Which Enterprise HDD to use for a Content Server Platform
Which enterprise HDD to use with a content server platform?
Insight for effective server storage I/O decision making
Server StorageIO Lab Review
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.
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
- Part 1 of this series – Trends and Content Application Servers
- Part 2 of this series – Content application server decisions and testing plans
- Part 3 of this series – Test hardware and software configuration
- Part 4 of this series – Large file I/O processing
- Part 5 of this series – Small file I/O processing
- Part 6 of this series – General I/O processing
- Part 7 of this series – How HDD continue to evolve over different generations and wrap up
- As the platters spin, HDD’s for cloud, virtual and traditional storage environments
- How many IOPS can a HDD, HHDD or SSD do?
- Hard Disk Drives (HDD) for Virtual Environments
- Server and Storage I/O performance and benchmarking tools
- Additional Server StorageIO White Papers and Lab Reports, Solutions Briefs and Profiles, Tips and Articles
- PDF White Paper version of this post
- www.thenvmeplace.com and www.thessdplace.com
Additional learning experiences along with common questions (and answers), as well as tips can be found in Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials book.
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, for now.
Greg Schulz – Microsoft MVP Cloud and Data Center Management, VMware vExpert 2010-2017 (vSAN and vCloud). Author of Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials (CRC Press), as well as Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and twitter @storageio. Courteous comments are welcome for consideration. First published on https://storageioblog.com any reproduction in whole, in part, with changes to content, without source attribution under title or without permission is forbidden.
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