Anonymous
Not applicable

What are your plans for deploying Flash/SSD storage?

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Hi,

Flash Storage is one of the exciting innovations in the storage space in recent years and has changed the way we think about storage, about performance, about applications, about configurations and layout.

What are your plans for deploying Flash in your IT Infrastructure - 

Storage Systems: As a Tier? As all-Flash? As Cache

Servers: Physical or Virtual - Local storage?

Any specific or general deployment applications you can share...

EMC Unified offers a variety of ways to let you benefit from Flash Storage including FAST VP (Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Provisioning), FAST Cache (as Flash based System wide Caching layer), stand-alone RAID based Flash storage.

These software are helping our customers realize full potential of Flash while optimizing TCO.

We hope you are looking at these technologies for your environments to fully realize the potential of this very exciting innovation.

Please share your experiences and how you envision this evolve for you now and in the future.

Thanks!

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Allen Ward
5 Tungsten

Re: What are your plans for deploying Flash/SSD storage?

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In our environment we did not consider SSD until the release of FAST VP. Now we will be deploying it on new arrays coming in using both FAST Cache and FAST VP pools. We have no plans to deploy it in traditional RAID Groups when we can get so much bang-for-the-buck out of FAST VP pools.

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thakala
2 Bronze

Re: What are your plans for deploying Flash/SSD storage?

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Hello,

We have implemented flash as FAST Cache in one of our CX4-240 arrays few weeks back and are implementing it on our second CX4-240 as I write this (flare 30 upgrade ongoing). First I was a little disappointed on FAST Cache as it didn't speed up writing to SATA drives as I thought, I was doing a lot of LUN migrations from old RAID Groups to new Storage Pools and FAST Cache wasn't helping on throughput at all. After closer investigation to documentation and getting confirmation from ENC forums I understood that blocks have to be promoted to FAST Cache before it actually starts buffering writes.

Now that new Storage Pools have been in place for some time we are seeing very high hit rate on FAST Cache, both for writes and reads. During normal business hours FAST Cache write hit ratio is 80-90% and read hit ratio is over 50% most of the time. Workload is very random, we are a hosting provider so these arrays are in multi-tenant use. There is Exchange, MS SQL, Oracle databases, MySQL, web servers, vSphere virtual machines, file servers, SAP, you name it. Array response times are very good because of FAST Cache, even though that storage processors CPU utilization gets very high during busiest hours.

I think FAST Cache is great feature, but it sure takes lot of storage processor resources to handle the amount of IOPS you are getting from you array with flash storage.

Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: What are your plans for deploying Flash/SSD storage?

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Greetings!!

Thanks for sharing your experience with FAST Cache.

It is true that FAST Cache goes through a 'warm-up' phase while frequently accessed data is promoted from backend to the FAST Cache. I think that is what you experienced as well.

It is good to hear that you are seeing good performance with FAST Cache after the initial warm-up phase.

I presume your workload is often heavy and that may result in frequent promotion and eviction of chunks to and from FAST Cache. This would result in system resource utilization including CPU cycles. As long as you are seeing good response time, it would indicate you are within system's limits and hitting higher CPU utilization is not necessarily a bad thing.

What is the configuration of the backend storage for the LUNs that have FAST Cache configured? Is it FC drives or SATA drives?

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Allen Ward
5 Tungsten

Re: What are your plans for deploying Flash/SSD storage?

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In our environment we did not consider SSD until the release of FAST VP. Now we will be deploying it on new arrays coming in using both FAST Cache and FAST VP pools. We have no plans to deploy it in traditional RAID Groups when we can get so much bang-for-the-buck out of FAST VP pools.

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Anonymous
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Re: What are your plans for deploying Flash/SSD storage?

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Allen - It is great to hear that you are looking at deploying FAST with multiple tiers, Flash being one of them.

Flash in the tier is certainly the way to get your most active data the best response time from Flash tier in the pool and as your data will age (expected for almost all data types), depending upon the policy, but if the policy is set to Auto-Tier the data when is less frequently access will be moved to lower tier - FC/SAS or SATA/NL-SAS.

Please share your experience with us as you go through this implementation and if you like to discuss anything here at the forum.

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Allen Ward
5 Tungsten

Re: What are your plans for deploying Flash/SSD storage?

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I should have mentioned as well that we will definitely be deploying  SSD for FAST Cache. As far as I'm concerned that is kind of a "no brainer" if you are already paying the licensing. Not enabling FAST Cache would just be a waste of money (except in some VERY specific situations that most people won't ever experience)

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tom_whalen
2 Bronze

Re: What are your plans for deploying Flash/SSD storage?

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Being one of the first customers in the US to get SSD drives from EMC, I can say it was a great decision.  Currently we have 30 SSD drives (73G - yup orginal 73G drives...) for our Hospital HIS database and the performance is amazing both reads and writes.  We are looking to migrate the 73G drives to the 200g SSD drives in the summer 2011 and then use the 73G drives for FAST cache drives and also do some tiering in there as well.  I'm not sure yet about teiring the HIS database luns, we'll have to see what that looks like and how the application may react to that.  Ideally it shouldnt really care one way or another.  Overall - thrilled with them and very reliable.

Tom Whalen

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