SSD vs HDD RAID in Servers and Storage

SSDs in servers deliver performance, whether measured in IOPS or GBps or latency, that is just plain impossible with disks. SSD capacity is now greater than that of performance disks. Price is the factor that still keeps many organizations away from deploying servers with SSD storage when the improved performance is not a significant benefit. The better reliability of SSD might be more important. Continue reading SSD vs HDD RAID in Servers and Storage

Observations on NVMe SSDs in Server Applications

NVMe SSDs offer a direct PCI express connection to storage, skipping the overhead and latency that comes with assuming that storage is rotating media when it is really SSD. Individually, NVMe SSDs offer a significant performance advantage over SATA SSDs. Over the last year, ION has invested much time and energy in benchmarking the performance of NVMe SSDs in servers. In practice, the applications Continue reading Observations on NVMe SSDs in Server Applications

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

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

Storage Sizing for Capacity and Performance

Or, How Many Eggs in One Basket? Huge storage systems are available today supporting large numbers of disks, allowing the creation of massive storage resources.  Storage Servers and storage enclosures suporting up to (60) 3.5″ disk drives are now common.  Filling those bays with 6TB disks yields a system with 360TB raw capacity – one third of a petabyte!  That is now an easy Continue reading Storage Sizing for Capacity and Performance

Spinning Rust is (almost) Dead, Part 3, SSD Price vs. Performance

Finally, we get to the question, “What replaces hard disk drives?” As many people already know, the answer is solid state disks or SSDs. SSDs are made today to fit the shape, size and interfaces used by hard disk drives (HDDs), but they consist mostly of Flash memory instead of spinning rust, plus a controller and some RAM for buffering, just like a rotating Continue reading Spinning Rust is (almost) Dead, Part 3, SSD Price vs. Performance

Spinning Rust is (almost) Dead, Part 2, Disk Drive Physics

That brings us back to spinning rust. To understand the limitations of rotating hard disk drives, it is important to understand the technology.  With a basic grasp of how a disk drive works, the mechanical limitations  quickly become obvious. If you are accessing data sequentially in big long chunks, where the disk can read an entire track, move over just one track and read Continue reading Spinning Rust is (almost) Dead, Part 2, Disk Drive Physics

Spinning Rust is (Almost) Dead, Part 1, The Pace of Technology

“Spinning rust?” you may say? Yes, rust, or another iron oxide, is the ferromagnetic coating on the platters spinning inside every hard disk drive.  To read and write your data an actuator arm, driven by a separate motor moves a tiny recording head over each platter surface, flying on a microscopic layer of air to change the magnetic polarization one bit at a time.  Continue reading Spinning Rust is (Almost) Dead, Part 1, The Pace of Technology