Hu Yoshida

Infrastructure Technologies Drive Efficiencies in 2016

Blog Post created by Hu Yoshida Employee on Dec 14, 2015

2016 will be focused on applications and analytics, and time to market will be key to competitive advantage.  Here are three infrastructure technologies, which will enhance time to market through greater efficiency and speed.  This is an expansion to my Trends for 2016, which was published on November 30.




Trend 5: Converged Solutions Replace Reference Architectures


Instead of providing reference architectures detailing best practices for application enablement, vendors will begin to deliver these best practices as templates implemented through converged solutions. The converged infrastructure offers a more evolved platform for deriving greater cost efficiencies and timesavings by allowing IT resources to be managed more cohesively.


While there are some concerns about converged solutions, Hitachi offers a converged solution that overcomes many of these concerns. The first concern is about fixed configurations that are difficult to scale and adapt to changing business requirements. Hitachi’s  Unified Compute Platform  (UCP) does not come in fixed configurations, which require a forklift upgrade. Hitachi UCP consists of a portfolio of fully integrated, pre-validated family of enterprise-class server, storage, networking, virtualization, and management software for a wide range of IT workloads and distributed environments. The UCP can scale logically as well as physically. Logically through the implementation of Logical Partitions, Symmetric Multiprocessing and virtualization of external storage, or physically through the addition of compute blades, network blades or storage modules. Other concerns around lack of component choice, and consolidated support, are addressed through UCP’s use of virtualization and open API’s. UCP provides an end-to-end management tool optimized to provide a single software-defined view of a converged, virtualized data center, enabling centralized management that simplifies monitoring, provisioning, and protection while meeting critical efficiency and performance objectives.


Increasing awareness of cloud benefits is driving business stakeholders to demand cloud-like benefits in enterprise IT through the adoption of converged solutions. IDC estimates that converged solutions will reach $17.8B by 2016.



Trend 6: In-memory Databases Gain Traction

The move to in-memory databases like SAP HANA and cluster computing frameworks like Apache Spark, which allow user programs to load data into a cluster’s memory for repeated queries, will gather momentum as faster reporting and analysis deliver a clear competitive advantage in today’s real-time business environment. Developments such as the consolidation of SAP’s business suite onto the HANA in-memory database with S/4 HANA reduces up to 40% of the IT load for SAP by eliminating the aggregates, redundancies, data exchanges between systems such as CRM and ERP. In addition, converged solutions like UCP, which are preconfigured and certified for SAP and cloud service providers like Oxya, will help simplify IT and facilitate this migration.


An exciting new SAP software solution, SAP HANA Vora, will make it possible to extend in-memory computing to distributed data, and allow companies to combine batch processed system data like Hadoop with structured data from SAP HANA. This plugin - as SAP calls it - can be easily integrated with Apache’s Spark, the multi-stage in-memory solution. A cache layer retrieves the data from the Hadoop file system and transforms it into in-memory data for joining with HANA data without the data being moved from the source systems.  Visit our HDS Community to see how we will support SAP HANA Vora.


Trend 7: Flash Devices Begin To Replace High Performance Disks

The availability of multi-terabyte flash devices will enable flash to compete with high-performance 15K RPM disk drives on a capacity-cost basis. As a result, the majority of storage systems delivered in 2016 will contain a percentage of flash to boost response times and reduce the cost of managing storage performance.



The new 6.4TB Flash Module Device from Hitachi Data Systems Compared to the high performance 15K RPM Hard Disk Drive, the new 6.4TB FMD is 28% lower in cost than 15K RPM disks when you include the 5 year cost of environmentals and maintenance even at a 1:1 compression ration. At a 2:1 compression ration the total costs are even lower than 10K RPM HDDs. Since compression is done in the flash module, it is always on and does not impact performance. The amount of compression will depend on the workload. Notice that there is a significant savings in maintenance costs, since flash media does automating sparing within the media, while disk sparing requires sparing of drives which requires a RAID rebuild. Flash media provides logical mapping of data, which avoids the fragmentation of physical disk space as data is updated. The speed of flash media also helps to resolve a lot of performance and management issues, which are often hard to diagnose with HDDs.


While there is a huge install base of disk, the demise of the hard disk is eminent. Many people will refute this, given the continued existence of tape 60 years after the introduction of the disk drive.  I believe that the staying power of tape is due to several factors. Tape is cheaper to acquire, can be stored offline and the road map for tape densities is still following an aggressive growth curve. By contrast the HDD roadmap has flattened out and the only way to increase densities is to change the packaging by adding more disks and R/W heads, which adds cost and impacts performance.


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Current MLC flash technology enables Hitachi Data Systems to deliver a 6.4 TB flash module, comparable in capacity to a 6 TB hard disk but with orders of magnitude higher performance at a slightly higher cost. Flash technologies are beginning to scale up dramatically by going to 3D, stacking multiple layers of flash dies vertically.  At the last Flash Summit, Toshiba announced that they would be delivering a 16 TB SSD and projected a 128TB SSD by 2018 through the use of 3D flash technology. This goes way beyond what disk vendors will be able to deliver. Can you image having to buy 22 x 6TB disk drives to match one 128TB Flash module? Back in August when I blogged about these announcements at the Flash summit I still thought it was premature to say that the disk drive is dead. But now, four months later, I am ready to join the believers.


In my next post I will be expanding on the last three trends for 2016, which will include:


  1. Businesses Prepare For Next Gen Cloud
  2. IT Infrastructure Companies Will Be Disrupted
  3. IT Plays Leadership Role In The 3rd Platform