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April 26, 2010


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the storage anarchist

Nice job, Marc!

Let's hope you (or rather, the collective "we") get a lot of feedback on this...I'm sure Federation is to be an important aspect of storage going forward (whatever we call it).


marc farley

Thanks Barry. Federation was a pretty big deal to EqualLogic customers when I worked there and I suspect it will be the same for other companies and their customers too. Surprisingly nice to be working with you on this! LOL.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Marc -- nice post!

Two thoughts:

1 -- perhaps we should keep the focus on "what it does", and focus less on "how it does it". They're separate discussions in my mind, and often in customers' minds.

This perspective would be potentially more inclusive of solutions that might potentially run on the host, or in the network, or focus on specific use cases such as objects.

2 -- the key notions are covered here well, where I see opportunity for further discussion is the catalog of potential storage services that could be delivered via federation,

You got a few good ones around migration, load-balancing, etc. -- but I've got a much longer list!

Thanks again

-- Chuck


how could you mention federation and not have a star trek reference?! that's terrible!

marc farley

Hi Chuck, Glad you liked it and please keep contributing. I tried to not go into the "how it works" and think I succeeded at not prescribing anything, however examples of possible "hows" helps with some folks. You are right, they are different discussions and will likely provide fodder for us when we eventually end up positioning competitive products against each other. :)

The thing that excites me the most is the chance to do something differently with the definition of a new storage concept. So I appreciate the positive response from both you and Barry Burke, people who I occasionally tease and spar with on line.

marc farley

Nate, I can't believe I left out the Star Trek references either - but after seeing photos of Federation Square I wanted to shed a little light on it. #morefederationsthanone

Keith Wolfe


Thank you - that was very well written. Could you please explain why you believe one of the possible exposures of Storage Federation is the increased exposure to system failures? You mentioned that a
Storage Federation that distributes a single volume over three separate storage systems is 3 times more likely to have a failure than a Storage federation that does not allow volumes to span across storage system boundaries. This is not obvious to
myself. Could you please explain?


marc farley

Keith, it comes from MTBF calculations. A single system has a given MTBF number. 3 of the same systems have the same MTBF number, but divided by 3. It can seem a little kooky, but the calculations are done the way they are for a reason. Its not the same as adding a redundant component to a system, you are actually increasing the exposure to a failure if a single granular system (with redundancies built in) is a single point of failure.

Stu Savill

Hi Marc, liked the article a lot and echoed some of the "healthy debate" that has been ongoing.

I am also writing a blog article on the subject (a further one) but more around defining what we believe federation should really be, and some of the characteristics that may / could come with it.

I believe there could be a healthy working group set up here to at least define some of this... Thought / comments?

Also - thanks to @ianhf, @storagebod, @storageanarchy and chuck hollis for joining in - all interesting and good fun.. Please watch out for the next article at www.stuiesav.com

marc farley

Thanks Stu,

I'm certainly interested in keeping this alive and am looking forward to your next entry on it.!

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