10 December 2009

Coal in Your Stocking for Christmas?

Could we be witnessing the rapid burnout of a star? A supernova of IT? STEC could be in serious difficulty. The latest news from Fusion-io, whom STEC management has dissed in the past, is a design in with IBM. Here's the announcement and IBM's. As I type, the share has fallen still further from my previous posting: into the $11's.

Why this is important: Fusion-io set out on a separate path, leveraging the PCIe connector, where STEC and storage rack vendors (EMC, for example) didn't. Early on in this endeavor, I pointed out that Fusion-io was adopting the Google paradigm rather than the mainframe/server paradigm of external mass storage. The mass of servers way rather than the mass of drive racks has other implications. In particular, what will database systems look like? The knee jerk reaction is: distributed. On the other hand, may be not in the way that has been before. Fusion-io still (they haven't changed their tune, so far as I know) is on the path to terabytes on the slot. For my beloved BCNF databases which are orders of magnitude more compact than flatfile/xml messes, that is perfectly fine.

Of note in the announcements is that Fusion-io mounts an additional NAND chip for data protection. Not only is STEC threatened, but so are all the storage rack vendors. To the extent that the PCIe vendors can mount so much SSD in the board, which is faster still, and the notion of a room full of servers rather than a room full of drives taking over... Too bad Fusion-io is still private; a few shares might make for a more comfortable, and early, retirement. For those who crave retirement, anyway.

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