chris Evans

In the first wave of solid-state storage arrays, we saw commodity style SSDs (solid state drives) being added to traditional storage arrays. This solution provided an incremental benefit in performance over spinning hard drives, however the back-end technology in these arrays was developed up to 20 years ago and was purely focused around driving performance out of the slowest part of the infrastructure – the hard drive.  Of course SSDs are an order of magnitude faster than HDDs so you can pretty much guarantee SSDs in traditional arrays results in underused resources, but is premium priced. Wave 2 of SSD arrays saw the development of custom hardware, mostly still continuing to use commodity SSDs.  At this point we saw full exploitation of the solid state capabilities, with architecture designed to provide the full performance capabilities of solid state drives.  Thes... (more)

How Often Should You Check Your Backups?

We are regularly told that checking our own bodies for signs of change is a good thing.  Early diagnosis of disease gives more of a fighting chance of curing the problem.  So, in the IT world, where we assume all of our backups have been taken successfully, how often should we be checking the results and ensuring the backup will work on the fateful day we need to do a restore?  This question was posed by Federica Monsone on Twitter this week.  Here’s an attempt to provide an answer. First of all, let’s consider the whole point of taking backups.  Excluding the inappropriate use ... (more)

Storage in Cloud Is Not the Center of the Universe

In a previous post, I touched on the need to have APIs for managing storage in cloud environments.  In this post, I’ll talk about how the way in which storage is deployed in cloud environments has to change. For the last 10 years, the advent of Storage Area Networks (SANs) has created a storage-centric view of the world with storage at the centre and the “planets” – networking and servers – wrapped around it like some pre-Copernican view of the universe.  Over time, SANs have evolved to be ever bigger, with some organisations deploying huge fibre channel fabrics.  As we’ve seen ... (more)

Managing Risk in IT

The IT debacle at RBS has highlighted the dependency large financial organisations (and other companies) have on their IT infrastructure.  From what has leaked out into the press, the RBS issue relates to a piece of software called CA-7, used for mainframe batch job scheduling. When I first started in IT in 1987, CA-7 (and it’s sister product CA-1, used for tape management) were already legacy technology.  From memory, I believe CA acquired the products from another company; both had archaic configuration processes and poor documentation.  However they did work and were reasonabl... (more)

The Cyclical Nature of Storage

Perhaps I should have entitled this post “The Cyclical Nature of IT” because the same principles apply. Over time, storage moves back and forth between fully dispersed and fully centralized like a sine wave on an oscilloscope. The Evidence Look at the evidence.  In the 1950′s and 1960′s there was no choice but to be centralized. All we had was mainframe and dumb disk drives.  Storage needed a controller the size of a fridge to work and so was never going to be distributed to the masses any time soon. Then in the late 1970s, in comes Al Shugart and Seagate, giving us the first d... (more)