The All Flash Data Center

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1 The All Flash Data Center Transform data center economics and improve your business competitiveness by migrating to an All Flash Data Center powered by Violin s enterprise- class storage arrays that combine high performance with comprehensive data services. June 2014 Abstract In today s competitive economic environment, business success depends upon time, money, and innovation. Reducing the time to market, decreasing sales cycles, and improving operational efficiency helps differentiate an industry leader from a mere participant. The adage is time is money, but so too are innovation and building competitive advantage. With the All Flash Data Center you can recoup time and money to reinvest in innovation. The end result is enhanced business efficiency, resiliency, and ROI that can help grow your business success and market leadership.

2 Table of Contents 1. Business Success Depends Time, Money, and Innovation Data Center Technologies Have Unbalanced Performance It s Time To Rethink the Data Center Why the All Flash Data Center Is the Answer Achieving the All Flash Data Center with Violin All Flash Arrays Unique Flash Fabric Architecture Advanced Data Services Flexibility and Choice Concerto 7000 All Flash Array Windows Flash Array Summary... 8 Pg. 2

3 1. Business Success Depends Time, Money, and Innovation In today s competitive economic environment, business success depends upon time, money, and innovation. Reducing the time to market, decreasing sales cycles, and improving operational efficiency helps differentiate an industry leader from a mere participant. The traditional adage is time is money, but so too are innovation and building competitive advantage. IT plays an important role in every enterprise; it helps to measure, drive, and enable the business. The more effective IT is in supporting your business, the more you can grow. Likewise, the converse is equally true; an antiquated IT infrastructure can constrain your business growth and success. Many data centers today are reaching a critical impasse, where the demand for actionable information exceeds the ability to deliver it. What would be the financial impact on your firm if database queries processed three to four times faster? How would business decisions and profitability be affected if you were able to generate business reports in 70% 85% less time? How much more money could your business keep by simply saving time in what it does? Ask any CFO, CIO, or COO about facilities expense and you will likely elicit a sour response. Data centers appear to be black holes that devour floor space, energy, and cooling at ever- increasing rates. Yet, at the same time, IT is struggling to deliver the services that your business needs to grow. This begs a related question, is your data center wasting your money? How would a 71% reduction in OPEX for servers and storage alter your IT investments? What would a 67% decrease in electricity expense mean to your business? Which new money generating initiatives could be funded if you could reduce the storage footprint within your data center by up to 96%? How would profitability be affected if you could reduce the TCO of you data center by one- third over the next five years? To build a market leading position, businesses need to continually innovate. But it s difficult, if not impossible, to do so when large amounts of time and money, and thus opportunity are lost due to inefficient operations. When you regain wasted time and money, you can innovate and drive business success. The data center is a critical component in this success; however, can you truthfully answer no when asked if your data center is wasting your time and money? 2. Data Center Technologies Have Unbalanced Performance Although CPU performance and network connectivity have grown dramatically over the past several years, improvements in storage have largely been limited to capacity. Thus performance of the major components of the data center, compute, network, and storage, have diverged and become unbalanced as storage performance has failed to keep up. While it might seem that increasing server performance would drive modern workloads such as databases and virtual machines (VMs) to new heights, these workloads are filled with random I/O requests, which results in high latency and poor performance. Since legacy storage solutions (disk drives) perform best when read and write operations are linear, we have a performance- hindering mismatch that leads to indeterminate response times. Although various short- stroking, striping techniques, solid- state drives, and optimization algorithms have been tried to improve operations, I/O performance remains lacking. In extreme cases, some applications such as databases require ongoing storage tuning. The problem is legacy storage focuses on capacity, not performance, and high latency increases processing time. Scaling for growth has meant further increasing the inherent inefficiency and datacenter sprawl. Continuing this investment behavior will not generate different results and places the organization s financial well- being at risk. Poor storage performance leads to poor CPU utilization as processors increasingly spend more time waiting than executing, which means servers are expensive and mostly idle investments. One way to raise CPU utilization is server virtualization. Yet Pg. 3

