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Monday, 29 February 2016 17:50

All-flash is the future of cloud and the data centre

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2016 will be the year of all-flash storage as EMC delivers a range of new all-flash updates to its storage and converged product ranges for the cloud, data centres  and the fourth industrial revolution

EMC believe that 2016 will be the first year that all-flash arrays will be the dominant storage media for primary storage, and to put their money where their mouth is they’re shipping a new range of all-flash devices including new Vmax, Vblock and VXracks and the new game changing DSSD D5 “rack-scale flash” array to replace disk-based arrays.  The impetus for this move to all-flash has been the continual drop in prices for Flash which now makes it a price competitive contender to disk arrays and because of its higher density, lower failure rates, and lower power consumption and operating temperatures allows flash users to save on data centre floor space, and power and cooling costs.

The new devices are all designed to fit into EMCs vision of the ‘modern data centre’ that’s pillared on four areas; Flash, cloud-enabled, scale out and software defined, and as David Goulden (see below), CEO Information Infrastructure at EMC, explained is ready to deliver the “fourth industrial revolution” from the EMC Jeremy Goulden CEO infrastructureinternet of things, and to connect to and analyse the data from the expected 50 billion devices connected to the IoT. Although as EMC’s President of Products and Marketing, Jeremy Burton mentioned later we still need to “fix the apps we implemented in the third industrial revolution” before we move to the fourth.  

The new Vmax is described by EMC as the “biggest all-flash array on the planet” and we’re not disagreeing. The top of the range Vmax 850 It offers up to 4 petabytes of storage, from a combined 1920 flash drives, with 150GBs performance and 500 microsecond latency, it can run over 40,000 virtual machines. Yes 40,000.  The Vmax and smaller Vmax 450 consist of integral V-Brick’s which contain one VMAX engine and starts with 53TB of usable capacity that can be scaled up to 500TB in 13TB increments. Multiple V-Bricks can be combined to scale out to a maximum of eight VMAX engines in the 850 and four in the 450.

While the new Vmax is impressive the new DSSD D5 occupies a whole new city-worth of impressive, indeed it has so much capacity it can and has been used to demonstrate the running of an entire smart city with over 2 million IoT monitoring sensors.

The DSSD D5 is described by its designer Mike Shapiro, DSSD's co-founder and VP software, as the “fastest storage box ever built in the industry” and the released performance figures back that up, 10M IOPS, around 100 microsecond latency, 100GB/s of bandwidth and 144TBs of raw storage in five rack units. Delivering up to 68% lower TCO, 5X lower latency and 10X higher IOPS and bandwidth than today’s fastest flash platforms. It also marks a new category of device the “rack-space array,” it’s just 5U in height and can connect to 48 servers, effectively creating a super-computer in a rack.  

EMC’s Burton also claimed that the speed and throughput of the device eliminates the need for copying databases, additional indexes and materialised views, particularly for Oracle database workloads. Instead, users can simply query the live database without the fear that the query will kill the box.EMC DSSD D5 Quantum Leap

Essentially the DSSD D5 provides the sort of storage performance you’d expect in a super computer, but delivered in a traditional rack and is aimed at big data, data analytics, and any application that requires huge amounts of data to be crushed. EMC has had the device out in the wild for six months with government, healthcare and research organisations including The US department of Defence, CMA and Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC).  Brian Dougherty Chief Technical Architect at healthcare consultants CMA said the DSSD D5 has allowed them to “radically simplify our designs” and reduce its data overheads by 50% to 50TB. 

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