SDN Journal Authors: Daniel Gordon, John Walsh, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Sven Olav Lund

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Enabling High-Efficiency Storage Solutions

It’s essential for storage appliance software to be flash-aware and maximize SSDs for performance and HDDs for capacity

Increasing the I/O performance of next-generation data centers and cloud computing environments is essential for supporting enterprise e-commerce, database and email applications. To successfully deploy high-performance storage, it's essential for storage appliance software to be flash-aware and maximize solid-state drives (SSDs) for performance and hard disk drives (HDDs) for capacity, enabling an optimum price-performance storage solution.

With the explosive growth in and demand for information, next-generation data centers and cloud deployments require cost-effective storage solutions that provide end users with a high quality of service (QoS) in accessing and manipulating data. Usually, data centers - either corporate or cloud-based - run specific applications, such as database indexing and email exchanges. To provide a top QoS, these applications typically run on servers with high input/output operations per second (IOPS) and in turn provide access to data stored within the storage system.

As a general rule, the greater the number of users the higher the IOPS required from the storage system.

In this scenario, the I/O capacity will run out well before the storage capacity, so data center and cloud applications are required to add additional storage to aggregate performance. Storage systems have multiple applications working in the background to replicate data or manage its consistency. This practice results in low storage utilization and a complex data management scheme that increases the cost per user and cost per transaction of the storage deployment. Adding storage to scale for performance increases both capital and operating expenses, including power and cooling costs, and space requirements.

In general, SSDs can be used to alleviate performance bottlenecks within storage systems. Intelligently deploying SSDs to accelerate performance while also using HDDs for "cold storage" lowers systems' overall cost per gigabyte. This can be achieved by using file systems and software applications that are flash/SSD-aware. Modern file systems such as the Zetta File System (ZFS) are flash/SSD-aware and use SSDs to accelerate overall performance of the storage system.

ZFS is an enterprise-class file system that includes a built-in logical volume manager, along with reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) features such as RAID-5. ZFS uses SSDs for two purposes:

  1. As a low-latency write log (ZIL-ZFS intent log) to improve overall storage system performance
  2. As a high-IOPS read cache (L2ARC) to improve "hot data" placement and primary data access latency

The ZFS Hybrid Storage Pool (HSP) is a robust, scalable file system with features not available in other file systems today. One of its revolutionary features is that it allows you to combine DRAM, SSDs and HDDs into an accelerated storage medium (see Figure 1).

Adaptive replacement cache (ARC) lives in DRAM. It's the first destination for all data written to a ZFS pool and the fastest (lowest-latency) source for data read from a ZFS pool.

Figure 1: An HSP using ARC

When data is requested from ZFS, it first looks to the ARC; if it is there, it can be retrieved extremely fast (typically in nanoseconds) and provided back to the application. The contents of the ARC are balanced between the most recently used and most frequently used data.

Level-two ARC (L2ARC): the L2ARC lives in SSDs and, in concept, is an extension of the ARC. Without an L2ARC, data that could not fit in the ARC would have to be retrieved from HDDs when requested.

SSDs that best match the write-log and read-cache requirements of modern file system deployments will result in direct savings of the performance and storage capacity. In other words, any improvement in the performance of the storage system's I/O capabilities will increase the number of users per system and will reduce the cost per user.

SSDs such as the sTec 3.5" ZeusRAM or 2.5" s840Z are ideally suited to fulfill the write-log requirement, while SAS SSDs like the sTec s800 Series meet the read-cache demands, enabling industry-standard storage to be converted into cost-effective, high-performance storage appliances.

Using a RAM SSD as write-log (Zil) and a SAS SSD as read-cache (L2ARC) can improve overall storage system performance up to 500 percent while supporting 15x number of users when compared to an HDD-only deployment, thereby reducing the cost per user and per transaction.


More Stories By Unny Menon

Unny Menon is senior product manager at sTec, Inc., Santa Ana, Calif. He can be reached at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
Data scientists must access high-performance computing resources across a wide-area network. To achieve cloud-based HPC visualization, researchers must transfer datasets and visualization results efficiently. HPC clusters now compute GPU-accelerated visualization in the cloud cluster. To efficiently display results remotely, a high-performance, low-latency protocol transfers the display from the cluster to a remote desktop. Further, tools to easily mount remote datasets and efficiently transfer...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...