Using Solid State Drives for Enterprise Storage
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Solid-state drives, those "hard drives" that are actually memory-based and retain the data after the computer is powered down, are finding greater acceptance in the enterprise than anywhere else. Enterprises can never have enough speed but do have too much heat and power drain, and SSDs address all three problems. Enterprise Storage Forum digs into this and all of the issues surrounding enterprise SSD storage.
Flashed-based solid-state drives (SSDs) are becoming a big issue for enterprise storage users; a number of customers I work with are planning for this new "tier 0" data storage for a number of reasons. It could be as simple as IOPS per watt, IOPS per dollar, or for some applications, bandwidth per GB/sec of storage.
SSDs have a number of disadvantages compared to traditional disk storage, the biggest by far being cost. There are those who claim that spinning hard drives will soon be a thing of the past because of flash SSDs, but I can't see that happening anytime soon, and if it does, the devices that replace spinning hard drives will not be based on flash and won't appear much before the end of this decade (see I/O Bottlenecks: Biggest Threat to Data Storage). Vendors have been claiming tape is dead for the last 20 years, but it continues to play a big role in data protection schemes. There will always be tiers of storage, it seems.
This is the first in a three-part series on planning for flash SSD deployment. The first article will cover applications that will benefit from flash, along with some of file system and other issues for deployment. The second article will cover hardware issues, and the third will cover SSD design issues and their use with SAS and RAID controllers.
We all know that parts of some applications, such as databases, benefit from high IOPS architectures, but what should you be considering when trying to bring flash SSDs into your architecture?