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Earlier today VR-Zone attended the Intel's Storage Forum 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan and although the company didn't reveal any big news at the event, one message was very clear this year and that is that Intel is investing heavily into storage solutions. At the event Intel talked about everything from entry level "Personal Cloud" devices, to SSD's, 10Gbps Ethernet all the way to Xeon powered solutions.

Earlier today VR-Zone attended the Intel's Storage Forum 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan and although the company didn't reveal any big news at the event, one message was very clear this year and that is that Intel is investing heavily into storage solutions. At the event Intel talked about everything from entry level "Personal Cloud" devices, to SSD's, 10Gbps Ethernet all the way to Xeon powered solutions.

Come 2020, mankind is expected to store an insane 35 Zetabytes of data, that's 35 followed by 21 zeroes, or as an example, that would be 4.4 Trillion HD movies. All this data is going to have to be stored somehow and this is where Intel is hoping to cash in with a wide range of products from the data centre all the way down to home storage products. Much of today's presentations talked about the data centre and "Ubiquitous storage across the cloud" which Intel claims is the future of storage.

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What Intel is talking about here is three different things, federation between public and private data to allow for securely shared data, automated solutions that reduce time spent on managing the storage systems and client aware systems that optimize the way the data is delivered depending on the device used to access the data stored on the cloud. Intel is hoping to reach these goals by 2015, but it's going to be tough to reach them considering a fair few technical hurdles, least not in the world of software.

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Another subject that was touched upon was the importance of technologies such as data deduplication and compression, especially as we're moving away from mechanical drives and towards SSDs in many high-end server environments.  However, even more regular storage solutions can save a lot of space using these technologies and Intel is implementing more and more of these features into its storage products. Another feature targeting online storage providers is what's known as thin provisioning where a user's allocated space on a server is only allotted as it's being used up and this is a way of saving on disk space in as much as all users don't require instant use of all their allotted storage space.

As for the small business and SoHo/Home market, Intel is hoping to win over users by promoting the "Personal Cloud" or what to date has been known as a NAS or Network Attached Storage. Intel is expecting the average user in this market segment to generate in excess of 4GB of data per day come 2015 and this is where smaller, more affordable network attached storage solutions come into play.

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However, Intel has found that it's hard to reach this market due to in part the lack of awareness of this type of product and in part due to the difficulty of actually understanding how a NAS works and how to configure. Admittedly NAS products have improved in leaps and bounds over the past few years, but compared to a USB attached storage device, a NAS is a big step into the unknown for anyone with more basic technical knowledge. Intel is looking into ways of how to make this market space more aware of this type of product, as well as ways of how to co-operate with its partners to sell these products into this market. Sadly the presentation didn't really offer any solutions to the problem and it's not an easy nut to crack until the day you can simply plug one of these devices into a network and thy more or less configure themselves.

The presentation about 10Gbps networking talked mostly about it being an ideal solution for reducing cable clutter and as an alternative to running a Fibre Channel network, especially as Intel's 10Gbps NIC's can run FCoE and iSCSI for "free" as Intel put it, as they don't charge extra for these features. The SSD presentation touched upon how reliable Intel's SSDs are compared to the competition and of course on the kind of performance gains you can get by mixing in some SSDs in a high-end storage solution, especially with regards to IOPs which is important in certain implementations.

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Sadly Intel didn't talk about any new or upcoming products at the event, but several of Intel's partners had new product on display at the event, but we'll cover those in separate news posts as there were far too many products for us to go into them all here. At the end of the day, Intel has to rely on its partners, as although the company makes a selection of servers, the company can't cover all of its customers' needs by itself.