UPDATED 16:20 EST / JANUARY 21 2021


Time to take aim at storage and edge by expanding block capabilities to network protocols

It’s high time to re-engineer the storage stack to enable storage area network or SAN performance in the cloud, a growing trend reflecting what information technology departments could expect on-premises.

This represents an important move worth watching as it signals interest by a major provider in leveraging the power of the cloud to enhance performance levels in the storage area networking space.

Amazon Web Services Inc.’s technology allows for higher throughputs and lower latency, which translate into higher performance block storage by going all the way down to the network protocol. The cloud provider wants to make data fully accessible for enterprise applications while optimizing storage operations.

“The data need drives the data storage,” said Mai-Lan Tomsen Bukovec (pictured), vice president of storage at AWS. “The trend of the future has been taking different files, putting them in a shared file layer so any application today or in the future can tap into that data. I expect that to not only keep on going, but to open up the type of services you can then do on that shared file layer.”

Tomsen Bukovec spoke with Dave Vellante, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during theCUBE on Cloud event. They discussed options for lowering cloud storage costs, the growing influence of edge computing, identifying customer needs and building services to meet them, how AWS leverages general purpose volume technology and the role of diversity in fostering cloud innovation.

Intelligent-Tiering solution

A key motivation for customers to take a closer look at AWS storage solutions is cost. The company has noted that on-premises SANs can be expensive, so it has been tweaking an Intelligent-Tiering option for S3 by adding automatic archiving at a reduced rate.

“The cost of managing the explosive cost of data is very real,” Tomsen Bukovec said. “We have built-in monitoring where if particular objects aren’t frequently accessed in a given month, a customer will automatically get a discounted price for that storage. We’re building into the product itself adaptive discounts.”

AWS is revamping its storage offerings at a time when enterprises are increasingly moving toward edge computing. What is driving this trend in an increasing amount of data being generated outside of the data center. Gartner has estimated that this amount could reach 75% by 2025.

“There’s a lot of data that needs to be captured and analyzed in the field,” Tomsen Bukovec noted. “Our goal is to make sure that whether customers are operating at the edge or in the region, they have the same quality of storage service and easy ways to go between them. You shouldn’t have to pick; you should be able to do it all.”

Building services for needs

By offering a wide range of storage options, AWS is following a playbook that it has successfully pursued since it launched Amazon S3 storage in 2006. The company has not been shy about offering a wide range of options for cloud customers, year after year, and that includes storage.

“The way we build storage is to focus on both the breadth of capabilities and depth of capabilities,” Tomsen Bukovec explained. “Our goal is to take the individual building blocks of EBS and Glacier and S3 and make the best of class and most comprehensive capabilities. Where we identify a very specific need, we’ll go build a service for it.”

The service AWS has rolled out represents the first SAN built for the cloud. The company is leveraging next-generation general purpose volumes, otherwise known as gp3, so enterprise customers can scale input/output operations per second and throughput without having to provision additional block storage.

“We feel the amount of innovation that we have for delivering those low latency workloads in our AWS cloud storage is unlimited because of that ability to customize software, hardware and network protocols as we go along, without requiring upgrades from the customer,” Tomsen Bukovec said. “This inherent flexibility that we have for AWS storage in being able to tune throughput, separate from ops, separate from capacity, like we do for gp3, that is really where the future is.”

In creating the first SAN tailored for the cloud, AWS has drawn from its own culture of innovation that is also fueled by its approach to diversity, according to Tomsen Bukovec.

“For Amazon, we think about diversity as something that is essential to how we think about innovation,” Tomsen Bukovec said. “You can’t get that innovative mindset without bringing different perspectives to the table. Those diverse viewpoints inform how we can innovate at all levels at AWS.”

Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of theCUBE on Cloud event:

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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