Enterprise Storage: The Age of PetaBytes

Highlights
  • With the need for efficient storage of data and resource-sharing,
    there is a paradigm shift from DAS to networked storage, and more and
    more customers prefer NAS or SAN
  • One of the keys to storage consolidation is storage networks
  • NAS and SAN have all management utilities, and plugs that allow them
    to be easily managed

Michael D Eisner, chairman and CEO, Walt Disney Company says
“The Internet needs content and it needs more of it every day. The fact is
that nobody signs up for the Internet due to the elegance of its Cisco routers.
Nobody logs on because of the Intel chip inside. No, they use the Internet in
ever-growing numbers because of the content. Right now that content is largely
information. But increasingly, it will also be entertainment”. This clearly
sums up the need for storage. And India would be no different. According to an
IDC report, the total storage market in the country was of the order of 1,041
TeraBytes (TB) in 2000. Meaning, we have already crossed the age of terabytes
and stepped in PetaBytes (PB). This has been one of the most significant
achievements, living in the world of PB shipments. In terms of revenue, the
Indian marketplace saw a spending of over Rs 607.7 crore. This is just the
beginning.

The Indian Market Place

More and more companies are spending money on storage. The IT budget for storage is about 40 to50 percent and is growing.

Binod Panda,
country manager, Apara Enterprise Solutions Pvt Ltd

There are two types of architectures–direct attached and
network attached. And they can be either modular or centralized. Believes Binod
Panda, country manager, Apara Enterprise Solutions Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, a company
that has been one of the earliest evangelists in the promotion of storage
solutions in the country, “Customers will still need a mix of these or
either one of these. Network attached modular storage is getting more popular
and will be the trend in future. We are seeing more and more customers
preferring networked storage. It’s either NAS or SAN, as customers are looking
at storage consolidation”. The spending pattern in the market in the
previous calendar year, confirms this. Though Direct Attached Storage (DAS)
accounted for the largest market share that is close to 70 percent, Storage Area
Networks (SANs) and Network Area Storage (NAS) solutions, finally, seemed to
have caught up with corporates. According to the IDC market findings, SANs and
NAS in 2000 accounted for Rs 50 crore approximately in value, and this is going
to go up considerably. IDC forecasts that while SANs will constitute for 49
percent of India’s external storage systems revenue in 2005, NAS will be 32
percent. And during the period 2000 to 2005, the Indian disk storage system
shipments are expected to grow at a CAGR of 95.2 percent to approximately 29.5
PB.

People are talking about iSCSI, storage over IP, Infiband, virtual interface, storage resource management, storage virtualization and finally, storage consolidation.

PK Gupta,
director of engineering, Legato Systems India

Storage is becoming very competitive. In fact, this market is
more competitive than the server market. There are more than ten players who are
offering their storage solutions in India and many more are eyeing the Indian
market. With the recession in US, almost everybody is trying to get in to the
Asian market, and India comes to mind first, for all of these players. Almost
all the major players, be it software or box pusher, have set shop in the
country. EMC, Hitachi, Quantum Snap Appliances, Tandberg, Veritas, Legato,
Seagate, Sanrise and many more are found here. The enterprise business is still
direct for most of the companies but to increase the focus and reach, many
vendors are working on a channel strategy. This is to ensure a complete
coverage. Says Louis Lye, business development manager, Asia-Pacific, Quantum
Snap Appliances, “Our focus is on sizing up the market, and we continue
using good partners to provide coverage and technical support”. Invariably,
this has been the trend on the overall strategy–partnering and extending good
technical support. At the same time, spreading awareness on network storage was
the focus. This is just the beginning.

Network Storage Awakening

Network Storage Awakening

In terms of storage, it is only in the last one year that the
Indian industry has begun to be educated on enterprise storage and its benefits.
Says Srinivasan, “Hitherto, only server-based storage held its ground,
which the more mature economies and markets have moved out of. Unless the
customer understands the benefit of storage infrastructure, they will continue
to invest in server-based storage. Also the need to examine storage from a total
cost of ownership aspect rather than just the cost of procurement, is a mindset
that will evolve quite soon”. With the need within enterprises for
efficient storage of data and resource-sharing, there is a paradigm shift from
direct-attached storage to networked storage, and more and more customers prefer
networked storage–be it either NAS or SAN. NAS seems to be popular wherever
there is a file-server requirement. “Moreover, heterogeneous platforms
demand a NAS solution, as it offers better price performance”, claims
Panda. Adarsh Holavanahalli, director, corporate architecture, Sanrise, adds,
“India is a marketplace where the customer wants to maximize his resources.
Though on-site facilities management is a growing trend, customers now prefer
one console, one software, one management for all–approach for everything in
IT including storage”.

