Answering the Requirements of Flash-Based SSDs in the Virtualized Data Center

Provide accelerated data access and an immediate performance boost of business-critical applications with caching and virtualization software.

Allon Cohen, PhD
Scott Harlin

Published September 2012

Introduction

Flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs) are being deployed in increasing numbers throughout virtualized data centers providing the benefits of increased performance and reduced total cost of ownership (TCO). In terms of I/O access, one host-based flash SSD can deliver random input/output operations per second (IOPS) comparable to thousands of hard disk drives (HDDs) in a SAN array. When deployed with caching and virtualization software, these SSDs provide accelerated data access and an immediate performance boost of business-critical applications.

As more flash-based SSDs are deployed, IT professionals are realizing that performance is just one of many requirements for enterprise storage. In fact, many server applications rely on specific capabilities of the supported storage devices to provide critical services such as High Availability (HA), cross server network access to data volumes, and end-to-end mirroring. In some cases, these critical services are a prerequisite for running certain server applications.

If flash-based SSDs are not deployed correctly in the data center, the server application in question may gain a performance boost, but at the same time, may lose the ability to deliver key services critical to that application. Therefore, IT professionals must take into account these critical requirements when considering SSD deployments.

The purpose of this white paper is to identify key requirements that IT professionals face when deploying flash-based SSDs into an enterprise environment, and introduces an emerging hardware/software architecture that combines the power of flash acceleration with the power of storage virtualization. This new approach not only moves data onto host-based flash to maximize performance and efficiently utilize host resources, but also provides those critical storage services required for operating and maintaining enterprise business applications.

Table of Contents

  1. Requirements for SSDs in the Enterprise
  2. SAN Array-based Flash Deployments
  3. Host-based Flash with Caching Software Deployments
  4. Host-based Flash with Storage Acceleration and Virtualization Software Deployments
  5. OCZ’s Host-based Flash SSD with Storage Acceleration and Virtualization Software
  6. How OCZ Virtualization Works
  7. Conclusion