Saturday, December 18, 2010

New way of designing storage – Tier Less, Cache More!

The traditional way of designing storage was to create ‘tiers’ with high performance, expensive disks for critical, frequently used data and low cost , large capacity disks for less critical data.  However, over the time , data becomes more or less critical and then it has to be moved from one tier to another , which is time consuming, costly and requires change in processes.  This traditional way cannot deliver the speed of response and diverse service levels required by the business.
Flexible IT services are enabled by ‘Intelligent caching’, which enables people to better manage data with improved price/performance.
Intelligent caching lets you create a large pool of shared storage divided into virtual classes of service rather than create many hard-to-manage tiers. The cache inside the large pool of storage is dynamic, so the most important data remains in cache automatically. The cache can be set as big or small as required.
With intelligent caching, flash memory can be used intelligently to optimize performance as needed. IF flash memory is coupled with cost effective high capacity SATA drives to manage capacity requirements, then lesser number of high performance expensive disks will be required.  Moreover different levels of service can be managed virtually, which increases flexibility and  speed of response.
NEtapp is driving this initiative of Flash Cache + Sata drives.  Their finding indicate that the cost of storage capacity with Flash cache and SATA Drive configuration was lower by 56% per Terabyte than that of the baseline configuration. The performance of this combination was comparable to that provided with a  configuration  with Fiber channel disk drives.
Also the Flash + SATA combination uses 2/3 less power and 59% less rack space.

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