4 ironically, virtualization drives random I/O even higher and some virtualization solutions raise server overhead. Thus, many consolidation initiatives do not achieve their full potential, as storage performance cannot adequately support the virtualized environment. Ensuring continuous availability is a challenge, but essential. For example, availability groups for databases are one approach to provide 24x7 service. However, there are limitations, as these usually do not fully mirror all data such as system databases, login data, scheduler tasks, etc. and require ongoing administration. Replication is a more general- purpose approach to maintain availability but asynchronous replication can suffer data loss if the primary array goes down. Synchronous mirroring is more resilient, but it is expensive and has a slow two- phase commit process. Regardless of the approach to continuous availability, spinning media is mechanical in nature, and ultimately moving parts break. Solutions that are not designed for continuous availability from the start can devolve into a kludge of disparate parts that require careful attention and testing in the hopes of delivering business continuity. 3. It s Time To Rethink the Data Center A new approach is needed to deliver the performance and scalability required to drive business success without breaking the IT budget. The proposition is simple; it s time to bring compute, network, and storage capabilities back into balance. The biggest challenge is closing the gap between compute and storage performance to shift storage s curve back towards Moore s law. To achieve this realignment a fundamental redesign of storage is in order to break away from the high latency of legacy designs. Addressing storage I/O bottlenecks is critical in restoring performance and cost- effective scalability. A new architecture that eliminates the chokepoints and other hot spots in legacy implementations is imperative in order to bring data center performance back into alignment. In today s data center, high availability is no longer an option, it s a requirement. Servers and networking equipment have achieved impressive MTBF statistics, in part due to their relatively few moving parts, which tends to reduce mechanical failures. With legacy storage the operational basis is spinning disks and close head alignments. This is in direct contrast with the rest of the largely electronic IT infrastructure. While high- performance hardware is the bedrock of any modern data center, this only addresses part of the needs. Businesses rely on solutions, not a collection of piece parts, to meet their competitive challenges. The importance of software cannot be overestimated. Advanced Data Services are an essential and expected component of any modern data center. 4. Why the All Flash Data Center Is the Answer Achieving balance in compute, network, and storage execution requires that each has commensurate performance. Given the inherent difference in mechanical vs. silicon based performance, it becomes obvious that spinning media does not provide a viable high- performance option for the modern data center. Flash- based storage is key to unlocking the latent performance in the data center. With these solutions, storage can deliver sufficient low latency to eliminate I/O bottlenecks in the data center and as a result raise the overall efficiency of application servers and other compute resources. This helps close the widening gap between storage and server performance so you can use of all of your server capability that has already been purchased to reduce the time needed to process information. Balanced performance is important for growing enterprises, but so too is the ability to automate and provide self- service capabilities for IT resources. It s all about delivering IT as a service while requiring a minimum of human intervention in the process. Key to this is the ability to achieve the highest level of virtualization and consolidation within the data center. This raises Pg. 4

5 efficiency and reduces cost by allocating only the services needed for a stated performance level with the remaining capacity available to support other workloads. As a result, you can let business needs, not technological limitations, drive IT resource allocation and associated expense. 5x 10x application acceleration 50% - 90% reduction in storage Eliminate over- provisioning of disks to overcome performance bottleneck 30% - 80% reduction in cores/servers Dramatic reduction in I/O wait state increases core efficiency 30% - 70% reduction in licenses Fewer cores to drive license expense 60% - 90% reduction in facilities Racks of disks and servers consolidated into much smaller footprint Figure 1. Impact of Deploying an All Flash Data Center The All Flash Data Center addresses environmental factors both inside and outside of your data center. As illustrated in Figure 1, by transitioning away from spinning media, you can reduce your facilities footprint and CAPEX expense for storage. At the same time, you can reduce OPEX expense by supporting multiple mixed workloads on the same infrastructure without the continuous tuning and rebalancing of workloads implicit with legacy storage. In addition, your energy savings will be substantial so you can not only improve bottom line but also bolster your brand s green credentials with your customers. 5. Achieving the All Flash Data Center with Violin All Flash Arrays Not surprisingly, many IT vendors have embraced the All Flash Data Center in their messages to customers. Vendors realize that the status quo has reached its design limits and economics are proving a serious impediment to future growth. But not all vendors have the same capabilities, and the demands of an enterprise- class data center sets a high bar for vendors solutions. Violin Memory s All Flash Arrays can help you achieve the performance, reliability and feature set requisite for an enterprise- class All Flash Data Center solution. Pg. 5

