Advertorial: Three Things You Should Consider When Buying Flash Storage

Applications of flash storage are poised for explosive growth, thanks to increasingly lower-priced and higher-capacity Solid-State Disks (SSDs). In fact, the newest generation of 3D NAND flash technology has now reduced the cost of a single SSD to less than US$1 per gigabyte.

All-flash storage benefits IT systems in many ways:

  • It improves user experience.
  • All-flash storage reduces Operations and Maintenance (O&M) costs.
  • All-flash storage supports discovery of new business opportunities.

Considering the significant potential impact on your business, the decision to build an all-flash data center should not be taken lightly. When the time comes to make the switch to all-flash, here are three crucial points to keep in mind:

1. Hardware architecture should offer large capacity and efficient data exchange

(Foto: Huawei)

In the past 10 years, SSD performance has seen a 4,000-fold improvement, but CPU performance is only about 20 times better. The bottleneck at data centers lies in CPU utilization, because it reaches 90 percent or higher when only a dozen disks are used. To get the most out of SSD performance, the latest CPU must be used to meet business requirements. Only with the right all-flash hardware architecture can these needs be met.

The use of SSDs drives demand for larger cache capacity. Data on SSDs is scattered. As a result, corresponding metadata increases as storage data grows. In particular, after de-duplication and compression are enabled, metadata must be frequently invoked and fingerprints must be compared before data is flushed. In the cache, more and more metadata is stored. Therefore, every all-flash array must offer a cache with large capacity.

High-speed interconnection between controllers is also necessary. Data exchange channels must be efficient enough for all-flash storage to be fully utilized in the multi-controller layout. Therefore, most storage controllers are interconnected using PCIe 3.0 to improve switching bandwidth.

2. All-flash data centers need software architecture designed for all-flash storage

(Foto: Huawei)

All-flash storage requires an end-to-end all-flash architecture design, including flash-oriented CPU multi-core optimization, cache-adaptive algorithms, link transmission optimization, SSD scheduling algorithms, and drive optimization. Without these elements, in-depth software-hardware integration is out of the question. Proper all-flash software architecture allows storage controllers to intelligently sense each SSD’s data layout, enables both controllers and SSDs to adjust data layouts and I/O priorities as needed, and leverages disk and controller algorithms to deliver optimal performance.

In addition to SSD performance, the cost effectiveness of de-duplication and compression must be considered. De-duplication and compression greatly reduce the amount of physical storage space needed, and alleviate investment, environment, and maintenance pressures. Both de-duplication and compression can also effectively reduce the number of write times and amounts of data written to hosts, prolonging the service life of SSDs and protecting storage investments.

3. Strong security and reliability are critical to centralized data access

(Foto: Huawei)

First, check whether underlying virtualization technology is used and whether physical SSDs can be logically scattered and effectively organized. These features prevent permanent data loss caused by time-consuming data reconstruction using traditional RAID groups. Underlying virtualization technology enables all drives in the SSD group to simultaneously reconstruct data if one SSD is faulty, instead of reconstructing data on a single hot-spare drive. This approach dramatically shortens reconstruction time. Currently, only HPE and Huawei are capable of offering this technology Huawei’s all-flash storage can reconstruct one terabyte of capacity in just 30 minutes. That is ten times faster than traditional storage.

Next, check whether the architecture can provide multi-controller redundancy. In other words, if multiple controllers on a single engine fail, can service continuity be ensured? Only HDS and Huawei currently offer this capability.

Finally, check whether the active-active solution is simple and reliable:

  • Is gateway-free SAN and NAS integration used? This type of integration can reduce faults and latency while cutting procurement costs.
  • Does the solution enable active-active access, rather than active-passive? Using active-active systems can implement rapid site failovers and achieve RTO ≈ 0, and RPO = 0.
  • Is simple networking mode used? IP or FC networking can meet the requirements of different users. NetApp and Huawei are the only vendors in the industry that can implement this architecture.

The Ideal Choice for Mission-Critical Business

Considering hardware architecture, software architecture, and reliability, only one solution available checks all the boxes: Huawei OceanStor all-flash storage.

A storage system specially designed for flash storage, OceanStor boasts both industry-leading reliability and superior performance. Equipped with SmartMatrix 2.0 (enhanced intelligent switching matrix), this storage system features full redundancy with four controllers in a single engine. In addition, the Gateway-Free, HyperMetro-based Active-Active Solution ensures 24/7 uninterrupted services and a latency of less than 1 millisecond. With OceanStor, you can rest assured that your data center is supported by the best in the industry.