Solid State Storage

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The Abstracts

Benefits of Solid State in Enterprise Storage
David Dale
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This is an update to a popular SNIA tutorial.  Targeted primarily at an IT audience, this session presents a brief overview of the solid state technologies which are being integrated into Enterprise Storage Systems today, including technologies, benefits, and price/performance.    It then goes on to describe where they fit into typical Enterprise Storage architectures today, with descriptions of specific use cases.    Finally the presentation speculates briefly on what the future will bring. 

The Why and How of SSD Performance Benchmarking
Esther Spanjer, Easen Ho
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Understand the full performance characteristics of a solid state drive are not as trivial and straightforward as it seems. Unfortunately, reviewing the product specifications or running some standard benchmark test suites do not always paint a clear picture of what an SSD is capable of.     A variety of parameters can influence the performance behavior of a solid state drive: current and previous workloads, fragmentation, block size, read/write mix, and queue depth to name a few. This problem was recognized by the SNIA organization and its Technical Working Group has worked on defining a Performance Test Specification that allows for performance benchmarking that result in repeatable and consistent test results. Following this test specification will allow engineers to compare different SSD devices on a consistent basis, as well as making sure that they choose the right SSD for their workload.   The Enterprise SSS PTS 1.0 has been published previously and is slowly gaining recognition, while its Client counterpart has been targeting an early summer release.  This presentation will provide an overview of the SNIA SSD Performance Test Specification for both client and enterprise SSDs, and provide illustrative examples and explain reporting requirements.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn which parameters influence the performance characteristic of a solid state drive. Test results will be shared to illustrate the influence of these parameters.
  • Understand of the SNIA Performance Test Specification for both client and enterprise SSDs. Topics that will be discussed include preconditioning, queue depth, idle tests, random vs. sequential test suites, etc.
  • Provide a step-by-step guidance on how to set up a test benchmark that creates equal results among the various SSD devices. Both software and hardware setup will be discussed."

PCLe SSD Storage Solution
Gary Kotzur
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PCIe flash cards have been shipping for over 2 years and there multiple vendors offering various capacities utilizing both SLC and MLC flash technology.   When they first arrived, the cards demonstrated performance that was several times faster than existing SSDs.   This was largely due to the higher performance of the PCIe interface when compared to other storage interfaces.   Users quickly found that the devices could increase their compute intensive applications performance and even reduce their data center space and power requirements.  There is a wide range of customer applications that have different requirement needs for storage.    While the PCIe SSD can be utilized in most applications, there are tradeoffs that must be made when compared to other available alternatives.    A user’s requirements and goals for a storage solution must be evaluated to determine if PCIe SSD storage is the right option.     The solid-state storage industry has many new arriving technologies that will extend the benefits of memory used as storage devices.  These technologies cover non-volatile memories, memory interfaces, SSS controllers and many others.   In addition, there are new and upcoming standards, covering form factors, connectors and interfaces that will increase the serviceability, compatibility and usability of PCIe storage.

Learning Objectives

  • The motivations and benefits for using PCIe SSD storage. 
  • Tradeoffs for using PCIe SSD storage versus other options available today 
  • Enabling technologies and standards that support as well as reinforce this initiative 

Leveraging Flash Memory in Enterprise Storage
Luanne Dauber, Max Kixmoeller
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Solid State storage promises to transform the capabilities and economics of the "performance" segment of enterprise storage, and a myriad of different vendor implementations of solid state have arrived on the scene.  Early implementations simply replace some HDDs in enterprise arrays with SSDs, but is one-for-one replacement of disks really the most effective way to utilize SSDs?  New approaches for accelerating array performance with Solid State have arrived, ranging from SSD caching, SSD tiering, and/or creating entire Volumes/LUNs from Solid State.  This tutorial will compare the performance, reliability, endurance, and cost properties of different SSD approaches, illustrate the impact of SSD properties on typical enterprise I/O workloads, and give users a roadmap for how to think about Solid State influencing their future storage architecture. 

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the similarities and differences between rotating magnetic disks and SSDs 
  • Understand the impact of SSD on enterprise workloads with today’s array designs 
  • Learn how disk arrays might better exploit the properties of SSDs in the future