6 5.1. Unique Flash Fabric Architecture Violin s Flash Fabric Architecture features chip- to- chassis performance optimization to deliver lower consistent latency and higher throughput for cloud, enterprise and virtualized mission- critical workloads. With balanced performance out- of- the- box, there are no disk groupings, data locality issues, performance mapping or tuning required. You can support any mix of workloads while achieving maximum performance for every byte, every time. As illustrated in Figure 2, your application servers will spend more time doing than waiting so you can support additional workloads with existing resources and achieve faster response times. Violin s All Flash Arrays deliver blazing performance; however, Violin delivers much more. Performance without continuous availability is an incomplete solution. Violin All Flash Arrays are designed for continuous availability and reduced risk to operations through multi- layered hardware and software resiliency that delivers enterprise- class storage performance all of the time Advanced Data Services Violin Memory delivers an advanced set of data services (listed in Table 1) that will improve your operational efficiency and ROI while reducing the CAPEX and TCO of your All Silicon Data Center. You can achieve high performance while benefitting from a rich set of data efficiency, data protection, and business continuity capabilities. Violin s data services enhance the performance of our All Flash Arrays with capabilities that enable you to integrate storage into your business processes without a high degree of manual Figure 2. Wait State Reduction Enabled by Violin All Flash Arrays integration effort. In addition, our data efficiency features extend the effective capacity of our arrays beyond that of the specified configuration. You can select whether to enable these features based upon your business need. If you choose to disable data efficiency features, rest assured that you still get the raw capacity you expect. With the All Flash Data Center, you can realign your IT resources to meet today s enterprise workloads needs while recalibrating your CAPEX and OPEX to drive the success of your business. Table 1 Data Services Offered by Violin Memory BUSINESS CONTINUITY DATA EFFICIENCY DATA PROTECTION SCALABILITY App Consistent Snapshots Cloning Encryption Scale Up Synchronous Replication Compression Mirroring Scale Out Asynchronous Replication Deduplication Local Replication Pool Across Arrays Near- Zero PRO and RTO Thin Provisioning Metro Replication LUN Expansion Migration Tiering Consistency Groups Capacity Expansion Pg. 6

7 5.3. Flexibility and Choice Violin Memory delivers high performance storage with comprehensive data services in two product families so you can deploy the solution that best fits your business needs and existing IT infrastructure. In any Violin All Flash Array, our unique Flash Fabric Architecture delivers consistent high performance across the multiple mixed workloads that drive your business success Concerto 7000 All Flash Array The Concerto 7000 All Flash Array is Violin s flagship offering. Designed for traditional block- based Fibre Channel connected SANs, the Concerto combines high performance of up to 800,000 4K IOPS with a rich set of data services. It is an excellent choice for your primary data center and provides disaster recovery that enables you to maintain secondary data centers that can promote to primary state in an automated or manual fashion. The Concerto 7000 family delivers business continuity through application consistent snapshots that can be synchronously replicated between your primary and secondary sites. You can achieve near zero RPO and RTO while leveraging Concerto s data efficiency and data protection services to increase the efficiency of your disaster recovery scheme. You can benefit from data efficiency features including storage tiering and thin provisioning, which provide flexibility in resource planning and allocation. Inline compression and deduplication raise disaster recovery efficiency by minimizing the quantity of data replicated between sites. In addition, cloning enables you to easily roll out new development and user testing environments for your strategic applications. Concerto supports synchronous mirroring for metropolitan distances as well as asynchronous replication across longer distances. In either case, in- flight encryption protects your data against unauthorized disclosure. Concerto s support for mirroring means that you can always have a current copy of your important data protected against hardware failure or other loss. Table 2 Concerto 7000 Data Protection Strategies HERE NEAR ANYWHERE Mirroring Metro Cluster Replication Synchronous Synchronous Asynchronous In Data Center Campus and Vicinity Global Pg. 7

