The Need for eXtreme Write Speed

The BiTMICRO Blog: The Need for eXtreme Write Speed

Write speed is critical to judging the performance of a storage system. Not all applications require extreme write speed, but for those that do, SSD technology is the best answer. All flash arrays (AFAs) are considered to be the fastest storage systems available. They are centralized, high-speed systems connected to one or multiple application servers or hyper-scale architectures. Even when connected over iSCSI or FC, the AFA will outperform 20 internal server SAS drives by a margin of up to 10X. All flash arrays easily deliver close to 2.5 million transactions per minute using the Oracle HammerDB Benchmark test while 20 internal SAS drives deliver close to 0.25 to 0.50 million transactions. An AFA usually delivers 40,000 transactions per second (or higher). A comparable SAS HDD-based RAID system is closer to 6,000 transactions.

Not all AFAs are created equal. The biggest challenge storage system manufacturers have is how to best harness the speed of SSDs for their all flash arrays. Most manufacturers took a “quick to market” route by using existing HDD RAID controllers and algorithms and making a few changes to accommodate SSDs. However, HDD RAID controllers and algorithms were not designed for SSDs; they were designed to manage devices with a much lower IO range, usually around 100 to 400 IOPs. Hard disk drive controllers and algorithms reduce overall performance of SSDs and often shorten the lifespan of solid state drives by neglecting techniques such as wear leveling. An SSD can deliver 10 to 100 times more performance than HDDs (depending on the application, NAND type, system, and manufacture), but for best results they need to be used in an architecture specifically designed for SSDs.

All flash arrays belong to a new category of enterprise storage systems comprised entirely of solid state drives/memory. Other than speed, different advantages of AFAs include energy efficiency (consuming only one-half to one-third of the electrical power) and reduced latency (as low as 1/50th when compared to HDDs).

BiTMICRO has adopted a technology for use in our MAXio All Flash Storage N1A6. This technology is a flash-oriented software and features an architectural design tailored for the fundamentals and internal workings of SSDs. It organizes data writes for optimal performance and SSD longevity. Once the data is properly re-mapped, it’s passed to the underlying SSDs in the most high performance and SSD “friendly” manner, avoiding unnecessary overhead and extending the lifespan of SSDs. Such re-mapping is especially critical for optimizing performance for random-write patterns.

There are many applications where write speed is critical. Most require a great deal of computation which equates to intensive write requirements occurring as data is processed.

These applications include: high-performance-computing, electronic design services, media production and rendering, big data analytics, VDI, write caching, and data capture – just to name a few.

Writer: Zophar Sante, Business Development
Date: 2/26/16