As a consultant I get to play with some cool, cutting-edge technologies. However, I have yet to get my hands on a half-petabyte storage array, consisting of only flash drives:
"On the 12-hour flight from Zurich to San Francisco, the two scientists plotted out the fastest way to install and setup the two racks -- each filled with 240 terabytes of Flash provided by Texas Memory Systems (an acquisition IBM completed in October 2012), as well as 10 IBM Power 730 Express servers.
demonstration marks a tipping point for transactional workloads. It's the first
time Flash storage has outperformed hard disks in all aspects, including capacity
and performance density, and cost per Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS)
and energy efficiency,' Ioannis said.
"By the numbers, the two achieved a remarkable feat: the IBM Flash System 820 achieved more than 6 million IOPS running an IBM DB2 workload on IBM Power servers.
"'In terms of energy our system runs on 19 kilowatts compared to 4.5 megawatts with high capacity hard disks, a 236 fold improvement,' Nikolas said."
This article points to IBM's claim that flash "can speed the response times of information gathering in servers and storage systems from milliseconds to microseconds – orders of magnitude faster. Because it contains no moving parts, the technology is also more reliable, durable and more energy efficient than spinning hard drives." According to the article, by year end IBM will open 12 "flash competency centers" worldwide for the purpose of introducing its customers to the technology.
A solution that uses less energy while providing massively
superior performance? Sign me up. Seriously, I'm hoping I can visit one of
those flash competency centers soon.
One more thing from this article:
"A deal has been announced between IBM and Sprint Nexel involving the installation of nine flash storage systems in Sprint's data centre, amounting to 150TB of flash capacity. Flash is used to accelerate Sprint Nexel's phone activation application and the company is expanding its use of the technology to other parts of the data centre. Sprint has a strategy to move its most active data to all-flash storage systems."Even on home systems, I've seen huge performance gains when going with solid-state drives (SSD) compared to hard disk drives (HDD). Although SSD costs are still higher, they seem to be dropping, and (knock on wood) I have yet to experience a failure with my drives.
Perhaps you can get your toes wet with something like this:
"Storwize V7000 includes
IBM System Storage Easy Tier, a function that responds to the presence of
[SSDs] in a storage pool that also contains [HDDs]. The system automatically
and non-disruptively moves frequently accessed data from HDD MDisks to SSD
MDisks, thus placing such data in a faster tier of storage.
"Easy Tier eliminates manual intervention when assigning highly active data on volumes to faster responding storage. In this dynamically tiered environment, data movement is seamless to the host application regardless of the storage tier in which the data resides. Manual controls exist so that you can change the default behavior, for example, such as turning off Easy Tier on storage pools that have both types of MDisks."
Some people use external HDD to store lots of media files, but rely on SSD for with their main system. Manually moving the larger, less frequently accessed files to another storage media is something I like to call "poor man’s tiering."
Is SSD indeed the future of storage? Is there something else I should be watching for?