Low latency, fast access, high performance

Frank Lee, Senior Director of Product Planning at Infortrend, explains how to get the ultimate performance gains for your applications with all-flash NVMe Scale-Out NAS

Increasing IT infrastructure performance is one of the top benefits that every business aims to obtain in order to eventually receive higher ROI. Not only that, but also given phenomenal growth rate of data, sufficient capacity for its storage is extremely important. To achieve these objectives, enterprises increasingly prefer all-flash array scale-out file NAS cluster systems, which increase performance, capacity, and throughput with the number of connected nodes.

Today, for applications that are slowed down by storage nodes' read/write speed, you can gain both lightning-speed performance and expandable capacity by deploying Infortrend's EonStor CS scale-out NAS cluster, including our new all-flash array model EonStor CS 4014N which supports the newest generation of NVMe U.2 SSD and, thus, provides better performance/price ratio than SAS/SATA SSD. CS 4014N is a worthwhile investment: its performance is impressive, and end users will notice the difference immediately.

EonStor CS (CS) is a scale-out NAS storage system that can expand capacity and linearly increase performance by adding more nodes. To satisfy extremely high IOPS and throughput requirements, Infortrend has developed this brand-new model, the all-flash NVMe storage system CS 4014N. We upgraded software to extend SSD lifespan and notify users about timely SSD replacement. To prevent systems from data loss and ensure high availability on node and disk levels, CS offers various data protection mechanisms, such as RAID, Erasure Code, and Replica. CS comes with intuitive EonOne management software for centralised management of multiple systems, monitoring of performance and capacity usage, and completion of all related system configurations. Efficiently storing and managing data, CS is suitable for various enterprise applications. It can flexibly increase the number of nodes as an enterprise grows to meet higher demands. Moreover, CS 4014N supports hybrid configuration with HDD JBOD for deploying a more cost-effective solution.

Each node CS 4014N is loaded with 14 SSDs (2U 14-bay form factor), so users do not need as many SSDs to build a high-performance cluster. Also, unlike HDD, SSD storage has no moving parts, so it consumes less power and does not encounter vibration and thermal issues. SSDs are characterised by low latency; CS 4014N provides 40% performance improvement in comparison with traditional HDD models. CS 4014N supports the newest generation of NVMe U.2 SSD, providing better performance/price ratio than SAS/SATA SSD.

Since NVMe uses the PCIe interface to directly communicate with the CPU without an additional controller, instructions to process I/O requests are faster, the I/O latency is lower and IOPS higher than those of SAS/SATA SSD. And because the PCIe interface can provide higher bandwidth, throughput is also higher. Each node can reach up to 210K IOPS and Read/Write speed of about 4.1GBps/3.1GBps. This ensures much faster storage response time, and users can immediately notice when opening and browsing files, which now happens more smoothly, without any lag.

Due to the nature of SSD operation, data cannot be directly overwritten as it can in hard drives: old data must be erased before the location it occupied can be written again, which increases Write Amplification Factor of SSD. Because each SSD cell can only tolerate a finite number of program/erase cycles before becoming unreliable, the higher the Write Amplification Factor, the closer SSD is to end-of-life.

To reduce the Write Amplification Factor of SSD and extend SSD wear life, CS 4014N supports over-provisioning function which provides additional capacity specifically for data to be erased from an SSD, without interrupting system performance. For the same purpose of improving wear-levelling and sustaining long-term SSD endurance and performance, CS 4014N supports the UNMAP/TRIM command to reclaim unused free space from the storage by cleaning invalid data blocks. Moreover, CS 4014 reduces the amount of write operations on SSD by using 'write-back' cache method with cache backup module and supercapacitor: frequently modified data will be stored in the memory and only final results will be written to SSD.

Thanks to the fact that CS 4014N supports RAID 5/6, parity blocks are arranged in such way that some SSDs will withstand more writes; this prevents multiple SSDs from being damaged at the same time so that you can be sure in integrity of your valuable data. Also, users can see at a glance the condition of their storage: SSD lifespan monitoring function displays the real-time status of the SSDs and predicts the remaining days of the SSD life based on the workload. Moreover, it proactively sends notification alerts to users when SSD lifespan is about to end to allow timely SSD replacement.

For achieving high performance and more cost-saving solution, enterprises can utilise hybrid mode by expanding the all-flash CS 4014N with HDD expansion enclosures and set up the auto-tiering function to automatically allocate frequently accessed hot data in the SSD pool for faster access and cold data onto HDDs.

The CS 4014N all-flash NVMe model is applicable to a wide range of performance and capacity demanding applications, e.g. Media and Entertainment, High Performance Computing (HPC), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Electronic Design Automation, file sharing, medical care (PACS), and others.
= In M&E industry, CS 4014N is able to stably play back a large number of 4K/8K high-resolution video on the stage of collaborative media post-production.
= For HPC, thanks to low latency and high performance, CS all-flash NVMe model allows many servers to simultaneously access storage system for extracting data for computing and stores analysing results.
= As an example of AI application, CS 4014N accelerates the process of Deep Learning training by quickly processing I/O requests from users collecting large amounts of data.
= In IC design, which uses EDA tools assisting in the development process, more than 500 TB of many small files with intricate directory access are generated. The CS all-flash NVMe model can provide fast access to all these files and metadata, considerably enhancing chip development efficiency.
= Other applications, like file sharing, medical care (PACS), can also enjoy the benefits of low latency and fast data access from CS 4014N.

More info: www.infortrend.com