Use cases, which illustrate real life in IT better than almost anything else, are sometimes underrated as relevant data points. Most often they do not have a hard news angle, as journalists like me prefer, and as a result they risk appearing lame -- or at worst, a PR plant.
Nonetheless, we find the right ones to be valuable teaching tools, and we'll be revisiting them more as time goes on.
Nimbus Data Systems, which makes intelligent solid-state storage, revealed Aug. 2 that the world's largest online marketplace, eBay, has deployed more than 100 terabytes of its S-Class flash memory to power its VMware virtual server infrastructure.
Now THAT's what we'd call a major-league storage deployment. One hundred terabytes holds a heck of a lot of data merchandise.
Capacity not withstanding, the swift development of this project also is impressive: eBay started with one system and expanded to 12 systems in less than one year, ranking it among the world's largest consolidated deployments of network-attached flash storage for virtualization.
eBay picked Nimbus after carefully evaluated its existing hard disk-based storage systems, flash-based caching solutions, and tiered storage architectures. eBay required a storage package with tight integration with VMware virtual infrastructure, iSCSI connectivity over 10Gb Ethernet, ease of administration, and inline deduplication to reduce storage capacity requirements.
eBay then made its choice. The Nimbus solution delivers near line-rate 10Gb Ethernet iSCSI performance to the VMware hosts while consuming 78 percent less energy and 50 percent less rack space than conventional disk-based solutions. Hard to top those results, and eBay couldn't be happier with the outcome.
So there you have it: a storage use case for the 21st century. The well-worn analogy, of course, is that David defeats Goliath, as in the Biblical story.
Is this an indication that the playing field in storage is beginning to level out for smaller, newer companies in their ongoing market combat against the Big Guys? Not necessarily, because those Big Guys are too well-entrenched in their user bases to be overly worried at this point.
But with high demand for storage expected to basically never end, enterprises would do well to look around to see at what's new in other places before making an automated buying decision.