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Flash tech powers cloud storage and gives enterprises a boost

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Requirement: Availability and reliability

For service providers looking for a storage platform, high availability is clearly one of the top requirements. Most cloud IaaS providers’ SLAs are based on minimum availability guarantees, meaning storage must operate without disruption in the event of outages or planned maintenance activities.

Unfortunately, many early flash storage offerings have been built around single controller systems, and have lacked the availability features needed to meet these requirements. Nimbus Data Systems, a provider of all-flash arrays, is addressing availability with a dual-active, redundant controller architecture designed to eliminate single points of failure. A companion set of capabilities, such as hot-swappable flash modules and nondisruptive capacity expansion, are in place to prevent outages due to planned maintenance activities. Just as important from a reliability and durability perspective, Nimbus uses enterprise-grade enterprise multi-level cell (eMLC) NAND silicon for an extended life 10 times better than MLC flash chips.

SolidFire, an all-solid-state drive (SSD) vendor that recently emerged from stealth mode, also has a system architected for high availability. The company’s clustered, scale-out storage system employs storage virtualization to spread volumes across the entire drive pool and its Helix technology to replicate data. If a node or drive suffers a hardware failure or needs to be taken offline,

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the affected data is instantly re-replicated across the cluster, allowing processing to continue without disruption.

This was first published in May 2012

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