|will SSDs end
bottlenecks? - and cure all my server problems?|
|by Zsolt Kerekes,
editor - February 2012|
Because I've been involved with the
subject of enterprise SSDs so long I sometimes find it hard to appreciate the
problems that newcomers experience when they first encounter the topic.
Judging by the emails I get - SSD newcomers sometimes conjure up imaginary
problems (and solutions) which aren't really there - or (just as often) they
don't see obvious (to me) pitfalls and dead-ends - because the outcomes
predicted by the product descriptions are cloaked in
jargon which only
experts aapreciate. (And
every word and
every concept matters and factors into the product cost and usefulness -
even in the simplest SSDs.)
Now to be fair - the enterprise SSD market
is the most complicated and confusing subject in the computer market - and even
many so called "storage experts" fail to see clearly what's going on -
because SSDs are about a lot more than just storage.
In a recent dialog
with a reader who was asking about a particular rackmount SSD supplier - I
introduced my concept of enterprise
SSD market silos.
There will be
7 distinct silos in the
pure SSD datacenter of the future.
Vendors - who by design (or
accident) - offer products which match the spec and price contours of those
silos - will have advantages over competitors whose products do too much, too
little or don't match the requirements in other dimensions (like physical size
For a top level view of these segments refer to the summary
on the right on of this page.
I've been talking to SSD company founders
and investors about my enterprise SSD silo classifications for about 2 years -
having introduced the concept in my petabyte
SSD roadmap article.
But unless you spend all your time thinking about the future of the SSD market -
and new SSD designs - you won't understand 80% of what we talk about.
know that whatever I say or write about this roadmap topic - many of the
concepts that are clear to me - will make as much sense to most people as
explanations of string theory and Higgs boson.
Analogies can't help
guide you through complex decision making either.
All they can do is
alert you to the possibility that something which looks deceptively simple from
the outside may be more complicated and have serious repercussions if you make
the wrong vendor choice.
- having given up on referring to architecture and market models - here's what I
said earlier today about the SSD silo concept to a reader. Some of you may
find it helpful too.
will SSDs end bottlenecks? - and cure all my
A good way to think about what SSDs will do in
the 100 per cent SSD enterprise - is to set the limits for how an enterprise
can repurpose, leverage and monetize its data - and increase process efficiency
by analyzing and anticipating customer demands in real-time.
Bottlenecks in the pure SSD datacenter will be much more serious than
in the HDD world - because responding slowly will be equivalent to transaction
And in the pure SSD storage world there will be multiple levels in the
driven factory of the future where SSDs which solve a bottleneck or logjam
at one level - have a cascade effect which eventually creates new bottlenecks
somewhere else - which are impsoble to fix - except by using more SSDs. That's
why SSD ASAPs
and RAM SSDs are both
permanent building blocks in the pure SSD storage architecture model - and not
just transient products (from the market life point of view) which work with
HDD arrays (ASAPs) or which have survived in some lost world which didn't feel
the impact of enterprise flash (RAM SSDs).
Having the wrong SSDs in the
wrong places will be like having a skyscraper with insufficient escalators to
move the workforce in and out each business day.
If the workers in the corporate tower can't get in and out of their
offices in a reasonable time - they might as well stay at home.
right data can't get to the right place exactly when it's needed it might as
well not exist. And the enterprise which depends on that data will cease to be
And - finally - although it seems obvious to say this - if the
bottlenecks in your server system weren't originally caused by the throughput,
latency and IOPS of your storage system - but maybe by some badly written
software or insufficient CPU power or network bandwidth - or some other limiting
factor in the apps architecture - then the SSDs won't solve the problems - they
may just make them more obvious.
SSD ASAPs news
Tuning SANs with SSDs
the Business Case for
SSD ASAPs (Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage)
sudden power loss|
|Why should you care
what happens in an SSD when the power goes down? |
This important design
feature - which barely rates a mention in most SSD datasheets and press releases
- has a strong impact on
SSD data integrity
This article will help you understand why some
SSDs which (work perfectly well in one type of application) might fail in
others... even when the changes in the operational environment appear to be