IT experts usually work to make their applications get the resources needed to work efficiently. Back when hard disks were the main storage devices, backing up data used to involve techniques such as data striping across numerous hard disks; this process was inefficient and expensive.
In the recent past, the use of affordable flash storage has shown the potential to change the course of issues in application performance. To use flash storage efficiently, the right technologies have to be used properly. Flash storage will make it possible to get the maximum performance and efficiency from solid-state drive (SSD) storage and storage networks.
For data that is active, flash storage offers better performance without lots of moving parts. Flash is less expensive for primary data use in the long term. Approximately 10% of data in the data center in an SSD storage system is active at any time, which becomes a challenge. You may need to save cash and store the rest of the data in less expensive, high-capacity storage devices or in the cloud as most organizations are doing.
The example of SSDs shows us that flash will not improve the efficiency we have on data storage and its performance. Here are five tips to make your storage system better, faster and more efficient than your current system.
Examine the running applications before setting up any advanced storage system. This process is difficult for storage experts because they don’t own the applications and don’t understand the coding environment. To counter this dilemma, there are programs that examine the application code, make unbiased analysis and recommend what needs to be changed.
Implement Software-Defined Storage (SDS) with Flash Array
Another alternative of improving data storage performance and its efficiency is using SDS. These products use either a hypervisor or an appliance and provide storage software features on different hardware arrays. There are SDS systems that leverage storage software and still automatically migrate data between them.
You can use SDS to transfer the most active files automatically to the array for a performance boost if a portion of a flash array is added to the current infrastructure. Additionally, you can simplify management because all the storage management is unified.
Buy a Hybrid or a New All-Flash Array
These options are great for data centers using hard disk systems that have a warranty so that the older hard disk drive (HDD) systems can be redeployed and augmented with the new flash array. However, you will have to purchase new storage systems. That means deciding between a hybrid and an all-flash array. If the company can purchase an all-flash array to meet its requirements, then a purchase is perfect.
A few companies will get a flash array to fit their budgets. The rest can benefit in the same way by choosing a hybrid array, which is a combination of HDDs and flash in one system, to transfer data or send large files.
Use a Network Cache That Is Cloud Enabled
This component of a network cache option uses a hybrid cloud approach. Different cloud providers such as EMC, Amazon and Microsoft migrate inactive data through the all-flash network caches to cloud storage locations, and not the local storage. To be specific, this is the definite way to having a data center that uses flash all through because the data center can be all-flash as old data is protected and stored in the cloud.
Implement Server-Side Flash
In the design of server-side flash, the storage and network that the storage is attached to are the same, with hard disk storage arrays installed where quality and speed of the network does not have to be critical as when using a shared flash array.
Isolating server flash is the least effective design. You will have to use a flash Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) or SSD to manage the server I/O. Even though this design provides for a weak spot, it is ideal for reading data cache located on a storage array that is shared.
On the contrary, there are techniques for server-side flash that aggregate multiple-server internal flash storage to form a flash pool that is virtual. These aggregation products are suitable for read and write caching, building redundancy and even acting as a storage tier.
Improving storage performance starts with storage network analysis, followed by the enhancement options for the data storage that includes some kind of flash storage implementation. The ideal products depend on the data center, whereas some IT centers don’t need storage system updates.
Rick Delgado is a technology commentator and freelance writer.