Holy schmoly, someone in the storage industry did something new. Geoff Arnold from Speaking in Clouds writes:
Yesterday Seagate introduced its Kinetic Open Storage Platform, and I’m simply blown away by it. It’s a truly elegant design, “as simple as possible, but no simpler”. The physical interconnect to the disk drive is now Ethernet. The interface is a simple key-value object oriented access scheme, implemented using Google Protocol Buffers. It supports key-based CRUD (create, read, update and delete); it also implements third-party transfers (“transfer the objects with keys X, Y and Z to the drive with IP address 220.127.116.11”). Configuration is based on DHCP, and everything can be authenticated and encrypted. The system supports a variety of key schemas to make it easy for various storage services to shard the data across multiple drives.
Put an Ethernet port directly onto the hard disk drive controller sounds obvious unless you work in the storage industry where shibboleths are notoriously difficult to abandon. EMC and NetApp are still building arrays that use Infiniband and FiberChannel as backplane protocols and selling them as “modern”. But the possible uses of an Ethernet connected hard drive are many and varied:
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this means we’ll see thousand upon thousands of individual smart disks on the data center LANs. That’s not the goal. (Or I don’t think it is.) EMC or NetApp can still use these drives to build big honking storage arrays, if they want to. The difference is that they have much more freedom in designing the internals of those arrays, because they don’t have to use one kind of (severely constrained) technology for one kind of traffic (disk data) and a completely different kind of technology for their internal HA traffic. They’re free to develop new kinds of internal topologies based on Ethernet, and to implement their services more efficiently using the Kinetic API.
No doubt the backward looking folks are thinking that this could never work and planning it’s downfall. Ultimately they will have to abandon legacy technology and move forward. Good chance that this is could be one of them.
Some companies rehosted their application protocols on top of TCP/IP (I’m ashamed to say that my name is on the RFCs for NetBIOS-over-TCP), but most disappeared or pivoted away, like Novell.
No beers for Geoff now I know this.
PS Shibboleth – a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, especially a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important: