bring all these different sources into a
comprehensive storage management
policy. Storage has gotten so cheap; it’s
in everything around us. It’s very easy
to store bits in lots of places that may
be hard to incorporate as part of an integrated system.
steVe Kleiman: There’s not just one
answer to these problems. Look at
what happens in the virus scanning
world. It’s very much a belt and suspenders approach. They do it on laptops, on storage system, in networks,
and on gateways. It’s a hard problem,
no doubt about it.
There are a variety of technologies
for outsourcing markets, such as China
and India, where people who are working on a particular piece of source code
for a particular company are restricted
from copying that source code in any
way, shape, or form. The software disables that.
Similar things are possible for the
information proliferation issues we
have been talking about. All these types
of solutions have pros and cons and
depend on what cost you are willing to
pay. This is not just a technological issue or a storage issue; it’s a policy issue
that also includes management and legal issues.
eRic BReWeR: In some ways it’s a triumph of the storage industry that we
have moved from the main concern
being how to store stuff to trying to
manage the semantics of what we’re
mache cReeGeR: Again, from the storage manager’s standpoint, what is he
to do? What should he be doing in the
next 18 to 24 months?
steVe Kleiman: Today people are saving a lot of time, money, and energy
doing server virtualization and storage
virtualization. Those two combined are
very powerful and I think that’s the next
two, three, or four years right there.
GReG GanGeR: And the products are
available now. Multiple people over the
course of time have talked about snapshots. If you’re running a decent-sized
IT operation, you should make sure
that your servers have the capability of
eRic BRe WeR: On the security side, encryption. Sometimes there are limited
areas where you can do the right kind
of key management and hierarchies,
but encryption is an established way
in the storage realm to begin to protect
the data in a comprehensive way.
ma RGo seltze R: Backup, archival, and
disaster recovery are all vital functions,
but they’re different functions and you
should actually think carefully about
what you’re doing and make sure that
you’re doing all three.
GReG GanGeR: Your choice for what
you’re doing for any one of the three
might be to do nothing, but it should
be an explicit choice, not an implicit
eRiK RieDel: And the other way
around. When we’re talking about en-
ergy efficiency, being efficient about
copies, and not allowing things to leak,
then you want to think explicitly about
why you are making another copy.
eRic BReWeR: And which copies do
you really not want to lose? I differen-
tiate between master copies, which are
the ones that are going to survive, and
cache copies, which are ones that are
GReG GanGeR: For example, if you’re
running an organization that does
software development, the repository,
CVS, SVN—whatever it is that you’re
using—is much more important than
the individual copies checked out to
each of the developers.
eRic BReWeR: It’s the master copy.
You’ve got to treat it differently. No one
can weaken your master copy.
mache cReeGeR: I know that the first
CAD systems were developed for and by
computer people. They did them for IC
chip and printed circuit board design
and then branched out to lots of other
Is the CVS main development tree
approach going to be applicable to lots
of different businesses and areas for
storage problems or do you think the
paradigm will be substantially different?
GReG GanGeR: It will absolutely be relevant to lots of areas.
eRic BReWeR: I think most systems
have cache copies and master copies.
GReG GanGeR: In fact, all of these
portable devices are fundamentally
instances of taking cached copies of
eRic BRe WeR: Any device you could
lose ought to contain only cache copies.
maRGo seltzeR: Right, but the reality
of the situation is that there are a lot of
portable devices you can lose that are
the real copy. We’ve all known people
who’ve lost their cell phone and with
it, every bit of contact information in
GReG GanGeR: They have learned an
important lesson and it never happens
to them again.
maRGo seltzeR: No, they do it over
and over again, because then they send
mail out to their Facebook networks
that says “send me your contact information.”
mache cReeGeR: They rebuild from
eRic BReWeR: The periphery is the
master copy; that’s exactly right.
mache cReeGeR: We’ve talked about
security and storage infrastructure.
We’ve touched on copyright, archival,
and talked a lot about energy. We’ve
talked about various architectures and
argued passionately back and forth between repositories and the free cloud
Storage managers have a huge challenge. They don’t have the luxury of
taking the long view of seeing all these
tectonic forces moving. They have to
make a stand today. They’ve got a fire
hose of information coming at them
and they have to somehow structure
it to justify their job. They have to do
all of this, with no thanks or gratitude
from management, because storage is
supposedly a utility. Like the lights and
the plumbing, it should just work.
steVe Kleiman: They have a political problem as well. The SAN group
will not talk to the networking group.
The backup group is scared that their
jobs are going to go away. Looking at
the convergence of technologies, even
for something simple like FCoE (Fibre
Channel over Ethernet), the SAN Fibre
Channel people are circling the wagons.
mache cReeGeR: Or iSCSI over 10 giga-bit Ethernet.
steVe Kleiman: Absolutely. There are
a lot of technical issues in there, but
there are very serious people and political issues as well.
Mache Creeger ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a longtime
technology industry veteran based in Silicon Valley.
Along with being a columnist for ACM Queue, he is the
principal of Emergent Technology Associates, marketing
and business development consultants to technology