n an IBM blog labeled “Keep Your Friends Close and Your Data Closer” by Matthew Drahzal, a leader in IBM’s Systems & Technology Group (STG), has announced a new storage server for bring super-computer data storage speed to a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS), General Parallel File System (GPFS) storage servers.
The trouble these new servers is meant to address is simple. As Drahzal wrote, “The technology industry has a problem. Disk drives–devices used for over 50 years to store and retrieve digital information -move data too slowly. Companies regularly use 3 terabyte disk drives–roughly equal to the capacity of about 100 iPads–but the drives can only move data at 50 to 100 megabytes per second. Many organizations need to analyze data at 100 gigabytes per second–a difference of a few of orders of magnitude.”
To address that problem, we’ve long been spread our data across multiple drives to speed up access with redundant array of independent disks (RAID). RAID, however, and the drives that use it hasn’t kept up with our need for reliable speed. Yes, our drives are growing ever larger, but they’ve not become more reliable and even the highest level of data redundancy available, RAID 6, or the pairing of RAID 1, mirrored disk, with RAID 5, aka RAID 51, isn’t sufficient for data protection. Worse still, when a drive does fail, and they always do, rebuilding big data with RAID can take days.