Blog Series:  About IT by Ed Turetzky

In today’s demanding world, speed to get to the data is important. Most storage vendors talk about how much data they can access which is measured in a combination of IOPS or MB/sec. While that measure has some importance, the real key is the latency.

Latency is an indication of how long the processor needs to wait until the storage can process the I/O request. When a typical storage array gets busy, this can be seen on the processor side by looking at the I/O wait. For all practical purposes, I/O wait are CPU cycles that are wasted. The CPU could do work if the CPU had the information from the disk. While this might not sound very important, think about the number of software products, like Oracle and DB2, that charge for each core that you have in the server. If CPU wait gets into the 20% range on a dual socket 10 core system, that is saying that four (4) cores are licensed and doing no productive work. That can be an expensive proposition.

What can be done? The typical approach today is to put SSDs (or flash) between the CPU and the storage (or simply moving the key application to SSD). That will typically provide some relief, but you still have the overhead of the storage subsystem. Few vendors can provide a solution to get down to the one (1) millisecond range for latency with this solution and those that do are typically in the millions of dollars.

There is another approach, with software defined storage, that can bring the latency down into the sub millisecond, like 0.3 as measured by the SPC-1 submission, range. This is done by basically moving the I/O into memory and using as many cores as possible to truly do parallel I/O. Yes, many of the hyper converged solutions you read about talk about doing half of this being the memory piece. They do not do parallel I/O.  The hyper converged vendors do not publish results using an industry standard benchmark demonstrating this capability, nor do they allow for the use of legacy storage or compute assets in an efficient manner.

Depending on the size of the database or applications in general, that need this level of ultra-low latency, Flagship Solutions Group can provide a solution that starts at $30,000. A much more cost effective approach than buying an all SSD array.

Schedule a consultation today to learn more about the benefits of software defined storage.

If you liked this blog, you might also like:  Are Storage Arrays Dead?

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Flash Storage

As client requirements evolve to meet new demands and workloads, IBM is uniquely positioned to help transform storage models with agile, simple to use and cost effective solutions. IBM has demonstrated market share leadership in all-flash arrays and software defined storage platforms and continues to expand its offerings and overall business value to clients. IBM FlashSystem™ helps clients make better data driven decisions faster.

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