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The key to making SSDs deliver business benefits: HP Malaysia

AvantiKumar | Sept. 4, 2012
Perfecting the 'smart caching' relationship between servers and storage will help enterprises actualise ROI when using SSDs, according to HP Malaysia.

Chung Chee Cheong, HP Malaysia modified

PHOTO - Chee Cheong Chung, country manager, Storage, HP Malaysia.

Organisations with substantial cloud and virtualised environments are turning to solid state drives (SSDs) to meet application performance gaps, improve infrastructure efficiency and lower costs, said technology solutions provider HP Malaysia.

Traditionally, integrating SSDs in legacy IT environments can be challenging and costly, especially when compared to HDDs (hard disk drives). Limitations on the number of SSDs per array can force clients to buy multiple systems, which in turn increases physical footprint, power usage and cooling expenses, said HP Malaysia country manager, storage, Chee Cheong Chung, speaking on 29 August 2012.

In addition, administrators are often required to move data manually between storage tiers to optimise service levels. This extremely time-intensive process increases data-centre maintenance requirements, which can eliminate the performance and cost benefits that SSDs deliver, said Chung.

"While SSDs deliver critical performance for cloud and virtualised workloads, legacy infrastructures fail to maximise the technology's return on investment by requiring intensive data-tiering administration," he said. "Though different vendors have put forward solutions to make using SSDs more viable, it remains costly investment without certain innovations."

"The ability to intelligently automate data mobility between HP ProLiant servers and HP 3PAR systems within array tiers fully actualises SSD performance and efficiency so clients can focus more time growing the business instead of managing the back office," said Chung.

"Seamless server-to-storage SSD integration is the relationship that successfully delivers improved performance, and reduces cost," he said. "Only HP Converged Infrastructure integrates SSDs seamlessly across servers and storage, allowing clients to improve application performance while reducing operational complexity and cost."

HP has announced an all-solid state drive (SSD) configuration for HP 3PAR P10000 Storage to improve organisations' application performance while reducing operational costs and IT complexity.

Eliminating issues

These new innovations from HP help eliminate these issues to improve storage performance in virtualised environments, Chung said. A single tier of all-solid state storage configuration for HP 3PAR P10000 Storage also delivers the same industry-leading performance as the existing HP 3PAR P10000.

"By supporting up to 512 SSDs per array, the all-SSD HP 3PAR system reduces equipment costs, data-centre footprint and energy expenses," said HP Malaysia storage,  enterprise business & services, product manager, Justin Yeap. "Client cost per input/output operations per second is reduced by 70 percent, and cost per kilowatt hour is cut by more than 80 percent, making all-SSD HP 3PAR P10000 Storage ideal for performance-driven applications."

HP 3PAR P10000 systems also allow clients to combine SSDs with traditional fibre channel drives and deploy HP 3PAR Adaptive Optimisation software to achieve autonomic storage tiering. Adaptive Optimisation distributes data to the right storage tier at the right time, reducing data centre management costs and maximising system performance, said Yeap.

In addition, introduced a year ago, HP Converged Storage cuts out the boundaries between storage and the rest of the infrastructure with next-generation storage architectures built on modular, standardised platforms, scale-out software, and converged management, added Chung.

These products are designed specifically for virtualisation, cloud, and big data. They allow clients to respond to unpredictable demands, spend less money on storage, and deliver applications to users in less time, he said, adding that HP also announced a Virtual Guarantee programme, which is available to clients globally through HP and HP-authorised channel partners, to improve server virtualisaton ROI (return on investment) in VMware environments.

A media statement said: "The HP Get Virtual Guarantee programme promises qualified participants a minimum two times increase in virtual server density by doubling the total virtual machine workload on existing physical servers. This programme can reduce the costs of a customer's rapidly growing VMware virtualisation environment. If a two times increase in virtual server density is not achieved, HP will provide participants with the disk capacity and related HP software and support necessary to achieve the guaranteed programme results".

'Smart caching' achieves 6x performance improvement

The new HP Smart Cache for the HP ProLiant Generation 8 (Gen8) servers would soon be available with advanced functionality that used SSDs for caching to accelerate workload performance. The solution will use HP Smart Analytics technology to intelligently assign frequently accessed 'hot data' to high-performance SSD drives.

By providing workload-aware intelligence to optimise system operations, this 'smart caching' capability helps clients achieve six times higher performance for transactional workloads [according to in-house trials] as well as 50 percent more performance for video-streaming applications, compared to previous generations.

HP Malaysia's Yeap said that storage infrastructure could include a whole array of SSDs or, more usually, a mix that includes SATA (serial AT attachment), fibre channel and SAS (serial attached SCSI) storage as well as SSDs. "A key difference between SSD's SLC [single layer] and MLC [multi-level cell] types is that MLC does not last as long as SLC in terms of operational and endurance capabilities. The focus is ideally not on price per capacity but on dollar per IOPS [in/out operations per second]. Dollar for dollar, there is a 70 percent performance advantage over HDD storage."

"SSD SLC is performance and endurance is about eight years, while MLC is below three years, while HDD is around five years, if used 24x7," he added. "However ISPs and other service providers use SSD in their storage and achieve substantial power savings, often about 80 percent. In Malaysia, other industry sectors that using SSDs include manufacturing and banking."

Though it is early days, such sub-LUN (logical unit number) tiering capabilities include granular control to better manage moving 'hot data,'  between different types of drives in the array, which would allow, for instance, storing low value data on less expensive storage and so on, without sacrificing performance, said Yeap.

"If we view the storage industry with a supply chain metaphor, for instance, air travel, long haul flights and domestic flights with different types/sizes of craft and levels of service would be used appropriate to the journey and the traveller," said HP's Chung. "The 3PAR solution is second, or next, generation storage technology."

"Successful organisations need to provide information access around the clock while managing a massive increase in data growth," said Chung. "A key component of HP Converged Infrastructure, HP storage solutions allows clients to boost performance and capacity to accommodate greater demand without increasing IT administration staff, energy or data centre footprint costs."


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