Another week, another trip …

January 30, 2015

Just finishing up a week in India (Bangalore this time around), and once again I’ve been nothing but impressed at the rapid rate of growth and development in this country. The IT industry is booming over here, and the Indian IT industry is charging ahead with software and hardware solutions that match anything I’ve seen in my travels.

On top of that they are the most friendly and welcoming people I know, which makes a week away from home a little less painful (when you feel so welcome).

Many colleagues in the industry have a somewhat biased view of different country’s IT lifecycle and development … and always seem to put the US at the top of the tree … thinking they are the innovators and leaders in this industry. While that may be true to some extent, when you visit a customer in a small building in downtown Bangalore, to find they are developing Petabyte-capable systems using their own innovative software and are implementing our new Flashtec acceleration devices (http://pmcs.com/products/storage/flashtec_nvram_drives/), you realise that looks count for little, and that maybe, just maybe, there are some brilliant minds in other parts of the world who are leading the charge in Cloud infrastructure development and performance, and it’s not just the big wigs in the fancy offices in the US who are moving us in the right direction.

Can’t wait to be back here in 3 months to see how much has changed again.

Of course, we just flogged them at cricket so it’s always an easier trip when my side is winning :-)

Ciao
N

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Discrepancies …

January 29, 2015

I’m back in India talking to customers about RAID and HBA products (what’s new), however had a bit of an eye-opener yesterday.

We were discussing the uptake of SSD, and how in my opinion they should be wiping out the 15K SAS HDD market due to pricing and performance advantages.

What? Pricing advantage? (that came from the customer I was talking to). Suppose I should have checked my facts before opening my mouth (bad habit), but I was working on the basis of what I see in Australia … that SSDs are price competitive with SAS hard drives, and are in fact pretty much wiping out the 15K SAS HDD market (and hurting 10K SAS HDD pretty badly as well).

But in India, just as in China, the problem here is price. It’s not that the SSDs are drastically expensive, it’s more like the fact that SAS HDD seem to be far cheaper than they are at home. So they still hold a good price advantage of SSD, and that’s keeping the SAS HDD in the marketplace longer than it should be (imho).

However, even though they are cheaper to buy, with the power consumption and heat generation of SAS HDD being a major problem in Indian datacenters, there is still room for discussion regarding the TCO of using SSD in place of SAS HDD.

It just makes me wonder what the drive vendors are up to … are they (a) ripping us off in Australia with high prices on SAS HDD, or (b) dumping older technology drives into the growing marketplaces to keep their profit margins high? Now that sounds cynical, and I could never be accused of being that, but I can see this as a barrier to developing high-performance datacenters in this country.

India’s IT marketing is growing at a phenomenal rate. No idea what Gartner and the lads are saying officially, but with the excitement in the country generated by the new Prime Minister (Mr Modi), the country is on a high and is booming in infrastructure, along with IT and software.

Shame that they are struggling with the same major move to SSD like a lot of other regions are doing (due to price that is).

Ciao
N

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But I don’t want a 12Gb controller! …

January 21, 2015

I hear this all the time. Adaptec makes two series of cards that are very similar in function and nature … take, for instance, the 6Gb/sec 7805 and the 12Gb/sec 8805. Both are 8 port fully-featured RAID cards – but one is 6Gb (Series 7) vs the other at 12Gb/sec (Series 8).

Now most drives on the market today are 6Gb/sec, so buyers go looking for 6Gb/sec cards to fulfill their needs. When I point out that the 8805 is slightly cheaper than the 7805 (apart from the one dodgy seller on Amazon who is promoting this card $10 cheaper than we sell it to the market for – complete with the wrong picture) then it starts to get people’s attention … but they still come back to me and say “but I don’t want a 12Gb controller!”

So … with our 8805 (12Gb/sec) controller, if you plug 12Gb SAS SSD into it then it’s a 12Gb controller … but if you only plug 6Gb/sec drives into it then it’s a ??? controller? You guessed it … the speed of the drives dictate the connection speed so in effect the 8805 works as a 6Gb controller.

Function is the same, and IOP performance is far greater than the 7 series controller – for slightly less price, but guess what I still hear???…

“I don’t want a 12Gb controller!”

It gives me the irits sometimes to try and understand the mentality of people who are blinded by the numbers on the box, and don’t think about “what is right for the system (or their customer)” … they just go off the numbers because that’s what they know.

So is it a problem to have a faster card than you really need? Is it ever a problem to have something fast? Only if it costs an arm and a leg … and the 8805 doesn’t.

So when looking at 8 port controllers, especially when SSD are involved, take the blinkers off and look at the 8805 … you might just come out in front.

Ciao
N

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Meet the twins … (or the world according to Neil)

January 15, 2015

Adaptec “Q” cards have been around in a few variants for quite a few years now, and we have quite a few devotee customers who think this technology is the ducks guts. So I think it’s time to introduce our two newest, and only required, “Q” twins … this of course doesn’t change our official card names in any way shape or form – it’s just my personal way of naming things for easy reference…

Qi and Qie

No, they are not my Chinese cousins, they are in fact the 81605ZQ and 8885Q cards respectively.

Qi = 81605ZQ

Qie = 8885Q

So why the names? Basically because I’m Australian and we tend to give nicknames to everything. In fact I’m so bad at this that I have a habit of forgetting people’s real names and only remembering their nicknames. This can get embarrassing because some of the nicknames I give people and things should never be repeated to those individuals :-)

Anyway, back to the subject. In reality I believe the only two “Q” cards you need to consider are these two 8 series products. Pricing wise they are the right cards to buy. Performance wise they are the right cards to buy. Feature wise they are the right cards to buy. In fact, imho they are the only “Q” cards you need to consider. So let’s look at my logic …

Qi (the “i” stands for “internal” and therefore of course the “e” stands for “external”). If you are looking to improve the performance of your storage system on drives internal to the server, then this card fulfills all your requirements. If you have an 8-bay server then fill it up with big hard drives. You can fit SSDs just about anywhere in your server … there are even adapters that let you put ssds into the place of slimline CDROMs (which are not required any more in servers as you can install your OS from USB stick). So basically you can treat the card a 10-drive adapter (8 x hdd in hot swap and 1 or 2 SSD anywhere in the server).

Of course, if you have a 16-bay server then this card can also cope with that many drives directly. So who cares if it has more ports than you need – the price/performance/function is right.

If you are going outside the server to JBODs then the Qie is the right card as it lets you do such crazy things as fill your head unit up with SSD, and attach lots and lots of HDD in the JBODs … the drive combinations for your caching or tiering requirements are pretty much endless with this card.

So meet the twin … Qi and Qie … they are worth getting to know. In reality I’m sick of trying to roll 81605ZQ/8885Q quickly off the tongue … Qi/Qie is much easier to say :-)

As an aside, Australian’s have a weird sense of humour (and spell using the Queen’s English, which this spell-checker is having problems with). We tend to speak to one another in derogatory terms and use nicknames/slang to the point where most people don’t understand a word we are saying. So, to the American lad (won’t use the Australian slang for Americans here as it can be construed in way too many ways), I’ll have this to say:

“Australia and America are two countries separated by a common language!”

Ciao
N

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