NAS/Servers of the future

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by Dan201, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Dan201

    Dan201
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    Im wondering what servers will be like in 3-5 years time. The ones we have now serve our needs fine but having researched the limitations of home solutions I wonder what we'll use to improve them.

    My guess is that solid state drives will eventually replace HDDs. They can't keep finding new ways to store more data on those disks can they? SSDs seem perfect as they r low power and very fast.

    Ill be using my current server for media streaming. A bluray rip peaks at around 50MB/sec which is easily done with HDDs and sata 2. What will be the solution when films come out in a higher resolution? Ive heard people mention 4k as a new format for the future. Assuming its 4x the data of blurays then we won't be able to use HDDs as they don't read that fast.

    Id like to see into the future and see when SDDs are as big as HDDs and come down to sensible prices. Ill also take a note of the lottery results:smashin:
     
  2. MikeK

    MikeK
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    Bluray peaks at around 50Mbit/s sustained bit rate (it can actually be higher than that though on instantaneous peaks), not 50MB(ytes)/sec.

    The 4k format is roughly 4-6 times the data, assuming the same encoding techniques as today.
    However it's likely that any move to 4k would be accompanied by changes in encoding, such as 4:4:4 encoding in 10 (or more) bit colour depth etc, so the real data rate could be over 10x that of bluray.
    Even so, that's still within the performance range of todays HDDs.


    Of course, it could be that the 4k format doesn't see consumer land in this time frame - we may see the mass-market demise of bluray only for it to be replaced by DRM infested movie downloads on the hopefully higher speed networks which may be prevalent by then. If that's the case though, then personally I wouldn't hold out much hope of even bluray quality - but maybe that's my cynical side talking ;)
     
  3. ralphmalph

    ralphmalph
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    10Gig ethernet will be cheap as chips and standard.
     
  4. Dan201

    Dan201
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    It sounds like Ive been a little confused with Megabits and Megabytes! Thanks for clearing that one up.

    I hope 4k does make it out in the future but im sure i read that when Bluray was released that it would be the last physical format sold. Im sure most people on here would much prefer a higher quality physical media to a more convenient but lower quality experience in their living rooms. Unfortunatly it looks like convenience wins those battles most of the time.

    Would 10gig ethernet require more than cat6 cable then? A web site I read the other day said there hasn't even been confirmed specs for cat6 yet let alone cat7. I suppose all that would be needed server side would be a new ethernet card to keep up with higher demanding standards, not much of an exciting change but it makes me feel better about the money Ive just spent on a server!
     
  5. ralphmalph

    ralphmalph
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    Cat6 is fine for less than 100m.

    You would also need a new 10gig switch as well. The 10GB nics are dropping in price like a stone at the moment some are 200quid and they were a grand or so mid year. The switchs are still a problem they are in the 2k range at the mo.

    When the nics are 50 quid and the switchs 100quid I will be installing them at home. Could be 12 to 18 months.
     
  6. Dan201

    Dan201
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    Just to confirm this in my head...

    A Bluray is around 50 Megabits per second and gigabit ethernet can transfer 125 Megabytes per second?

    If thats the case then 100Mbps ethernet is twice as fast as needed to stream bluray rips?
     
  7. MikeK

    MikeK
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    Bluray's max sustained bitrate is around 50Mbps (though I remember reading someweher that 3D pushes that to 64Mbps). For large parts of many movies though, the bitrate will be considerably less.

    As for a gigabit network - it's theoretical bandwidth is around 125MB/s, but you'll never achieve that in practice - you'll likely top out at 110-115Mbps if you are lucky, and perhaps around the 100MB/sec mark is a realistic figure overall (though YMMV on this)

    100Mbps ethernet can indeed support streamed bluray rips - however, latency also has to taken into consideration.
    Not usually a problem on simple home networks though, but you should be aware of it!
     
  8. Dan201

    Dan201
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    Wow, so 10 Gig is gonna be pretty damn fast. Faster than our drives can read or write.
     
  9. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    On the project I left about a year ago, the new SAN was 10Gb/s, and the database servers were being specced to connect to it at that speed. IIRC, it wasn't the NIC that was the most expensive part - there was another card required as well. (edit - this was the physical layer module).
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  10. Dan201

    Dan201
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    What storage was used on servers that fast?
     
  11. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    The database servers had little internal storage - they used the SAN for data file storage. They were purely there to provide CPU and RAM for the Oracle instances. Hence the need for fast network connection.
     
  12. MikeK

    MikeK
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    Faster than single drives perhaps, but once you start striping your drives, the performance can scale up - to pretty big numbers too if your platform can cope!


    On some of the latest storage servers, 10g ethernet is considered to be too slow - they are using 40Gbps Infiniband, sometimes with multiple ports!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  13. ralphmalph

    ralphmalph
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    Also do not forget that the question was what would happen in 3 to 5 years time.

    If you look at disk performance and include SSD's then over the last 5 years thay have made huge gains in performance.

    So in 3 to 5 years time mech disks will only be used for long term archival storage, any disk be accessed (even one or twice a day) will be ssd. We will have TB ssds at affordable prices and most likely with double the iops that we have today and at consumer pricing i.e 100 quid a pop.

