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Increasing storage capacity to gain performance doesn't make sense

ITProPortal is touring California's Silicon Valley, getting the latest from up-and-coming startups.

We visited Pernix Data and spoke to Poojan Kumar, the CEO and co-founder, to find out what they had to say about the future of storage.

Over the last ten years, the data centre has change dramatically. From a siloed architecture set in a physical servers, it's moved to the virtual world. The data centre has become mobile, and that has created an interesting challenge for the storage subsystem.

The shared storage system, which was used to quite a concrete architecture, has now been forced to run on top of the existing storage infrastructure as well as this new virtual infrastructure. And as your data centre expands its VM infrastructure to 60 or 80 virtual machines, it creates an interesting challenge from a storage perspective.

When you look at a lot of the performance problems that people are having, it's to do with storage. You need access to the data, and fast access to it – and that's where storage performance starts to be a problem.

How can I get access to my data, how can I get access to it faster, and how can I get it more predictably?

Many people are trying to solve this problem. Many are looking at expanding spinning capacity. Even if it's only 30 per cent utilised, say, data centres will still be expanding their capacity of spinning disks just to increase performance.

And now a lot has happened around flash storage in the data centre, which is really starting to solve a lot of problems. Everyone knows flash is very good for performance, but the question is: how do you deploy flash?

A lot of vendors today talk about how you can combine flash and spinning disk, which is what we call the hybrid storage array – this can also increase capacity and have effects on performance.

But why does a storage performance problem need to be solved by capacity? It sounds really inefficient. Flash in storage is expensive and not scalable. And which end of the wire does flash belong? In the server, or in storage?

Everyone talks about software defined storage, but all the customer ever sees is a box. And they need that box to work.