Storage Optimization

Solving Cornell’s Storage Problems

Posted in Storage by storageoptimization on February 5, 2009
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Great news for Ocarina Networks today — we’re working with the Cornell Center for Advanced Computing (CAC) and DataDirect Networks (DDN) to perform extensive data compression testing on a diverse array of research applications. The goal here is address a problem they (and so many other research institutions) are facing — the exponential growth of online data and complex file types that have to be stored in such a way that they’re readily accessible.

For Cornell, one of their biggest pain points was storage of genomics files. Genomics research is accelerating at a dizzying rate, and it turns out to be a very image intensive research area. Here’s one way to think about it: when J. Craig Venter and his team first sequenced the human genome, it took up 2GB of storage. Nowadays, a single molecular sequence can generate 100GB of data per HOUR. That’s not to say that all of it needs to be stored every time, but you get the idea. In fact, all around the world, genome sequencers are spitting out files as they race to find cures for life-threatening diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. If they don’t get storage under control, the pace of genomic research could actually be slowed.

For more on our work with Cornell and DataDirect Networks, go here. And if you’re interested in getting the full download on Ocarina’s work with life sciences storage, go to this page for access to a white paper, “Coping with the Explosion of Data in Life Sciences Research.”


Economic Woes and Storage

Posted in Storage by storageoptimization on October 6, 2008
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Every major business magazine has a cover story this week on the economic turmoil that’s gripping the credit markets, Wall Street, and the rest of us. Every one, that is, except Forbes, which chose to put John Chambers, CEO of Cisco on its cover this week. No doubt, some editors over there are wishing they’d made a different choice at this moment–but leaving that aside, in some ways this story says more about the economy than any of the others.

Cisco, the article demonstrates, has jumped in with both feet into the area with the greatest promise: data centers. This unglamorous chunk of reality that underlies all the fun and fancy Web 2.0 that, for now, is keeping Silicon Valley from tanking along with the rest of the economy. (Unless you believe the NYT, of course.)

To quote the Forbes article: “This is what the online computing revolution has become, a giant electricity hog of Internet searches, phone calls, blog posts, wireless downloads, bank transactions and office documents. And video, lots and lots of video. ” The article also includes a chart comparing new server spending v. power and cooling costs.

All of which leads us to the inexorable conclusion–which TechTarget’s Dave Raffo refers to in a recent post–that one of the few places that is sheltered from the current storm is anything that reduces the cost of storage. So yes, storage optimization is the place to be in today’s tough economic climate. But the main point is that it could help keep lots of companies afloat that might otherwise crumple under the weight of their storage costs.

What’s Hot in Storage — Spending Less

Posted in Featured,Storage by storageoptimization on July 18, 2008
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Byte & Switch has once again released its “Top 10 Storage Startups to Watch” for 2008, and it’s definitely worth a read. My company Ocarina Networks was on that same list last year, and so I can say with confidence that they got it right at least once before. 

As reflected in this year’s list, data reduction technologies continue to be hot. Makes sense in a down economy that anything that increases capacity will continue to get budget dollars. As we’re finding, dollars for stuff like Ocarina is already there in every data center’s budget – it’s just listed as disk expense. We’re not only ahead of our revenue goals for our storage optimization product launched in April, but we’re having to triple the size of our sales force to keep up with demand. 

If you have planned to buy 100 TB of disk, and can spend half as much for an optimization solution that shrinks your files that means you don’t have to buy any disk at all. A win all the way around. While Ocarina started out with wins in large web sites – where the fastest year-to-year storage growth is taking place – we’re now seeing installs in life sciences, energy, movie studios, and finance.  

The chief takeaway from what I’ve seen: some nice-to-have new technologies may be facing a tough summer with an economic downturn, but data reduction scores high on both saving money and green IT, and is likely to stay strong, or maybe even move up in priority, during a down cycle in storage spending.