The storage software market is expected to generate revenue of $5.3 billion by 2003, up from $2.1 billion in 1998. This represents an average growth 
of 19.4 percent per year through 2002.

T Srinivasan,
country manager, EMC India 

Storage architecture: Points out Khan, “DAS, NAS and
SAN, are the current storage technologies available in the market. DAS works for
small setups and becomes a management nightmare in larger setups. Storage gets
fragmented and islands of information on different servers make for either
under-use of capacity, or even worse, loss of application and/or performance.
Taking backups becomes arduous, time-consuming and costly. NAS is limited to
niche applications and is ideal for access applications. It is a file-level
consolidation and as far as it is used just for file storage and retrieval, as
opposed to transactional manipulation, it is a good solution. However, it has
some concern areas, such as lower performance levels, low data security and
susceptibility to hacker attacks. It may also reduce the performance of LAN to
which it might be attached in the absence of a separate segment for its usage.
SAN is ideal for most uses. It caters to medium and large enterprises, with
requirements of medium to high throughput and high levels of data integrity.
Deploying SAN systems can be slightly more complex and comparatively more
expensive as compared to NAS. However, the advantages in the long run outweigh
initial expenses in deploying a SAN.

PK Gupta, director of engineering, Legato Systems India Pvt
Ltd sums it as “People are talking about iSCSI, Storage over IP, Infiband,
Virtual Interface (VI), Storage Resource Management (SRM), storage
virtualization, and finally storage consolidation”.

He further adds a point of view from his top management in
Legato.

Indian customers spend about 2 cents on MB to manage data today. SAN adaptation is seeing a huge growth today. Disaster recovery is the second area where customers are spending, today.

Adarsh Holavanahalli,
director, Corporate Architecture, Sanrise. 

“If we look out next year, one of the critical areas
that users will deal with is consolidation. This is consolidation of storage,
servers and applications. They are going through this for a number of reasons.
They save costs because they reduce the amount of wasted storage and servers.
One of the keys to storage consolidation is storage networks.  I refer to
them as storage networks because I am not tying this specifically to SAN, which
implies fiber channel as the means to connect them. The storage will be
networked, but it will include NAS devices, SAN and new technologies, such as
Infiniband (being aggressively pushed by Intel) or SCSI over IP.  By having
networked storage, you have more freedom to use available space for the
appropriate server or application. The next step will be storage
virtualization. This means that all I need to do is request additional
storage for a server or application, and it will take it from the pool of
available storage on the network, the storage does not need to be in the same
file system, volume or even in the same disk enclosure. This will greatly
enhance the ability to allocate storage as needed, without the purchase of extra
TB of storage to have on hand.  There will also be a much less wasted
storage. Onto the next key area, which is management of storage.  Again,
for many of the reasons highlighted above and because it will take users a long
time to transition all of their environments to storage networks, and even
longer to get to virtualized storage, there is a strong need for tools known as
SRM. These tools help in determining storage capacity, such that you know
where you are, asset management, configuration management and many other
features important for knowing about what the state of your storage environment
(which may be attached to many servers) is.

In fact, SANs and NAS reduce storage management costs greatly.  They have all management utilities and plugs that allow them to be very easily managed.

Alvin Ow,
regional SE manager, Veritas Software Corp  

Finally, the other area that is critical is–information
availability.  I use the term information, as you need both your data and
application to be available.  There is more and more need for immediate or
at least, very fast recovery from a failure. As for data availability, you still
need tape backup in case of data corruption, but you also need the data to be
available online for rapid recovery.  It is managing this combination of
data protection schemes that will be critical over the next twelve to eighteen
months”.

Per MB spending to manage data: There are no concrete
responses. Says Khan, “It is difficult to say however, based on the
worldwide findings, a roundabout estimate in India would be of the total amount
a user spends in the first three years on their storage, just about 15 to 30
percent is accounted for by the initial solution cost, even in the most
expensive storage solutions”. Panda believes that cost varies from Rs 5 to
Rs 50 according to the storage subsystem. Once the storage capacity goes ?? the
‘per MB’ prices lowers. This is for ‘Disk Subsystem’. Adarsh
Holavanahalli feels Indian customers spend about 2 cents an MB to manage data
today.

The Myths and Realities: The most prominent myth that one
encounters is that storage subsystems are expensive but do not deliver the
functionalities. Affirms Khan, “SANs can cost a crore and often much more
than that, however today, SANs
start at Rs 7 lakh.”. Further, the solution providers allay the fears by
saying that there are a lot of R&D dollars that are spent to deliver the
best of solutions to customers. Most of the storage companies are focusing on a
lot of software solutions that deliver the functionality to the storage device.
Another myth is that new storage systems are very difficult to manage. “In
fact, SANs and NAS reduce storage management costs greatly. They have all the
management
utilities and plugs that allow them to be easily managed”, says Alvin Ow,
regional SE manager, Veritas Software Corp. (Refer management costs chart).

