Storage has long been the slowpoke of the enterprise. While server and networking devices have continually kicked I/O into high gear, storage has only recently begun to push down on the gas pedal.
The arrival of solid state changes that, however. For the first time, storage infrastructure can keep pace with its enterprise brethren, giving data and applications that demand top performance an end-to-end high-speed environment.
Naturally, these kinds of versatile infrastructures don't evolve on their own. It takes a coordinated balance of software and network support to ensure data can find the right storage tier at any given moment. This has given small firms like Assurance Storage a unique opportunity to tap leading storage environments with systems like the SmartTier storage management stack. The package provides automated data cache and tier management capabilities to guide high-I/O applications through solid-state and PCIe NAND Flash environments. The company says the system is optimized for dynamic data environments caused by the rise of virtualization and advanced data processing.
Enterprises are also increasing their use of DRAM for high-speed storage support, allowing companies like Kove to tailor increasingly powerful platforms for highly complex data environments. The company recently tied its XPD2 system to Versant's Object Database to provide a high-performance analytical solution for large data volumes. The XPD2 is a 4 U device that provides up to 2 TB of single or multiple file system storage.
Increased use of non-magnetic storage is also leading to changes on the network, as systems designers break down the barriers between traditional storage networking architectures or seek to do away with the SAN altogether.
Chelsio, for example, has combined its T4 10 GbE Ethernet Unified Wire Adapter set and its Unified Storage Software (USS) to increase the ability to integrate flash-based memory arrays into wider enterprise environments. The package provides advanced data management tools like thin provisioning, replication and snapshots on a low-profile platform that accommodates 1 and 10 GbE connectivity as well as PCIe Gen-2. The system can be managed from a single unified Web and command-line interface.
Meanwhile, Fusion-io and Nutanix have teamed up to create a new enterprise-class virtual scale-out storage platform that they say will lead to completely SAN-less data centers. The combo utilizes Nutanix' compute cluster solution and Fusion-io's ioMemory system to deliver upwards of 375,000 random write IOPS and 224 Gbps sequential read bandwidth across clusters of up to 50 nodes. With each Nutanix Complete Block containing four nodes in a 2U footprint, and each node having six-core Xeon processors, 48-192 GB of RAM and more than 5 TB of storage, the platform offers between 2x and 5x space reduction over traditional server/storage architectures.
It's a trend that will likely play out over the next decade at least, and ultimately deliver levels of performance that were undreamed of even a few short years ago.