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FAST, miles and miles away!!!


Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST)

Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST)

April 2009, that is when we heard about FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering). The hype around FAST is now built; we have all seen a 2 min demo of the product at Vmworld 2009. The industry, the analysts, the bloggers and EMC are all talking about it. EMC has promised this will be an exciting product and could help better integrate and federate EMC products of the future.

But, where is FAST today?

Initially FAST v1 was set to release late Q3 or early Q4. We are almost at the end of Q4. The announcement of FAST came in April 2009 with the release of EMC Symmetrix V-Max systems. The product was announced pre GA. Here is a blog post by Barry Burke (FAST: Fully Automated Storage Tiering) indicating a Q4 release date, but after all FAST is nowhere to be found.

It seems FAST probably got shuffled somewhere in the scheduling, product marketing, technology design and development or ?. A product talked about, written about but rather un-visible at this point. Here is a blog post from Chuck Hollis (Peering into the Storage Crystal Ball) indicating FAST v1 may now not be available until early 2010.

With a 2010 GA date, FAST will be a 9 to 11 month early announcement product technology that was sold and is being sold with the V-Max without an actual product.

FAST v1 will be available for the Symmetrix V-Max platform and then eventually for the Clariion and Celerra platforms. FAST v2 is due to be released in late Q2 2010.

Is EMC trying to bring some additional functionality from FAST v2 to FAST v1 since current test customers are probably not excited about FAST v1. It seems everyone in the industry is looking forward to FAST v2 and the features it may bring together with it. At this point, there is really a lack of excitement around FAST v1. Is FAST in any sort of legal battle today, which is causing additional delays, Chris Evans at The Storage Architect Blog has discussed the topic in the past.

At this point is FAST v1 something that should eventually be combined with FAST v2 before GA. Question remains, do we really need FAST v1 at this stage or can we wait for FAST v2. Will organizations skip the implementation of FAST v1 and directly go to FAST v2. Is the product being delayed intentionally, so the gap between FAST v1 and FAST v2 implementation becomes narrow and customers can rather jump to FAST v2 without FAST v1.

Well anyways, FAST is now over-over-due, 8 months into the announcement, but no product. Along with FAST v1 in early 2010, we will see a new version of Enginuity Code for the Symmetrix V-Max and some other expected enhancements around V-Max.

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Some interesting links to dig more about FAST technology and its functionality.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/22/emc_fast/

http://gestaltit.com/all/tech/storage/stephen/emc-vmax-fast-coming-december/

http://wikibon.org/wiki/v/Peeling_the_Onion_on_EMCs_VMax

http://storagenerve.com/2009/10/20/policy-policy-policy/

http://gestaltit.com/featured/top/gestalt/emc-unified-platform-storage-tiering/

Note: The dates in this blog post are totally based on announcements happened so far and future time lines are based on some industry buzz around FAST. Its impossible to know the exact dates of any product releases without an NDA.

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  • jrmckins

    I have more of a question than a comment. Will FAST be more of a “real-time” detection and movement of “hot” data or will it work like Compellent's Data Progression?

  • http://chucksblog.emc.com/ Chuck Hollis

    Hi Devang.

    You're reading too much into my post!

    — Chuck

  • http://www.storagerap.com 3parfarley

    Patience Devang! There are still a couple weeks left this month for EMC to roll out FAST v1. I agree that most people will wait to see what FAST v2 has to offer before paying for the license.

    In response to jrmckins, EMC blogger Barry Burke (aka the Storage Anarchist) said this in his comments on Chris Evans blog (cited above): “But FAST introduces the notion of Policies, allowing storage admins to define different porportions of Flash, FC and SATA for different applications.” In other words, it will be something between Compellent's slow algorithm and the instant recognition of “hot data”. Customers will have to plan for it's use and that probably means they will need professional services engagements to make it work as advertised.

    FAST doesn't make any sense without flash SSDs, which means there is going to be a fair amount of expense involved for customers. Many will want to see proof that it actually makes a difference. There are a lot of customers that don't need the low latency that flash provides, but I doubt they will get that sort of advice from their EMC sales team in the months to come.

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  • sflouris

    Don't wait for FAST. Try TFS from TFStor. TFStor’s Tiered File System (TFS) is unique in its ability to be storage hardware agnostic. It supports most all storage hardware including cold-storage products. A broad provisional Patent was filed in November 2008 for TFStor’s “Resource Constraint Aware Network File System”.

    TFStor Tiered File System is a software only product. The software is capable of virtualizing all of the storage behind it as shown in the diagram on the left and provides support to all storage environments, be it direct or networked attached. TFStor has the ability to migrate the data from higher tiers of storage to less expensive, lower tiers based on user policies and data access patterns. However, since TFStor creates a single, unified file system, the data migration is transparent to the user and he/she sees the data in the original file and directory structure. This is true even if the data is moved to spin down or power down storage.

  • sflouris

    Don't wait. Use TFStor. TFStor’s Tiered File System (TFS) is unique in its ability to be storage hardware agnostic. It supports most all storage hardware including cold-storage products. TFStor Tiered File System is a software only product. The software is capable of virtualizing all of the storage behind it as shown in the diagram on the left and provides support to all storage environments, be it direct or networked attached. TFStor has the ability to migrate the data from higher tiers of storage to less expensive, lower tiers based on user policies and data access patterns. However, since TFStor creates a single, unified file system, the data migration is transparent to the user and he/she sees the data in the original file and directory structure. This is true even if the data is moved to spin down or power down storage.

  • http://twitter.com/storageanarchy Barry Burke

    It's not 2010 yet.

    And despite Farley's FUD flinging, FAST policies won't need either flash drives nor a Professional Services engagement to deliver significant customer value. In fact, when coupled with Symmetrix Auto-Provisioning, FAST will likely be not only easier to deploy than 3PAR, but faster as well (no pun intended :)

  • http://www.storagerap.com 3parfarley

    There is no way way it will be easier to deploy, oh Doctor Denial of DMX and v-Max. Performance for the few low latency apps that exist will be good, but all other apps will get more of the same “don't benchmark me bro!” performance from the vMax. What it will lead the industry in is cost!

  • http://chucksblog.emc.com/ Chuck Hollis

    Update: FAST is GA today for Symmetrix, CLARiiON and Celerra.

    And, as you can see, EMC's competitors are not entirely pleased :-)

    — Chuck

  • http://chucksblog.emc.com/ Chuck Hollis

    Update: FAST is GA today for Symmetrix, CLARiiON and Celerra.

    And, as you can see, EMC's competitors are not entirely pleased :-)

    — Chuck