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SSD and Storage System Performance

December 6, 2009 – 10:58 pm

Jacob Gsoedl has a new article over at SearchStorage titled How to add solidstate storage to your enterprise data storage systems.

In his article which includes some commentary by me, Jacob lays out various options on where and how to deploy solid state devices (SSD) in and with enterprise storage systems.

While many vendors have jumped on the latest SSD bandwagon adding flash based devices to storage systems, where and how they implement the technologies varies.

Some vendors take a simplistic approach of qualify flash SSD devices for attachment to their storage controllers similar to how any other Fibre Channel, SAS or SATA hard disk drive (HDD) would be.

Yet others take a more in depth approach including optimizing controller software, firmware or micro code to leverage flash SSD devices along with addressing wear leveling, read and write performance among other capabilities.

Performance is another area where on paper a flash SSD device might appear to be fast and enable a storage system to be faster.

However, systems that are not optimized for higher throughput and or increased IOPs needing lower latency may end up placing restrictions on the number of flash SSD devices or other configuration constraints. Even worse is when expected performance improvements are not realized as after all, fast controllers need fast devices, and fast devices need fast controllers.

RAM and flash based SSD are great enabling technologies for boosting performance, productivity and enabling a green efficient environment however do your homework.

Look at how various vendors implement and support SSD particularly flash based products with enhancements to storage controllers for optimal performance.

Likewise check out the activity of  the SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI) among other industry trade group or vendor initiatives around enhancing along with best practices for SSD.

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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