In my previous post, I outlined how Gartner and The Register were predicting a gloomy outcome for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and made the assertion that in contrast RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) had quite a rosy future. The key here is that RoCE has crossed the chasm from technology enthusiasts and early adopters to mainstream buyers.
In his eponymous book, Moore outlines that the main challenge of Crossing the Chasm is that the Early Majority are pragmatists interested in the quality, reliability, and business value of a technology. Whereas visionaries and enthusiasts relish new, disruptive technologies; the pragmatist values solutions that integrate smoothly into the existing infrastructure. Pragmatists prefer well established suppliers and seek references from other mature customers in their industry. And pragmatists look for technologies where there is a competitive multi-vendor eco-system that gives them flexibility, bargaining power, and leverage.
To summarize the three key requirements needed for a technology to cross the chasm are:
Demonstration that the technology delivers clear business value
Penetration of key beachhead in a mainstream market
I was talking with my colleague, Rob Davis, recently and he commented that “RoCE has leaped the canyon.” Now Rob is from Minnesota and they talk kind of funny there, but despite the rewording, I realized instantly what he meant. RoCE, of course refers to RDMA over Converged Ethernet technology and has “leaped the canyon” was a more emphatic way of saying has “crossed the chasm.”
This is, of course, the now proverbial CHASM: the gap between early adopters and mainstream users made famous by the book, “Crossing the Chasm” by @GeoffreyAMoore. If you are serious about high-tech marketing and haven’t read this book, then you should cancel your afternoon meetings, download it onto your Kindle, and dive in! Moore’s Chasm along with Clayton Christianson’s Innovator’s Dilemma, and Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy comprise the sacred trilogy for technology marketers.
Last week I was at Storage Networking World in Orlando, Florida. The sessions were a lot better organized with focus on all the popular topics like Cloud Computing, Storage Virtualization and Solid State Storage (SSD). In our booth, we demonstrated our Layer 2 agnostic storage supporting iSCSI, FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) and SRP (SCSI RDMA Protocol) all coexisting in a single network. We partnered with Rorke Data who demonstrated a 40Gb/s InfiniBand-based storage array and Texas Memory System’s ‘World’s Fastest Storage’ in our booth demonstrating sustained rates of 3Gb/s and over 400K I/Os using Solid State Drives.
I attended few of the sessions on the SSD and Cloud Computing stream. SSD was my favorite topic primarily because InfiniBand and SSD together will provide the highest storage performance and has the potential to carve out a niche in the data center OLTP applications market. Clod Barrera, IBM’s Chief Technical Storage Strategist’s presentation on SSD was very good. He had a chart which talked about how HDD I/O rates per GByte had dropped so low and currently staying constant at around 150 to 200 I/Os per drive. On the contrary SSD’s have capability to produce 50K I/Os on Read and 17K I/Os on Write. Significant synergy can be achieved by combining SSD with InfiniBand technology. InfiniBand delivers the lowest latency of sub 1us and the highest bandwidth of 40Gb/s. The combination of these technologies will provide significant value in the datacenter and has the potential to change the database and OLTP storage infrastructure.
SSD over InfiniBand delivers:
-Ultra-fast, lowest latency infrastructure for transaction processing applications
-Delivering a more compelling Green per GB
-Faster recovery time for business continuity applications
I see lot of opportunity for InfiniBand technology in the storage infrastructure as SSD provides the much needed discontinuity to the rotary media.