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24Feb/10Off

SSD Not ready yet?

TechOps Guy: Nate

SSD and storage tiering seem to be hot topics these days, certain organizations are pushing them pretty hard, though it seems the "market" is not buying the hype, or doesn't see the cost benefit(yet).

In the consumer space SSD seems to be problematic, with seemingly wide spread firmware issues, performance issues, and even reliability issues. In the enterprise space most storage manufacturers have yet to adopt it, and I've yet to see a storage array that has enough oomph to drive SSD effectively(TMS units aside). It seems SSD really came out of nowhere and none of the enterprise players have systems that can drive the IOPS that SSD can drive.

And today I see news seeing that STEC stock has tanked because they yet again came out and said EMC customers aren't buying SSD so they aren't selling as much stuff as they thought.

With this delay in adoptionn for the enterprise space it makes me wonder if STEC will even be around in the future, HDD manufacturers, like enterprise storage companies sort of missed the boat when it came to SSD, but with such a slow adoption rate it may allow the manufacturers of spinning rust to catch up and win back the business that they lost to STEC in the meantime.

Then there's the whole concept around automagic storage tiering at the sub volume level. It sounds cool on paper, though I'm not yet convinced on it's effectiveness in the real world, mainly due to the delay involved in a system detecting particular hot blocks/regions and moving them to SSD, maybe by the time they are moved the data is no longer needed. I've not yet talked with someone with real world experience with this sort of thing, so I can only speculate at this point. Compellent of course has the most advanced automagic storage tiering today, they promote it pretty heavily, I've only talked to one person who's worked with Compellent and he said he specifically only recommended their gear for smaller installs. I've never seen SPC-1 numbers posted by Compellent so at least in my mind their implementation remains in question, while the core technology certainly sounds nice.

Coincidently, Compellent's stock took a similar 25% hair cut recently after their earnings were released, I guess expectations were too high.

I'd like to see a long running test, along the lines of what NetApp submitted for SPC-1, for the same array, two tests, one with automagic storage tiering turned on, the other without, and see the difference. I'm not sure how SPC-1 works internally, if it is a suitable test to illustrate automagic storage tiering or not, but at least it's a baseline that can be used to compare with other systems.

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