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Flash tech powers cloud storage and gives enterprises a boost

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Requirement: Scalability

While flash storage performance generally lived up to service providers’ expectations, scalability of flash systems didn’t.

With an eye on scalability requirements, Nimbus has designed its flash storage technology with service providers in mind. At 10 TB per rack unit, Nimbus offers one of the highest density primary storage systems on the market
today. Service providers can seamlessly add Nimbus enclosures to an existing array, so capacity can be added without forklift upgrades.

SolidFire clusters are also built for scalability, aggregating multiple storage nodes over an iSCSI-based, 10 Gbps Ethernet grid. The cluster scales linearly with each additional node, aggregating performance and capacity resources across all nodes. The company’s primary storage solution scales to 100 nodes, representing more than 1 PB of capacity.

Requirement: Operational efficiencies

In the highly competitive cloud service provider space, efficiency advantages can make or break profitability. Service providers are constantly looking for ways to pack more storage wallop into a smaller footprint, and to wring every last watt of power and BTU of cooling efficiency out of their arrays. Unfortunately, most flash storage offerings to date have fallen short of meeting those efficiency goals.

Nimbus’ approach delivers high-density flash storage with three times the density of 15K HDDs. A single Nimbus E-Class system

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can crank out the same level of performance using just 7% of the footprint of HDD storage. E-Class systems consume just 5W of power per terabyte, an 80% savings over conventional 15K disks.

For its part, SolidFire employs real-time inline deduplication and compression across all data to streamline capacity needs. All new capacity is thin provisioned. Leveraging the strengths of the scale-out clustered architecture, these capabilities enable SolidFire to achieve 85%-plus capacity utilization without performance degradation.

What this means for service providers (and enterprises)

Flash memory has the potential to take cloud storage availability, scalability and efficiency to a whole new level. Innovative players such as Nimbus Data Systems and SolidFire are bringing flash storage products to market that help realize the potential of solid-state storage.

BIO: Jeff Byrne is a senior analyst and consultant at Taneja Group. 

This was first published in May 2012

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