July 29, 2016

Basic Solid State Storage: How it Changed eBay

The auction site eBay was one of the first online companies to gain notoriety for deploying basic solid state storage. In 2003 (nearly 14 years ago) eBay’s business had an amazing 5.6 million registered users and saw over 250,000 new items being put up for sale every day. Since it’s an auction-based model, eBay needed to react quickly to buyers. Their existing infrastructure had to be replaced to meet this growing demand so they adopted basic solid state storage to host I/O intensive Oracle table space and re-do logs. Back in 2003, the capacity of these solid state systems was around 13GBs and although the per unit storage capacity was small; they increased eBay’s performance by as much as 500%! They went on to be the leading online action company and today have over 165 million registered users.

The vast majority of companies that use solid state storage are Cloud (online) based. The demand for Cloud services is growing exponentially as more and more individuals, companies, and applications are moving to the cloud. There will be nearly 1.7 billion people using the Cloud by 2017, nearly 1 out of every 4.3 people on earth! Similar to eBay in 2003, the demand to keep customers satisfied is being met by solid state storage.

But there is a challenge in selecting the solid state storage system best suited for various Cloud applications.  Traditional solid state storage systems were not designed for the Cloud but for the corporate data center.  Those systems included all the storage features found in existing disk-based SAN systems. Features such as SNAPshots, replication, thin provisioning, volume concatenation, and so on were common among these storage systems which were mainly used to host databases.  These extra software features allowed storage vendors to sell their products at a higher price and drove the cost of solid state storage to a point where it was difficult to justify for many private and public Cloud deployments.  These infrastructures needed basic, highly reliable, solid state storage but didn’t require all the added storage features.

Another challenge traditional solid state storage systems have is that many of their data protection and volume management features are now being delivered by the file system or application.  As feature rich and flexible file systems, applications, and open source solutions are being developed and deployed to deliver Cloud services, the need for expensive storage centric features is being eliminated.

The additional software features not only double or triple the cost of a solid state storage system but even more notably, they induce more latency.  Basic solid state storage systems operate in the single millisecond to nanosecond latency range, where software laden systems operate in the multi-millisecond range.   Today, most Cloud infrastructure architects focus on performance and cost when selecting solid state storage.

Many Cloud infrastructures can use basic, reliable, and redundant solid state storage systems without all the added software services.  Don’t get me wrong, there is still a need for traditional, feature laden, solid state storage systems for database applications.  There are many environments that need these types of systems, but there are many environments that don’t.  Keep in mind that ‘one solid state storage system’ can’t meet all requirements.

Below is an example of public or private Cloud-based applications that can use basic but extremely fast solid state storage:

  • Big data and data analytics
  • Software development, compiling, & testing
  • Media rendering and post-production
  • Content delivery

Other applications include:

  • High performance computing (HPC)
  • Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)

The MAXio® All Flash Array meets criteria for the Cloud infrastructure

The MAXio All Flash Array is the perfect solid state storage solution for Cloud deployments.  A single system supports either iSCSI / NAS or Fibre Channel connectivity.  With 5TBs-12TBs of useable capacity and redundant drives and power supplies, it’s a solid reliable solution for the Cloud.

The real key is the unique technology used to deliver extreme performance from the qty. 20, 800GB drives.  The MAXio All Flash Array delivers 500k random 4k write and 360k random 4k read IOPs.  It can also deliver amazing responsiveness with read latencies as low as 738.72 nanoseconds (.738ms) and write latencies as low as 637.19 nanoseconds (.637ms).  All this from a compact 1U enclosure!

Writer: Zophar Sante, Business Development
Date: 7/29/2016

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