Chandrasekhar adds another dimension, “Clinging to legacy storage solutions
of backend, SCSI disk drives and front-end fiber channel is a myth, and
advocates that end-to-end switched fiber with three-dimensional scalability like
the T3 storage solution from Sun is a reality”. Khan points out to another
myth that bigger is better. Says Khan, “Several people still believe that
mainframes are the systems of choice for today and tomorrow, so do several
people that the bigger the storage system, the better. The fact of the matter is
that it is much better for any user, unless on mainframe systems, to go in for
modular storage systems that can grow with their needs. This way they can
benefit from newer and cheaper technologies in their growth phase “.

Key Segments That will Drive Storage

There are various key segments:

Vertical Segment

Key Dynamics

Banking and Finance

– A key segment which is cash rich

Telecom, ISP and IDC

– Major requirement but funding is a concern

Dept of Space

– Major requirement and budgets available

Government

– Major requirement but slower decisions

Media Companies

–  Huge requirements (video/audio)
Manufacturing – ERP/CRM strategies will demand more storage

The Issues: Avijit Basu of HP points out, “From the
backup point-of-view, it is how much data capacity, backup, and restore window,
existing network bandwidth, applications, frequency of backup, type of
backup-full, differential, incremental. Are they looking at backup
consolidation? Are they looking at backup over a network, consolidation? Are
they looking at automation in tape, etc?

From the data spread over the enterprise–Are you looking at
business continuity? Is outage a problem, your applications are
mission-critical, you cannot afford any downtime. Is managing data a problem?
The storage is distributed, no one knows where free storage is available. How
does one manage the growth from multiple physical devices from a single logical
management point? Is data so critical, you are looking at disaster-recovery
system? Is bandwidth an issue? Another big challenge is that the type of data is
changing from simple application like e-mail (text to rich media attachment), a
two hour normal NTSC video, 3D movie, a high-resolution color still photo or a
two-minute audio, occupy from 20 MB to a few TB.

Demand Drivers


The most important trend is an increased importance of complete solution in place of just the hardware.

Owais Khan,
business manager, enterprise storage, Compaq India
 

Various estimates place the growth of storage market to about
60 to 80 percent year on year. If true, where is the demand coming from? The
basic need to cope with data generation on a massive scale is the driving factor
for storage. With data storage encompassing data consolidation, high
availability, data integrity, manageability, scalability and interoperability in
a bandwidth-constrained environment, storage solutions have been progressively
evolving to suit customer needs.

Large enterprises have been the primary drivers for the
growing Indian storage market, considering the amount of digital information
they generate. The prevalence of the Internet is forcing enterprises to invest
in their networks and IT infrastructure. Most enterprises run data-intensive
applications like ERP and CRM with a high-accessibility rate, thus triggering
the need for network storage. ERP and CRM have dominated the market, and data
warehousing and data-mining have also started in a major way. Call center
markets are focusing on India seriously and they would be generating a lot
of data. Applications like Oracle and SAP, have fuelled this fire and this has
been doubling year after year. Most of the companies are dependent on IT, and
churn out data and reports on a regular basis. “Department of Space,
weather bureau, research programs, R&D, video, audio are a few others who
have contributed heavily”, says Panda.

Three to four times of hardware cost is spent on storage management.

B Chandrasekhar,
regional storage product manager, network storage, Sun Microsystems India
 

The demand will come mainly from enterprises operating in key
verticals like telecommunications/media, finance, manufacturing and retailing,
and of late, even the government sector. SMBs, though constrained for IT
budgets, have realized the need for efficient data storage. There is also the
software sector that depends hugely on data storage. Finally, the existence of
data-intensive business entities like ASPs and IDCs depends on efficient storage
systems. E-commerce has driven economies in to e-economies where data rates have
grown more than ten folds.

India being a big region, it is imperative to have a channel
strategy in place. Storage investment decisions! With the value of storage deals
getting bigger ad, bigger decision will be taken, more at the CEO, COO, CFO and
CTO levels. This is now treated as more of a corporate strategy and would need
to involve the top management.

The myth is that storage solutions are expensive. In fact, networked storage solutions centralizes storage management and also automates operation, thereby reducing IT operational costs and staffing requirements.

