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Memory & Storage

SSDs in the Data Center: Managing High-Value Data With SSDs in the Mix

Data-center class SSDs are a necessity for high-value data, or ‘hot’ data, that is being searched, processed or indexed regularly. This might be a database, unstructured data or collections of files, where the data is not only important but it requires the fastest possible access since various applications are searching through it, processing it or performing changes to it. When making hundreds of thousands or millions of individual changes, the time required for each individual change can have a large impact on the overall time required. The storage needed for such tasks must not only have excellent performance, it must be able to deliver that performance continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Whether for e-commerce, the Internet of Things, event management, big data or online transaction processing, high-value data can stress storage hardware to the max, even with SSDs in the mix. Quality of service (QoS) is critical for data center systems and should reflect a consistent, reliable level of performance, as even short periods of non-responsiveness are unacceptable in environments with high-value data. QoS can be implemented at several levels, whether using the operating system’s capabilities with internal drives, using storage management software or using the capabilities of an external data-center storage system.

Integrating SSDs Into Your Data Center

Data-center class SSDs such as the Samsung PM863a and SM863a offer high speed, low latency and the ability to run at full speed at all times in demanding applications. While data-center class SSDs may appear to be relatively expensive compared to HDDs or even consumer-class SSDs, when compared on a simple dollars per gigabyte basis, there are a number of technologies that can reduce the overall cost for data center SSDs, including automated tiering, deduplication and compression.

Managing High-Value Data with SSDs

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These are available in server operating systems such as Windows Server 2016 and in various storage softwares. These technologies can increase the effective capacity of storage by an average of 3x-5x, and as much as 100x in some situations, using the extra performance of the SSDs.

Many storage systems intended for high-value data are all-flash, or hybrid flash and HDD, rather than solely HDD-based systems. Other systems may have multiple tiers of storage, for instance, a super-fast NVMe SSD tier, a fast SSD tier and a high-capacity HDD tier. Since different levels and tiers can offer varying benefits, it may take some research to see what type of flash configuration is best suited for specific enterprise applications. Additionally, these options for flash configurations can provide flexibility for data processing as mixed data evolves over time.

These systems use high-performance SSDs, and use the same techniques of tiering, deduplication and compression, but implemented at a system-wide level, to increase the effective capacity of storage to offset the cost of flash vs. HDD-based storage. These systems also have a QoS system that can prioritize data based on the location, type of data or how often it is accessed. The hottest data may be moved to the fastest type of storage, or compressed to fit more data into the fast tier.

Ultimately, using SSDs to address the needs of high-value data can bring users the benefits of easy data access, real-time data processing and hardware that can keep pace with ever-evolving, transformative data. Especially in today’s data-drenched business world, it’s important to ensure that your technology is up to date and is able to deliver the most optimized performance for daily operations.

Find more information on the improved storage capacities of SSDs.

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Logan Harbaugh

Logan Harbaugh is an IT consultant and reviewer. He has worked in IT for over 20 years, and was a senior contributing editor with InfoWorld Labs as well as a senior technology editor at Information Week Labs. He has written reviews of enterprise IT products including storage, network switches, operating systems, and more for many publications and websites, including Storage Magazine, TechTarget.com, StateTech, Information Week, PC Magazine and Internet.com. He is the author of two books on network troubleshooting.

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