The age of the NUC miniPC

How big does a PC need to be? A popular and well-reviewed small form factor PC with a disk, an optical drive and NO slots in early 2017 measures 10.5″x4″x15″=630 cubic inches.  How many users ever add boards or drives to a PC after they buy it?  Then why so big? An ION® NUC7 miniPC is 4.53″x4.37″ with a height of 1.4″ or 2″.  Continue reading The age of the NUC miniPC

Observations on NVMe SSDs in Server Applications

2019 Update: Intel Xeon Scalable Processors have added significant support for NVMe SSDs.  We believe that these improvements make NVMe SSDs the high performance storage approach of choice, but have not yet been able to complete testing of that theory.  Our recommendations at this point are to use NVMe where performance matters.  And where the highest level of performance with the lowest possible latency Continue reading Observations on NVMe SSDs in Server Applications

Thin Provisioning: Nondeterministic Storage Feature #2

Much of modern storage management focuses on efficient use and allocation of storage capacity.  “Thin provisioning” is a primary mechanism for this, allocating just enough space to match each consumer‘s current needs, while promising more capacity when needed.  Thin provisioning is an effective tool for allocation of storage capacity.  When latency, bandwidth and IOPS are more important, thin provisioning makes these performance results nondeterministic.  Continue reading Thin Provisioning: Nondeterministic Storage Feature #2

Cache: Nondeterministic Storage Feature #1

Every producer of storage software (including what is hidden inside of “hardware”) has spent years and many engineering hours developing their cache algorithms.  Disks have cache; controllers have cache; subsystems have cache; operating systems have cache.  The better the algorithm is, the better the ratio of cache hits to cache misses.  Ultimately though, the decision of what to have in cache is a guess.  Continue reading Cache: Nondeterministic Storage Feature #1

Disk-Impossible File Server

ION® Computer Systems, Inc. recently published benchmark results for its SR-71mach5 SpeedServer™ running Microsoft® Windows® Server 2012 R2 with the SMB 3.1 protocol.  Yes, the performance is “Disk-Impossible!”.  A single 2U “mach5” system costing under $80k served 64kB random reads at 10 Gigabytes per second and delivered 8kB random reads at 1 million Input/Output Operations per second.  Average latency as low as 1ms was Continue reading Disk-Impossible File Server

SR-71mach5 SpeedServer

ION recently launched it’s flagship SR-71mach5 SpeedServer™ which continues to deliver on the SR-71 legacy of all-SSD storage for “disk-impossible performance”.  This new server incorporates new technology throughout yielding more processor cores, more and faster memory and much more random I/O performance. Standard processors in the “mach5” are two 12-core 2.6GHz Intel® Xeon® E5-2690 V3, but the full Xeon E5-2600V3 processor lineup is available.  Continue reading SR-71mach5 SpeedServer

Open-E DSS V7 iSCSI Targets on SR-71mach4 SpeedServer™

Open-E posted it’s certification of the ION SR-71mach4 SpeedServer on 23 June 2014. The Open-E Certification process focuses on functionality and stability, efficiency and usability.  Additional benchmark by ION testing demonstrated iSCSI target performance with Open-E DSS V7 doing random I/O at almost 8GBps or up to 375,000 IOPS or latency as low as 0.42ms.  All-SSD iSCSI targets enable a wide range of high-performance Continue reading Open-E DSS V7 iSCSI Targets on SR-71mach4 SpeedServer™

Server Boot

Is there any good reason remaining to use anything other than mirrored (RAID 1) SSDs for server boot drives? A recent conversation got me thinking about this subject. So far, no reasons have come to mind. More and more servers are virtualized every month, but even as that trend progresses, more physical servers are being deployed, too, and they need to boot from something. Continue reading Server Boot

SSD RAID

There are many opinions on the benefits and liabilities of SSD RAID floating around the Internet; ION’s experience with SSD RAID differs dramatically from some of it.  ION’s SR-71mach4 SpeedServer™ is a server and storage platform optimized for and with SSD RAID.  This article shares some observations on the performance and endurance of SSDs in RAID usage, and examines and compares performance in different Continue reading SSD RAID

Server Economics

Not every server needs 20 cores of Intel Xeon processor or 128GB RAM or 36TB RAID storage.  There are certainly applications that deserve a dedicated server with two or four cores, a few gigabytes of RAM and a small boot drive.  But are there decisions where a little more planning and expense before deployment extends the life of a server – or adds a Continue reading Server Economics