    Plus we will have shared storage in our houses as well.
     
  14. KeithO

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    Yep, check out Infiniband with Mellanox adapters and FusionIO PCI ioDrives if you want to build something really fast. Cables are wickedly expensve though!
     
  15. Dan201

    Dan201
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    Im really looking forward to SSDs taking over in the home. For years ive installed faster cpu's and more RAM etc and the thing that has made the biggest difference is the SSD in my laptop.

    Im more excited about wifi improving than cable though.
     
  16. happhhitachi

    happhhitachi
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    7 to 10 years ago the place I work at installed a SAN unit with a max disk capacity of around 80Tb, we didnt have this much installed though. The cost of this was around £300k

    So lets assume it did have a full compliment of disks 80Tb / £300k = £3750 per Tb.

    I just got a HP Microserver £149 (after cash back) + WHS2011 licence £35 and a 2Tb disk at £130. Lets assume I fully populated this with 4x 2Tb drives. That would give us a total cost for 8Tb of £704 or £88 per Tb and HD costs are currently VERH high, they will drop back as production capacity comes back on line...

    Of course the SAN had rather more hardware with drive enclisures, 42U rack cabinet and fiber connectivity. But it does illustrate how the cost is falling, of how high end enterprise stuff of today is home kit tomorrow.

    We will get faster BB connections, home networks will get faster and home server solutions will get better.
     
  17. Dan201

    Dan201
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    £3750 for per Tb?!?!

    Ive only dealt with home storage but one thing that stuck me was a memory from about 11 years ago when I got a 3.2Gb hard drive in my PC as an upgrade and the guy in the shop told me theres no way ill ever fill it up. I think I only had command and conquer on it!

    Then several years later I bought a micro SD card that had 4Gb capacity and I thought wow, thats a pretty impressive reduction in size!
     
  18. MikeK

    MikeK
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    I've little doubt that SSDs will get cheaper, but at the moment they are still about 20x the price of mechanical disk storage (per TB), and while that price differential may narrow, it's by how much.

    Personally I can't see any way it'll narrow enough to make SSD a viable home option for mass storage in the medium term (apart from those with deep pockets of course :) ) - and TBH SSDs simply aren't needed for media servers, where really it's all about capacity rather than IO performance, which is SSD's real strength.

    There are a couple of new HDD technologies on the way which, according to the blurb, will push HDD capacities over 10TB in the medium term, and >100TB per drive is being talked about longer term. Whether that becomes reality remains to be seen, but I don't think the HDD is going away anytime soon.

    Hybrid drives may well be something we start to see a bit more of though, in one form or another!
     
  19. GloopyJon

    GloopyJon
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    SSDs in the short to medium term will surely be used to cache frequently used files on servers, but HDDs will still remain the primary storage for large volumes into the medium term, I think.

    Personally, I think that the next generation of consoles should be the media centre front-end, supported by a solid connection to a back-end file server. When I say a solid connection, I mean that it would be standard, plug-and-play and no messing around with difficult or flakey configurations - it should just work as (virtually) internal storage, in the same way as a PC in the office has network drives. We as consumers shouldn't really need to mess around with the techy side of all of this; it should all be bog-standard by now.
     
  20. springtide

    springtide
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    Think the storage layers of the future will be more like on the enterprise side; tiered, but much more simplistic in it's implementation.

    Locally, you'll just give the system a bunch of storage (HDDs, SSD, etc) and have a few sliders for reliability, speed and capacity. The system will then take care of data protection (RAID, snapshots) and will work out for itself the most optimum configuration.

    Your local storage will be part of the cloud, and hence replicate/backup to friends that are also part of the common cloud; it will all built into the storage.
    The storage system will also be clever enough to know that you have common files with your friends, and allow you to enable 'smart storage' that only keep one copy of the data, regardless of how many systems, local or remote, have the same data.

    In terms of media, you will have media creator engines as well as media clients. The media creator engines will feed the cloud with data, and leave the cloud manage what clients have access.

    Well, that is probably a pipe dream.

    Slightly off topic...
    The reality of media streaming, is that there is huge money to be made in selling 'content' and 'hardware'. As Apple (and other companies) have shown, if you use propriety protocols and/or hardware, and do not allow this to be licensed for use by other vendors, then you can sell the hardware cheaply, then lock the consumer into only using their 'content'.
    The problem with using "open standards", is that it is not the most profitable model for the hardware/content vendors. If consumers could purchase any hardware and just buy from the cheapest place each time, there is no loyalty to the h/w vendor.
    Allowing 3rd party content on propriety devices is happening, Netflix & Lovefilm are on PS3 and Apple TV, but these are "subscription based" as well as "back catalogues", rather than premium content offered by Sony and Apple. In all honesty, I don't think the media production companies want this either, since if there was more competition, it would drive down content price, which I assume would mean that they would end up with less revenue - just look at the price of premium digital (online) content and compare it to the cost of physical DVD/Bluray, there must be more profit being made from the online content at the moment.
     

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