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Caching software adds IOPS to solid-state storage

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A new category of storage software is emerging with apps that optimize solid-state storage to help increase I/O performance and fully realize the benefits of flash-based storage.

Balancing all the elements of a computing infrastructure is a bit like squeezing a balloon: push one side in and another side pops out. Throughout the evolution of computing, server, network and storage technologies have leapfrogged one another in terms of performance. As the technology of one component improves, the others become bottlenecks in the overall system performance.

When it comes to mechanical storage devices, however, it seems the Rubicon has been crossed. Although mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs) continue to be enhanced, most of the advances are in areal density. Capacities within a given form factor continue to improve significantly, yet increasingly, mechanical HDDs simply can’t keep up in terms of IOPS throughput. Fortunately, solid-state drive (SSD) technology has allowed storage to again jump ahead of server throughput requirements. Whereas a 600 GB 15K rpm SAS drive can deliver approximately 145 IOPS, a 512 GB SSD card can deliver 50,000 IOPS or so. While the SSD cost per GB is higher, its cost per IOPS is much lower.

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This was first published in October 2012

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