SSD Debate: Cost Wins Over Performance

Despite clear performance benefits of Flash drives over spinning disks, the costs still scare away plenty of businesses.
Posted September 13, 2010

Brian Fonseca

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Most IT managers would be downright ornery over CPU and memory constraints clogging up their server farm. For Josh Lukes, it’s a problem he is happy to deal with since those bottlenecks are driving a significant Flash storage-enabled performance increase.

Lukes oversees 320TB of storage capacity in a Raleigh, NC, data center as part of an engineering business unit of Itron, Inc., a Spokane, Wash.-based maker of electric, gas, and water meters and related metering software. The data center features a combination of 306 HP (NYSE: HPQ) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) servers, including 14 VMware virtual servers running 600 instances.

Lukes is responsible for running massive software simulations to support performance of the meter database and collection testing for up to 5 million Itron meters. Earlier this year, Lukes decided to invest in enterprise Flash storage – the first in his company to consider such a move – to accelerate the performance of a collection engine database and dramatically increase the value of testing and generating data.

“As always, your database is storage constrained. We threw Flash at it to see if we could get past that point,” remarked Lukes. “We knew that we needed to have that improvement in [storage] performance to have any chance of it being useful.”

The move worked to perfection. By adding five 72GB Flash drives cut into their own set of LUNs and running Oracle RAC to his overall 650 spinning disk drive storage architecture, performance simulations have gained the elusive extra storage space required to maximize test results.

Read the rest at Enterprise Storage Forum.

Tags: data storage, data storage management, SSD, solid state drive, flash drives

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