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Super Charge Your Storage with Solid State – Part 2 (Even legacy storage. Really!) Featured

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So how solid is solid state? If we look at the rapid adoption rate of solid state in general, it is a clear indication that we are jumping to the “early adopter” phase of the Everett Rogers model. This has been accelerated by the massive adoption of solid-state technology primarily in personal devices, led by the iPhone that consumes about 30 percent of the world’s NAND flash supply, which will most likely keep prices stable despite the increase in technology adoption.

At today’s price, a massive adoption of solid state storage in the data center is still not realistic, which begs the question of how can we best leverage the technology? FalconStor’s storage virtualization technology is allowing us to deliver a cost-effective deployment of solid-state storage to reap the benefits of the technology without the high price attached to it.

FalconStor® Network Storage Server (NSS) includes a technology referred to as “HotZone®.” HotZone technology is a caching mechanism that identifies data sets that are most requested and copies them to the solid-state layer for higher speed access and lower latency. HotZone tracks the I/O profile of data and intelligently decides which data sets to copy to the high-performance layer based on the frequency of access of that data set and the rank of the application requesting it.

Typically solid-state disk (SSD) is implemented as a higher tier of storage within a storage array. Data is moved to the SSD tier either manually or automatically by monitoring data access patterns over time and, based on the level of activity of a certain data set, moving that data set or volume to a higher tier. You can see this approach in storage systems from storage vendors such as EMC, Compellent and others. This approach is expensive in terms of both resources and capacity, as additional capacity has to be reserved for data movement at each tier of the storage infrastructure. In addition, moving data consumes CPU cycles, so this process cannot run during peak storage demand times. Furthermore, the main purpose of automatic data tiering is to have the data most likely to be accessed residing on the highest performance storage. This could be very hard to predict, and the data could be moved after the requirement has already passed.

In contrast, HotZone technology can quickly, intelligently and proactively respond to heavy I/O requests of a specific application or any workload serviced by the FalconStor NSS infrastructure. Instead of moving data, HotZone® copies data to the high-performance solid-state tier, allowing it to react to heavy I/O requests very quickly. HotZone® allows administrators to prioritize specific workloads and combines the priority ranking with the data access frequency to decide which data sets take priority to be copied to the solid-state tier.

The key benefit of what FalconStor is offering is the possibility to implement this in any existing environment, eliminating the need to rip and replace or to upgrade to the latest and greatest frameware and hardware. Adding a relative amount of solid state to an existing SAN that doesn’t go beyond 5 percent can improve your SAN performance by two to three times. HotZone® will turbo charge your storage with a minimal investment.

Fadi Albatal

Fadi Albatal

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