Storage // Events

Ignite Your Business Intelligence/Decision Support Systems Platform

By Doug Rollins - 2015-05-06

Micron is at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago this week and that got me thinking about decisions. Because we all make decisions every day.

There are easy ones like which tie to wear or which route to take to work.  

But what about the difficult business decisions like determining which markets to pursue first with a new product or feature?  Or planning how to announce that new product or feature?  Or even bigger decisions—like managing strategic changes at the corporate level? Each of these decisions can have serious consequences.

What if there was a standardized platform to help organizations make these kinds of difficult decisions?  And what if that platform could aid strategic planning functions by quickly analyzing large data sets, guiding organizations toward the next logical decision, and bringing better efficiency to our dynamic, responsive, efficient organizations?

There is such a platform, and it exists today with the Microsoft SQL Server 2014-Based Business Intelligence (BI)/Decision Support Systems (DSS) platform. 

Given the complexity of our multi-geo, multi-discipline, global economy, many organizations rely on the Microsoft SQL Server 2014 BI/DSS platform to help guide them through launches and mergers and acquisitions—resulting in business growth.

Great…but now what?  

Our merged companies are larger; our data sets are much, much larger (they were merged too); our initiatives are inter-related; and our expectations are higher (far higher).  The net result?  Decisions have gotten far more difficult due to more data, more analysis, more choices.  

Now that we’re a larger entity, we need to find an easy way to scale our support platforms—and we have to know that these efforts can pay dividends. And we can do that by looking to flash-based storage solutions.  Using flash-based storage, organizations can scale their BI/DSS platform easily and efficiently.  

Historically, companies have used traditional storage solutions for their BI/DSS platform—solutions such as block-attached storage area networks and/or enterprise disk arrays.  But these traditional choices impose limitations. While they may be large enough to  support relatively simple, low-demand analytics, they have a hard time scaling.  Add to that a complexity price tag, plus huge power bills and a costly expansion due to vendor lock-in.  Ouch.  And the final straw?  Value-robbing compromises in the storage protocols themselves—all of which limit the long-term value of these traditional solutions.

With flash-based storage, it’s easy to design a simplified, high-performance, scalable BI/DSS platform that supports a “build as you grow” model. How?  By using Microsoft  SQL Server 2014 as the software platform and swapping in a Micron P420m 2.5-inch hot plug enterprise PCIe SSD as storage. Why the 2.5-inch PCIe hot plug form factor? 

  • Easy expansion: As more storage is needed, IT professionals can dynamically plug in a new P420m, doubling or tripling the original capacity;
  • Scalable performance: As organizations move from one P420m to two or three in the same platform, there is a dramatic drop in DSS query completion time;
  • Better support for heavily loaded systems: As more staff is added, more queries are running against our larger database, yet the P420m’s scale-out performance enables IT managers to easily configure the BI/DSS platform to manage that extra workload.

The Bottom Line: DSS running on a single Micron P420m PCIe SSD enables quick, thorough, and precise  queries.  With hot plug capability, the P420m allows for easy management of the changing conditions, extending our fast DSS platform’s capabilities as needed.  This scalable platform with six users issuing 22 complex queries to the same database can easily support dynamic growth and greater scale (faster query completion) by adding a second P420m to the platform, cutting the processing multi-user query processing time significantly.  And there’s more. You can keep scaling by easily adding a third P420m to the same platform and reduce the completion time further.

Interested in learning more?  Have a look at our Technical Marketing Brief, “Unleash SQL-Based Decision Support Systems (DSS) With Micron P420m 2.5-Inch SSD,” and let us know how you are managing these challenges.  Are you currently running your BI/DSS on SSDs?  If so, has it been what you expected it would be?  Do you have any tips, tricks, or suggestions that might help others just getting started? You can connect directly with me on Twitter @GreyHairStorage or through our main storage handle @MicronStorage.

Doug Rollins

Doug Rollins

Doug Rollins is a principal technical marketing engineer for Micron's Storage Business Unit, with a focus on enterprise solid-state drives. He’s an inventor, author, public speaker and photographer. Follow Doug on Twitter: @GreyHairStorage.