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2008: Decision Year for RIAs - October 20-22, 2008 San Jose

Seagate's New Drive Interface: Ethernet
Dreams of many of us are becoming reality with this technology.

The introduction of new storage architecture by Seagate, which turns the disk drives into cloud storage servers, is considered as the starting point of the end of an era of SANs, the old storage networks, which are being used since long.

Though the old storage networks are still in very much use but the facility provided by new technology of Ethernet that directly connect the storage networks with disk drive had opened new ways for their users.

The Kinetic Open Storage Platform introduced by this new technology had turned the hard disks into servers by using open application interface to deliver data to the applications over the network. A combination of a network interface and an open programming interface and intelligence installed in the storage device is the basis of the Kinetic platform in this new approach.

This new technology is developed especially for the companies which were looking for some technique for their data centers which can be used to connect them with the service providers like Amazon that provide them of cloud storage facilities.

Though Seagate had used the architectural approach of evolution of work already used by FaceBook and Google, big names in cloud storage, but it had changed the use of the technique of cloud storage as a commodity. This change in use of the technology will change the attitude of big or small businesses towards the use of networked storage options.

Especially while moving their applications built on Amazon or other cloud storage platforms within their security system or using latest software developments for building their applications they can use this new approach.

The key-value approach established by the distributed file system of Google is used in the Seagate’s Kinetic Open Storage Platform. The data stored in storage devices is exposed similarly as objects that summarize the stored data into physical blocks without the visual projection of the directory structure of the file system. This approach will allow you to manipulate the data through applications by simply sending the request to the storage system for 'get’, 'put’ and 'delete’, without going through the storage drivers of the operating system.

This new approach will allow the users to scale up their storage systems by avoiding to attach the files and adding more disks without remapping the storage blocks or recreating the structure of the directory. The operating costs associated with SANs, traditional storage area networks, due to calling the system to read and write on disks that consumes large amount of the bandwidth of the network, can also be eliminated in this Seagate’s cloud storage system.

Removal of middle man

Removal of middle man

Though same sort of interface, as used by big data’ systems and NoSQL, is used by Amazon for providing cloud storage platform to its clients but the pair based system used by it that rely on servers to manage data by running atop the operating system are its other key-value.

The interference of servers has been entirely eliminated in this Kinetic approach as t allows the storage devices to manage the data efficiently. Replication or movement of data can be handled by the key-value management logic of each SSD or Kinetic drive after mutual communication. A number of APIs used in Kinetic Open Storage Platform introduced by Seagate will allow the users to handle access and management of data effectively as compared to the operating system stacks and the traditional networks. Developers can now control these storage systems as an open source with the help of the application library Seagate is planning to publish.

Other cloud storage providers had found it beneficial to use storage devices as an effective cloud application for moving intelligence. Similar storage model has been developed by FaceBook for its data centers known as Open Vault storage nodes by using a micro server’.

The Kinetic Open Storage Platform introduced by Seagate is the first to use it as a commercial product. But you can not end the journey at this point as researches in this direction are still on. Though there is no danger of extinction of the traditional storage area networks, SANs, but the increasing popularity of Kinetic open storage platform is attracting large as well as small businesses to it.

Not only big data centers are anxious to develop their internal cloud storage platforms with the help of Kinetic, without joining Microsoft or Amazon, but small organizations are also becoming interested in this concept.

Data centers would most certainly benefit from this new technology but having in mind that these days security is of utmost importance and we all know networking stack is pretty much still vulnerable (seems by design) I wonder how this would affect technologies usage in ultra-secure environments, like those providing data centre services to governments (eg. Macquarie’s Intellicenter 4 bunker) as if proven vulnerable it may pose serious threat not only to company but to national security as well.

Seems that IBM learned this hard way as CIA pronounced them to be of “high security risk” during recent Amazon/IBM bid to provide CIA/US Government with cloud services for their operations.

Benefit of Ethernet: Seagate’s new cloud storage concept
The use of Ethernet, the Seagate’s concept of cloud storage platform through his Kinetic Open Storage system, to allow multiple computers to communicate with each other in a very simple manner is its first benefit. The data frames can be transmitted by any computer which will be received by multiple computers through this network without disturbing others. All the receiving computers can process the frames after matching the destination addresses given on the frames.

Secondly, Ethernet can be used as switching and bridging device to divide the network into separate collision domains. Computers connected to switches can buffer and forward the Ethernet frames as per their requirements.

Thirdly, the high speed of Ethernet allows the businesses to manipulate their data at lower cost. Ethernet is now available at a very low cost with higher speeds including 1 GB, 10 GB, 100 GB and Terabit. Most of the manufacturers are using Ethernet as a universal standard.

You can use multiple protocols on a single wire with the help of Ethernet. The cloud storage facility provided by Seagate’s Kinetic Open Storage system allows multiple protocols to use Ethernet along with commonly used IP. It allows high speed connections among various computers at the same time.

The use of fiber optic cables for Ethernet had eliminated the limitations of distances for communicating data. Earlier the range of Ethernet was limited to 2.5 km which had limited the speed of communication. But with the introduction of switching for full duplex communication the limitation of distances has been removed effectively.

Thus the introduction of Seagate’s cloud storage concept of Ethernet had made revolutionary changes in the field of communication.


About Chris Pentago
Chris Pentago is an experienced web developer/designer and computer geek interested in key IT to make your online business perform. During his career he has worked for some of the biggest Australian brands.

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