In case you hadn’t heard, Micron announced our work on a new Micron SolidScale architecture during the Micron Summit event in New York City. With the introduction of SolidScale architecture, Micron is making a bold statement that we believe the data center of the future is going to be built around NVMe™ solid state devices and the interconnects that provide the performance these extremely fast devices require. As I discussed in my previous two blog entries (part 1 & part 2 for your reference), we believe NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF™) is the right solution for the data center of the future. In fact, Gartner believes that NVMe-oF enables an entirely new category of data center storage which they call “Shared Accelerated Storage.” NVMe-oF enables you to deploy NVMe in a variety of ways, while still providing you with the server-local performance your applications need. No longer do you need to physically put NVMe in each application server to get performance. With NVMe-oF you can centralize and democratize these powerful storage devices across the entire data center. By doing so, you gain huge benefits from your investment in NVMe. No longer will you have to lock all of that unused capacity and performance into individual servers.
I am not going to revisit the benefits of NVMe-oF here as you can read my previous blog entries for more details. What I want to spend time on in this blog post is the new Micron SolidScale architecture platform. SolidScale architecture is built on four key tenets:
Scale-out Server Storage for the Data Center
The SolidScale architecture enables you to provide more NVMe resources to more workloads within your data center. By combining all of the NVMe in your data center – whether in individual application servers or in centralized storage nodes – and managing those NVMe resources more efficiently, the SolidScale architecture can provide the unique performance and capacity profiles each of your applications need. It also allows you to independently scale your compute and storage resources as needed. No longer do you need to be concerned about deploying new application servers with NVMe devices. Any new NVMe resources can be added to the SolidScale storage pool and shared with any server in the data center.
In our early testing of the SolidScale technology, we have seen some great performance already. For example, we are testing the SolidScale platform using Apache Cassandra®. When we compared our testing using SolidScale based storage against the same application servers using in-server local NVMe devices, SolidScale was able to provide performance results in the single digit percentage differences. As I said, these tests were quick…we are using early software and hardware and did no real optimization of the test environment, so we expect even better results as we continue to develop the SolidScale technology.
Virtualized NVMe Storage
One of the key benefits of deploying the SolidScale architecture is the ability to more efficiently use your NVMe storage resources. We can do this because we are virtualizing the NVMe SSD devices to allow you to build the storage containers that best suit your application’s needs. Need to have a 10TB volume, but only have 2.4TB SSDs? No problem. Simply create a virtual NVMe volume that is 10TB in capacity. SolidScale ensures that the volume is distributed efficiently across multiple physical NVMe SSDs in one or more SolidScale nodes to meet your configuration. Now, not only do you have a 10TB virtual NVMe device, but your 10TB volume has access to all of the throughput and IOPS of NVMe physical SSDs underneath. How about a volume with access to 10 million of IOPS? It’s possible with SolidScale architecture. By the way, RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10 data protection can also be implemented within the SolidScale architecture. The latter two RAID configurations are actually node-aware mirroring because SolidScale Manager ensures that the two sides of the mirror are resident on different SolidScale nodes. Each logical volume you create can span thousands of physical SSDs across hundreds of SolidScale nodes!
Flexible Deployment Options
SolidScale architecture puts no limitation on how you can deploy storage into your data center. SolidScale Manager supports having dedicated NVMe storage nodes, or simply aggregates all of the NVMe storage devices already deployed in your application servers simply by installing the SolidScale client server driver. Now you have unlocked all of your NVMe resources and made them available to use across all the applications in your data center. Currently, SolidScale supports Linux application servers, but stay tuned…there is more support options to come.
Build upon Industry Standard Hardware and Enable with Software
SolidScale architecture is not about locking you into a closed, proprietary solution either. SolidScale is built upon open standards, x86 server technology, Ethernet, and RDMA hardware technology. Together with state-of-the-art software technology to provide the unique block storage services needed for high-performance, latency sensitive applications, SolidScale is the right choice for your data center needs. Today, while the NVMe-oF standard is just starting to show its value as a 1.0 release, SolidScale is not waiting, we are innovating ahead of the NVMe-oF standard with full compatibility with that standard already baked in. This means that as the NVMe-oF standard matures, SolidScale will be able to take advantage of the added capabilities.
In the coming months, watch this space as we continue to develop the technology, collaborate with others, and build out offerings. We will be keeping you up to date on the testing and performance results with a broad range of applications and workloads. I hope you are as excited as I am about what we are doing. We think that SolidScale architecture is the data center architecture of the future and we look forward to working with everyone that wants to take advantage of SolidScale technology for their solutions. You can learn more about SolidScale here.