Feeds

PCIe flashers bash storage networks

They slow you down, man

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Blocks & Files A sea change in storage industry thinking is occurring: storage networks are now seen as slowing down access to data. The PCIe flash DAS hare beats SAN and NAS tortoises every day of the week.

We can call PCIe flash "storage memory" if we wish, but it's basically very fast direct-access storage, a closely-coupled data bucket. Who cares whether we call it a new form of memory? The main thing is: it gives applications in servers much faster access to stored data than if it was stored on networked disk.

A disk can do 250 or so IOPS. Flash can do hundreds of thousands of IOPS. That's it, game over, Flash DAS rules, okay! But this overarching message obscures networked storage's advantages where many servers need to share data (NAS) or a large storage resource (SAN).

The networked storage problem, when compared to flash DAS, is twofold: disks have seek time latency as well as low IOPS rates, and the network adds its own latency to compound things. Solid state drives (SSDs) in a networked array have the same network latency problem, although they have the IOPS rate advantage over disk.

In truth network latency is not the evil ogre in networked storage access; the real (twin) ogres are disk seek times and low IOPS numbers. In sequential I/O, disks are plenty fast, but in today's world IOPS seem to be rated more highly than MB/sec.

Virtualised multi-core, multi-threaded servers are impatient. They want data for the apps in their virtual machine instantly. It's odd; now that CPU cycles are cheaper than ever before, they are treated as the most precious resource in the data centre.

It is all about time and cloud computing and centralisation of application software. We are turning servers into the computing equivalent of drag racers and the fuel (data) feeds to their engines are being tuned and tweaked to pour data into them faster than ever before. As car engines moved from carburettors to direct fuel injection so servers running random I/O-bound apps are moving from storage networks to PCIe flash.

Downstream the focus is moving to networked storage arrays, now becoming flash-enhanced storage arrays and even all-flash storage arrays, getting better at serving PCIe flash. Here too, network latency may well become the villain of the piece, prompting general moves to 16Gbit/s Fibre Channel and 40Gbit/s Ethernet.

Whatever delays data access is evil, that's current storage thinking – and PCIe flash is the storage industry's Great New Hope. But for how long? ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
The cloud that goes puff: Seagate Central home NAS woes
4TB of home storage is great, until you wake up to a dead device
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Intel offers ingenious piece of 10TB 3D NAND chippery
The race for next generation flash capacity now on
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
SAVE ME, NASA system builder, from my DEAD WORKSTATION
Anal-retentive hardware nerd in paws-on workstation crisis
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.