-written by Ed Esposito, Dataram Storage Blog Team Member
In the not so distant past, an appliance was something you got free when you opened up a bank account. Or, you used one to burn some bread or whip up your favorite adult beverage. But, more recently we are seeing more IT function moving to application-specific appliances. This is easily visible in the Data Storage segment. Over the years, a lot of function has been moved from Host/Servers down to Storage Arrays and then back again.
So while the washing machine continues on spin cycle moving function between Storage and Hosts, a third option becomes apparent—moving key functions of Data Management and Performance Management to specialized appliances. Most major storage vendors have adopted some form of an appliance strategy to satisfy certain requirements. Some examples are: De-Dup appliances, Virtualization appliances, Tiering and Caching appliances. So the question remains – where does all this function really belong?
The question of best placement for all this functionality may never be completely answered, but one thing is certain—packaging all of this functionality and performance inside a large storage array drives up the cost. Customers are constantly making storage decisions based on the viability of that functionality versus the life cycle of the array. Will the machine be fully depreciated or will the never-ending co term leases be over well before or after the functionality is needed or obsolete? In essence, IT managers are faced with the decision to buy a new and larger house to make space for function/performance features that would be better served to be in a stand-alone appliance.
Having an outboard in-band cache appliance dramatically alters and simplifies the decision process. First, it separates performance from all other bells and whistles. Second, it lowers the cost of the backend storage and creates a new, less costly, more flexible storage infrastructure. An infrastructure that allows for a high performance, on-demand model of data placement.
So give your cache appliance a hug today, while always remembering that no one ever complained about storage moving too fast.