SSDs for Mixed Workloads

Deploying solid-state drives (SSDs) in the data center is a great way to boost application responsiveness and remove I/O bottlenecks in the storage layer. But today’s data centers face a mixed bag when it comes to storage workloads, and the answer isn’t always as simple as “add more speed.”

There are different kinds of speed to consider, namely sequential read/write and random read/write. And what’s more, data centers also need the endurance to handle tens of thousands (potentially millions and billions) of I/O transactions daily. So when you’re looking for the right storage device for your data center, the best-fit solution really depends on the type of workload.

To help us sort through the options, let’s examine a few specific use cases in data centers today: retail databases, online analytical processing (OLAP), virtualized servers, and machine-generated data.

• Online retail sales databases help businesses deliver a seamless experience for customers while driving profitable e-commerce, tracking inventory, and forecasting sales trends. More and more consumers are making their purchases online, which ultimately drive demand for greater storage performance with heterogeneous read/write workloads.

• And then there’s big data analytics, which has been making waves in tech blogs for the past few years. Here’s a simplified description for the unacquainted: big data is the process of deciphering massive volumes of data in search of insights and previously unconsidered correlations that could lead to new efficiencies, process improvements, and even more competitive business models. Online analytical processing (OLAP) supports big data by enabling IT managers and data experts to answer multidimensional queries quickly and efficiently. Naturally, high volumes of data mean heavy workloads that put a lot of strain on storage.

• Let’s not forget cloud computing and the innovation that made it possible, virtualization. Virtualized servers run a single hypervisor that controls multiple simulated server environments, commonly referred to as virtual machines (VMs). IT managers can provision multiple VMs per physical server, making it possible to support multiple business units with varied needs. The challenge lies in staying nimble – the more VMs there are, the harder it is for storage to keep up.

• Finally, let’s consider machine-generated data. This is data that originates from any source without human intervention. It could derive from sensors in an electrical grid, manufacturing equipment on the factory floor, or log data from web servers and financial transactions.

What do all of these use cases have in common? When it comes to storage demands on the underlying hardware, they all generate mixed read and write-intensive workloads. In order to scale performance to meet growth or spikes, the storage layer needs to deliver both greater read and write speeds, not just one or the other.

Intel has developed a family of data center SSDs that are tailored to meet the needs of specific use cases like the ones we’ve gone over. Now data centers get exactly what they need out of their investments, and they don’t end up spending CAPEX on features and capabilities they may never use. For instance, the Intel® SSD DC S3610 Series delivers the performance needed to match mixed read/write intensive workloads – up to 550/520 MB/s sequential and 84,000/28,000 IOPS random read/write throughput across a 6 GB/s SATA connection.1

With the Intel® SSD DC S3610 Series, data centers also get the storage endurance they need. This SSD supports up to three drive writes per day, up to 10.6 petabytes written over the lifetime of the drive.2 Not only is it a good match for the examples discussed above, but it also features end-to-end data protection with 256-bit encryption and power loss data protection.3

Making the jump to SSDs is a big step, and a positive one for enhancing performance, but it can be a little nerve-wracking trying to find the best SSD for your workload. That’s why the lineup in the Intel® SSD Data Center Family is so great – it takes the anxiety out of choosing the right SSD. We’ve already done the legwork for you.

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