8 As needs dictate, you can scale up to four Concerto 7000 shelves within your solution. This delivers up to 280 TB raw or 176 TB usable all- flash capacity for your enterprise- class storage needs Windows Flash Array With Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 as the operating environment, the Violin Windows Flash Array (WFA) easily integrates into your existing NAS environment. The WFA combines the blazing fast performance of SMB Direct (RDMA), which delivers up to 1.2 million 4K IOPS, with a rich set of data services to support Windows- based enterprise applications. Several data services provide Business Continuity for the WFA. Live Storage Migration enables movement of executing virtual machines from one WFA to another without incurring down time. In addition, you can take application consistent snapshots with Microsoft s Cluster Shared Volumes Software Snapshot Provider and leverage the Volume Shadow Copy Service to offload snapshot and backup operations to remote storage from VSS hardware providers within Hyper- V virtual machines. You can achieve higher utilization and substantial savings through the WFA s Data Efficiency features. Data compression, deduplication, and thin provisioning each help increase the effective capacity of the WFA beyond its specified configuration without incurring any performance impact. At the same time, you can safeguard your information through the WFA s data protection services. Transport- level encryption guards against eavesdropping or other unauthorized data disclosure while mirroring and DFS replication protects your information against localized hardware failure. The WFA supports Scale- out File Server (SOFS) for non- disruptive volume extensibility that lets you add capacity without taking databases or applications offline. You can scale out to a maximum of 32 arrays (64 nodes) in a cluster. You can achieve greater scale and flexibility in how you maintain consistent performance while supporting additional workloads as your business grows. 6. Summary To build a market leading position with lasting competitive advantage businesses need to continually innovate. However, many data centers today are at a critical impasse, where the demand for actionable information exceeds the ability to deliver it. Legacy storage solutions are built for capacity, not I/O performance. Yet today s workloads are performance oriented, increasingly virtualized, and consolidated onto powerful shared compute resources. This mismatch of capabilities is more than a quaint technical anachronism, it is wasted time and money. It is an impediment to your business growth and success. The expense of a legacy data center based upon magnetic storage will become, if it has not already, a competitive disadvantage for any enterprise. The superior economics of the All Flash Data Center will cause executive staff such as the CIO, CTO, and CFO to take note. Even if your executive staff does not embrace the All Flash Data Center for performance and agility reasons, the financial benefits are too significant to pass up. It s simply a matter of time. With the All Flash Data Center, you can embrace the future today. Your organization will be able to achieve higher ROI on the IT investments that it has already made. Through higher performing storage, latent capacity on servers will be unleashed to deliver higher service levels, support more workloads, and possibly delay CAPEX on additional resources. By realigning and balancing compute, network, and storage resources, your data center becomes more efficient. When you regain wasted time and money, you can innovate and drive business success. The data center is a critical component in this success. With the All Flash Data Center you ll no longer be wasting your time and money. If you would like to learn more about how Violin Memory s All Flash Arrays can help drive your business transformation to an All Flash Data Center, please contact your Violin Memory representative today. Pg. 8

9 About Violin Memory Business in a Flash. Violin Memory transforms the speed of business with high performance, always available, low cost management of critical business information and applications. Violin s All Flash optimized solutions accelerate breakthrough CAPEX and OPEX savings for building the next generation data center. Violin s Flash Fabric Architecture (FFA) speeds data delivery with chip- to- chassis performance optimization that achieves lower consistent latency and cost per transaction for Cloud, Enterprise and Virtualized mission- critical applications. Violin's All Flash Arrays and Appliances, and enterprise data management software solutions enhance agility and mobility while revolutionizing datacenter economics. Founded in 2005, Violin Memory is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. For more information, visit memory.com. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/violinmemory Pg. 9

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