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Seagate announces Ethernet-enabled storage platform

Seagate announces Ethernet-enabled storage platform

Seagate's Kinetic Open Storage Platform turns individual hard drives into Ethernet-connected smart storage systems, vastly simplifying storage cluster design.

Storage specialist Seagate has announced a new standard, dubbed the Seagate Kinetic Open Storage Platform, which puts Ethernet connectivity directly on its hard drives for a claimed boost in efficiency.

Designed primarily for the data centre market, The Kinetic Open Storage Platform is designed to simplify design by exposing the hard drive directly to the network. Unlike a traditional layout, which may see a server application going through up to eleven separate layers - POSIX, file system, volume manager, driver, fibre-channel connection to a storage server running RAID with battery-backed RAM and cache, SAS connection to the storage device itself which features mapping by cylinder, head, and sector, and then the actual data itself - before reaching its goal, Seagate envisions a layout with the entire middle section being replaced with a pretty cloud icon labelled 'Ethernet.'

The idea behind the Kinetic Storage Stack is to do away with multiple layers, and design storage devices that feature on-board Ethernet interfaces to which a Kinetic Library system delivers data directly to the application. According to Seagate, the result is a system that does away with traditional storage servers and dramatically boosts rack density while dropping cooling requirements.

Using a series of open application programming interfaces (APIs,) developers gain the ability to share data between drives, direct drive-to-drive transit of data without the need for an intermediate controller system, and built-in data integrity checks which the company claims will do away with silent data corruption once and for all. To the operating system, it's all transparent: applications make direct key-based requests to the storage platform, bypassing file system drivers and other overheads.

The platform isn't a theoretical pie-in-the-sky idea, either: Seagate boasts that two major enterprise storage software vendors have already implemented the technology into their management software. What we're waiting on now, however, is the hardware itself - and here, Seagate is being silent on release dates and pricing.

The idea of a storage network without the need for excess compute hardware, however, is likely to tempt enterprises - and should the platform prove as open as Seagate is claiming, could be a major selling point for the company's hardware.

Full details on the technology, which is unlikely to make it to the consumer level any time soon, are available on Seagate's official website.

14 Comments

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GiantKiwi 28th October 2013, 12:01 Quote
They may want to change the name fairly pronto, the Kinect bit may cause them issues with MSFT.
Gareth Halfacree 28th October 2013, 12:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantKiwi
They may want to change the name fairly pronto, the Kinect bit may cause them issues with MSFT.
Kinetic is a word (meaning relating to, or resulting from, motion); Kinect is gibberish invented by Microsoft. One of these predates the other. Seagate will have no trouble with its product name. Well, unless its customers decide to complain about the fact that the SSD version is not relating to, or resulting from, motion...
GiantKiwi 28th October 2013, 14:00 Quote
My bad, Read it wrong.
jb0 28th October 2013, 14:04 Quote
As Wikipedia would say... "Kinect is a portmanteau of kinetic and connect[citation needed]"
schmidtbag 28th October 2013, 15:09 Quote
Definitely an interesting idea, but considering how cheap, cool, and powerful CPUs are getting, I think this is several years too late. Also, unless I'm not understanding something correctly, I feel like this would cause some serious overhead when it comes to redundancy.

Also, while I completely understand the reason to avoid the "middle section" of networking drives, wouldn't a NAS still be faster and more efficient when it comes to clusters of drives? So for example, wouldn't a NAS (using 1 ethernet port) with 6 drives give better performance than 6 drives each on their own ethernet port? Again, maybe I'm not understanding something correctly, I just think this idea is really only good for small amounts of very temporary storage.
bowman 28th October 2013, 15:13 Quote
So you're going to take away my dumb disks which I put into servers running an open source operating system and next generation file system like ZFS, where redundant software-based arrays and checksuming keep my data safe - and instead put a proprietary firmware server on every single hard drive, with no redundancy to speak of.

No thanks, Seagate. No thank you.
Corky42 28th October 2013, 15:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Well, unless its customers decide to complain about the fact that the SSD version is not relating to, or resulting from, motion...

Tell the customer to run around the room while holding it, problems solved :D
play_boy_2000 28th October 2013, 15:44 Quote
Finnaly a possible end to crap NAS boxes that barly manage to saturate a 100mbit link.
TreeDude 28th October 2013, 15:53 Quote
This certainly seems to be the way new storage is going. Software driven RAID sets at the data level instead of the hardware level. VMware and MS are already doing it in their hypervisors.
Gradius 28th October 2013, 17:09 Quote
Took them over 10 years to do this. Btw, NAS is only slow if you buy those proprietary toy stuff. If you build one yourself, it can go beyond 1Gbps/s easily.
SchizoFrog 28th October 2013, 18:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantKiwi
They may want to change the name fairly pronto, the Kinect bit may cause them issues with MSFT.
Kinetic is a word (meaning relating to, or resulting from, motion); Kinect is gibberish invented by Microsoft. One of these predates the other. Seagate will have no trouble with its product name. Well, unless its customers decide to complain about the fact that the SSD version is not relating to, or resulting from, motion...

There are already several companies that use the word 'Kinetic' in their name along with Seiko's trademark for its automatic quartz technology as mentioned here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic

In all honesty though, I don't an issue arising any time soon.
tuk 28th October 2013, 18:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeDude
This certainly seems to be the way new storage is going. Software driven RAID sets at the data level instead of the hardware level.

It's an interesting idea, but what happens when the hardware holding the 'Software driven RAID set' fails?
kHAn_au 31st October 2013, 07:35 Quote
The key point of the proposed technology is that this is not block storage as we surrently expect. It's a "Key Value Store" which more closely related to CAS (Content Addressed Storage) than even NAS. The type of scale out applications they are thinking of with this technology are in the space where FalconStore, BlueArc, HNAS, EMC Centerra etc occupy.
I'd hesitate to liken it to block accessible scale out storage like EMC Isilon, Data Domain or even HP StoreVirtual and Dell EqualLogic simply because its strictly non-block.
It's more likely this type of drive would be used behind an application server which forms a Reduntant Array of Inexpensive Nodes (RAIN) in the same way EMC Centerra does with its pizza-box servers.
I don't see much traction for them in the enterprise any time soon but I could be surprised like with ATA over Ethernet which has managed to persist for several years so far.
kHAn_au 31st October 2013, 07:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuk
Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeDude
This certainly seems to be the way new storage is going. Software driven RAID sets at the data level instead of the hardware level.

It's an interesting idea, but what happens when the hardware holding the 'Software driven RAID set' fails?

Yo monitor the hardware and software for faults. Build in 'hot-spares' and automatic recovery features; just like in any other enterprise storage platform.
I wouldn't let my company invest in something that was missing these types of feature unless there was a very specific usecase.
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