Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Derek Weeks, Automic Blog, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Zero Hour for Tier Zero Storage

How can OEMs reduce cost but deliver the random IOPS performance that their customers need?

Over the last three years, the market has been abuzz with the news that deduplication technology was going to change the economics of flash-based storage systems forever. In fact just recently, in his article War Between SSDs and HDDs Will Escalate Through 2016, industry analyst Ben Woo of Neuralytix, Inc. noted:

"In the next two to five years, the only way flash-based storage vendors can challenge HDD-based storage systems on price is by way of data efficiency. The cost per unit of storage ($/GB) of HDDs is still 1/10the cost of NAND flash. However, data efficiency technologies (such as deduplication and/or compression) from a variety of vendors are showing data efficiency ratios that are over 10:1. The cost of SSD storage media is now coming in line with the cost of high-end HDDs."

But the fact is, the performance of these all flash storage systems that provide dedupe has been pretty lackluster to date and, in particular, with regard to random writes. It's hard to find anyone capable of handling more than 150 thousand 4K IOPS on the market. Those vendors that do report faster numbers (and who claim to have dedupe) are often turning off their dedupe feature for published performance results (or worse, performing post-process write allocations that shorten the life of the flash). At the same time, some of these flash vendors are telling the industry that they're seeing 10:1 data reduction rates when applying optimization. When you factor in the cost savings for this deduplication rate, the jump in price between a midrange performance flash array (with dedupe) and a high end array (without dedupe) is extraordinary.

Effective Cost of Todays Flash Storage Systems Across 4K IOPS Random Write Thresholds

How can OEMs reduce cost but deliver the random IOPS performance that their customers need? The roadmaps from many vendors suggest this is possible, but as usual the answer comes down to how hard the technology is to build or buy. Storage engineers assure me that with enough time and available resources a vendor delivering a high-performance flash product can build their own deduplication by implementing block reference counting and fine-grained thin provisioning capabilities within their architecture and combining those with a modern high performance duplicate advisory index. And several vendors are building solutions that will be able to hit these numbers today. At least one component supplier even offers a ready-to-run device mapper driver for storage systems based on Linux.

None the less, vendors have been less than forthcoming with regard to the performance of their currently shipping products. Either they will have to step up and be more forthcoming with their own performance assessments or it will be left to IT organizations to measure performance themselves. Either way, we really need to standardize on a common tool for evaluation and share the results. The open source Flexible IO Tester (fio) utility, that's developed and maintained by Jens Axboe over at Fusion-io, is an ideal candidate. There are several tests that should be considered when using this tool.

  1. Use the libaio engine to measure both sequential and random reads and writes as well as mixed workloads.
  2. Analyze workloads with a range of queue depths from 1 to 1024 and run the tool with varying numbers of simultaneous jobs.
  3. Test IOPS across multiple block sizes from 4K to 128K and understand how system performance varies with different sized IO requests.

In addition, there are several parameters to keep in mind when running the tests to prove you're seeing real, not baked numbers.

  1. To prevent deduplication from giving the implementation an unfair performance advantage, fio allows evaluators to test vendor systems with dedupe turned on but generate pure random data (data which does not dedupe).
  2. Write tests should be performed first so as to fill the disk with data (thinly provisioned systems can actually appear to run faster than the underlying storage on read tests if you don't).
  3. Tests should be run over long durations so that the evaluator develops a good understanding of how performance might change over time.

What Data Optimization for Tier 0 Means to the Industry
High-end systems have tremendous value. They address workloads that the lower end just can't touch at a cost per IOP that is far lower than that of traditional spinning disk. With the coming of next-generation solutions with proper deduplication, cost/GB drops dramatically broadening its applicability in the enterprise.

Effective Cost of Today's Flash Storage Systems vs Next Generation Dedupe Reference Architecture Across 4K IOPS Random Write Thresholds

In the past, deduplication couldn't scale to meet the performance demands of Tier 0 storage tiers. This meant that the cost of a storage system capable of delivering even 175 thousand random write IOPS was effectively six times that of a system that could deliver 150 thousand. With these next-generation deduplication systems becoming available, that cost penalty for high performance storage goes away. Top tier vendors have no excuse for withholding these capabilities from their customers. The results above are proof that newer systems can deliver true high-end performance and the cost savings from data reduction at the same time. Once these technologies land in the market, it should be possible to buy Tier 0 storage at Tier 1 prices. As always, trust, but verify.

More Stories By Louis Imershein

As Senior Director of Product Strategy at Permabit Technology Corporation, Louis Imershein is responsible for product evolution and strategic planning for the Albireo family of products. He has 22 years of technical leadership experience in product management, software development and support. Prior to joining Permabit, Imershein was a Senior Product Marketing Manager for the Sun Microsystems Data Management Group. He has a Bachelor's degree in Biological Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence a...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...