Hybrid storage pools (HSPs) enable users to deploy multiple types of storage media together and manage them as a single pool. An Oracle-Sun white paper provides insight into HSPs and discusses their primary benefits, including increased throughput without a full-scale SSD deployment; simplified and centralized management of hybrid storage environments; increased flexibility and scalability for future performance or capacity issues; and much more.
The paper, "Enabling Greater Performance and Efficiency with Hybrid Storage Pools" notes that adding storage capacity is easy by just increasing the number of disk drives and arrays; however, it is not as easy to scale storage I/O performance. A new approach to storage architectures is HSPs, which, once accessed by applications, can automatically allow them to take advantage of the different performance and capacity characteristics of the different types of storage media.
Sun's HSPs utilize the Solaris ZFS file system to transparently optimize data placement across different types of storage media. Frequently used data is directed to a high performance storage area such as enterprise SSDs and less-frequently used data is placed in a high-capacity area such as mechanical disks. By combining the high performance of SSDs with high-capacity disks, HSPs enable performance gains while also providing savings in datacenter space, power, and cooling.
Management of HSPs is transparent to users and trivial for storage administrators, the paper contends. HSPs can be quickly and easily deployed, allowing organizations to immediately tackle pressing application performance bottlenecks. HSPs can also result in fewer components in the storage infrastructure, thus reducing complexity and saving on storage administration costs.
The 16-page paper discusses how HSPs automate the process of keeping the most active data in the enterprise SSD reach cache while also buffering data writes in a separate cache area. It identifies the most significant effect of using HSPs for this task is that it can drive enough performance to enable high speed fibre channel drives to be replaced by high capacity drives. These high capacity drives, which are often SATA drives, enable cost reductions in storage acquisition costs. At the same time, storage administrators are freed from the task of ongoing storage optimization efforts.
How Oracle's Sun HSPs and Solaris ZFS work together is presented, along with the business value of using HSPs. These include improved productivity, flexibility, simplification of enterprise storage, lowered acquisition and ongoing costs, and conservation of datacenter resources. Business value scenarios are offered.
The key business benefits enabled by Hybrid Storage Pools are identified as:
- Performance gains that improve user productivity and enable new types of applications that were previously impractical.
- Reduced TCO for high performance storage.
- Simplified storage deployment and management.
"HSPs enable the use of flash storage to reduce write latency as well as random read latency, thus creating a system that performs far better and consumes less power than traditional disk drive only solutions," the paper concludes. "HSPs have made it possible to construct systems with a precise mix of read- and write-optimized flash, DRAM, and high-capacity disks to meet today’s performance and capacity needs."
"Enabling Greater Performance and Efficiency with Hybrid Storage Pools" - white paper
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