Basu
Hurkadli,
Country Manager, System Sales, IBM India  

The Critical Success Factor: Though these trends are visible
and technology available, “In India, specifically, corporates need to be
educated on the need to have mission-critical information infrastructure that is
available 24 x 7 and the role that storage infrastructure plays in making that
happen. Thus, all the Indian corporates were procuring storage along with the
servers, without considering the need for a unified information
infrastructure”, reiterates Ramana of Cisco. Intelligent storage is
imperative when information needs are critical. The ability of storage to handle
tasks, such as backup, recovery and disaster recovery is fundamental. He
suggests. “An enterprise would require a multi-disciplinary team approach
on how SAN technologies can be designed and implemented in their business
environment. Another key area that needs to be addressed would be personnel
skill development across multiple platforms for successful deployment. SAN
network across a LAN is feasible today, while deploying them across Metropolitan
Area Networks and Wide Area Networks would have significant bandwidth
implications in terms of cost and availability. Options for an enterprise would
be either to build or outsource the storage network to an Internet data center
service provider”.

The success factor would be how such storage service
providers leverage their infrastructure to provide reliable, secure and
cost-effective storage solutions to the enterprises. Vendors are giving more
importance to services and support. So all the business models will evolve
around services. In India, specifically, there will be a significant amount of
alliances made, more to get market and service reach. “The storage market
in India will grow tremendously as more and more organizations begin to realize
the value of corporate information. Applying a networking model to storage
environments has become a strategic necessity. Clearly, storage networking is
the storage architecture of the future”, reiterates Basu Hurkadli.

Ch. Srinivas Rao

Top V

Top V

The leader of the pack!: According to the IDC estimates,
Compaq leads the pack in both TB shipments and value terms, in the total storage
market, followed by HP, IBM, Sun and Network Appliances, respectively.

Compaq has been on the roll. With a total shipment of 385.17
TB, Compaq is understood to have raked up Rs 216.95 crore in revenue. Agreeing
with the IDC’s estimates, Owais Khan, business manager, enterprise storage,
Compaq India, explains, "Our main focus was enterprise. And that continues
to be so. However, we are finding that more and more SMBs are coming up with
requirements that need NAS or entry-level SANs, in addition to tape restore
automation solutions. All three solutions from Compaq, today, start at under Rs
10 lakh and are therefore, suitable for SMB requirements too".

HP registered total sales worth Rs 134.3 crore in the
business and accounted for 22.1 percent of market share by value. "HP
offers end-to-end storage solutions. Today’s high-end storage does not provide
only hardware (high-end tape libraries, virtualization in disk arrays, SAN
switches, FC connectivity, no single point of failure disk arrays) but a host of
software for managing storage. You need solutions for optimizing storage,
storage builder, load balancing, integrating with network management, zero
downtime/serverless backup, LUN(Logical Units) management, etc".

IBM, according to IDC, is the third largest vendor with total
TB shipment of 109.31 TB of storage and Rs 89.33 crore. IBM is still in the
process of evaluating its data, nonetheless, according to Basu Hurkadli, country
manager, system sales, IBM India Ltd, "Our storage strategy is
channel-driven. Worldwide and in India, a conscious effort is being made to work
closely with IBM’s channel partners to provide total storage solutions.
Periodic hands-on training programs, complete with IBM certification, are
conducted to educate channel partners on IBM’s products and technology
offerings in this space. IBM India’s channel partners have invested in IBM SAN
solution centers, currently in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore".

Sun is the fourth largest vendor with total shipment of 92.65
TB and with revenue of Rs 78.39 crore, as reported by IDC. Without commenting on
the IDC estimates, B Chandrasekhar, regional storage product manager, network
storage, Sun Microsystems India Pvt Ltd, added, "Our strategy was being
focused. Our storage solutions are through channels with strategic push by Sun
for networked storage–a massively scalable storage solution with performance
on pay ‘As You Need Basis’, with affordable upfront cost.

Network Appliance was at the bottom of the Top Five with total storage
shipment of 83.28 TB and revenue of Rs 38.29 crore, according to IDC. Says
George Thomas, country manager, Network Appliance, India, "The customer is
looking for a solution and it does not matter whether it is NAS or SAN. Network
Appliance has more than 100 installations of its filers in India. Our major
customers are Texas Instruments, Rediff, Times Internet and Cadence, to name a
few. A complete storage solution includes primary storage, tape libraries,
storage management software, etc. We partner with the industry leaders to
deliver a complete solution".

Storage Market Split by Vendors 2000
Vendors  Shipment 
in TB
Perentage
share by TB 
Revenues
in Rs crore
Percentage
Share by Revenue

Compaq 

385.17 37.0  216.95 35.7

HP 

274.82  26.4  134.3  22.1

IBM 

109.31 10.5  89.33  14.7

Sun 

92.65  8.9  78.39  12.9

Net Apps

83.28  8.0  38.29  6.3

Dell 

28.11 2.7  12.15  2.0

Others 

67.67  6.5  38.29  6.3

TOTAL 

1041.01    607.72  

Source: IDC

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