Which Enterprise HDDs for Content Server Platform

April 25, 2016 – 2:49 pm

Which Enterprise HDDs to use for a Content Server Platform

server storage I/O trends

Which enterprise HDD to use with a content server platform
Insight for effective server storage I/O decision making
Server StorageIO Lab Review

Which enterprise HDD to use for content servers

This post is the first in a multi-part series based on a white paper hands-on lab report I did compliments of Equus Computer Systems and Seagate that you can read in PDF form here. The focus is looking at the Equus Computer Systems (www.equuscs.com) converged Content Solution platforms with Seagate Enterprise Hard Disk Drive (HDD‘s). I was given the opportunity to do some hands-on testing running different application workloads with a 2U content solution platform along with various Seagate Enterprise 2.5” HDD‘s handle different application workloads. This includes Seagate’s Enterprise Performance HDD’s with the enhanced caching feature.

Issues And Challenges

Even though Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) including NAND flash solid state devices (SSDs) have become popular storage for use internal as well as external to servers, there remains the need for HDD’s Like many of you who need to make informed server, storage, I/O hardware, software and configuration selection decisions, time is often in short supply.

A common industry trend is to use SSD and HDD based storage mediums together in hybrid configurations. Another industry trend is that HDD’s continue to be enhanced with larger space capacity in the same or smaller footprint, as well as with performance improvements. Thus, a common challenge is what type of HDD to use for various content and application workloads balancing performance, availability, capacity and economics.

Content Applications and Servers

Fast Content Needs Fast Solutions

An industry and customer trend are that information and data are getting larger, living longer, as well as there is more of it. This ties to the fundamental theme that applications and their underlying hardware platforms exist to process, move, protect, preserve and serve information.

Content solutions span from video (4K, HD, SD and legacy streaming video, pre-/post-production, and editing), audio, imaging (photo, seismic, energy, healthcare, etc.) to security surveillance (including Intelligent Video Surveillance [ISV] as well as Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance [ISR]). In addition to big fast data, other content solution applications include content distribution network (CDN) and caching, network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined network (SDN), to cloud and other rich unstructured big fast media data, analytics along with little data (e.g. SQL and NoSQL database, key-value stores, repositories and meta-data) among others.

Content Solutions And HDD Opportunities

A common theme with content solutions is that they get defined with some amount of hardware (compute, memory and storage, I/O networking connectivity) as well as some type of content software. Fast content applications need fast software, multi-core processors (compute), large memory (DRAM, NAND flash, SSD and HDD’s) along with fast server storage I/O network connectivity. Content-based applications benefit from having frequently accessed data as close as possible to the application (e.g. locality of reference).

Content solution and application servers need flexibility regarding compute options (number of sockets, cores, threads), main memory (DRAM DIMMs), PCIe expansion slots, storage slots and other connectivity. An industry trend is leveraging platforms with multi-socket processors, dozens of cores and threads (e.g. logical processors) to support parallel or high-concurrent content applications. These servers have large amounts of local storage space capacity (NAND flash SSD and HDD) and associated I/O performance (PCIe, NVMe, 40 GbE, 10 GbE, 12 Gbps SAS etc.) in addition to using external shared storage (local and cloud).

Where To Learn More

What This All Means

Fast content applications need fast content and flexible content solution platforms such as those from Equus Computer Systems and HDD’s from Seagate. Key to a successful content application deployment is having the flexibility to hardware define and software defined the platform to meet your needs. Just as there are many different types of content applications along with diverse environments, content solution platforms need to be flexible, scalable and robust, not to mention cost effective.

Continue reading part two of this multi-part series here where we look at how and what to test as well as project planning.

Ok, nuff said

Cheers
Gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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