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17 April 2018

Disaggregated systems try to unlock the NVMe conundrum

The shared storage array has seen amazing success as a key component of IT infrastructure over the past 30 years. Consolidation of storage from many servers into one appliance has provided the ability to deliver more efficient services, increase availability and reduce costs. But as storage media moves towards the use of flash NVMe, shared arrays are showing their age and are being superseded by a new wave of disaggregated storage products. To understand the root cause of the impending issue with shared storage, we need to look at the media in use. Recently, hard drives have given way to flash (Nand) storage that is many orders of magnitude faster than spinning media, but that wasn’t the case for many years. The performance profile of a single hard drive was such that centralising input/output (I/O) through one or more controllers didn’t impact on performance and, in most cases, improved it. In other words, spinning disk drive hardware actually was the bottleneck in I/O. The controller provided much-needed functionality with no ...

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