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Scalable SSD Solution for Data Center

2016/01/08

Introduction

Data centers contain huge quantities of storage drives, mostly consisting of traditional hard drives but increasingly Solid State Drives (SSD), and for performance oriented applications, cost efficiency is mostly counted with Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS)/$ not Gigabytes (GB)/$. In order to pursue high data throughput at the data center, drives are required to run at full speed 24/7 which could lead to substantial heat generation which in turn could lead to problems with overall system stability. These are some of the problems system architects face nowadays, so to having a scalable and manageable storage system that is stable and reliable requires careful planning and strategy.

Application Requirements

A system architect was building a 1U storage server that could mount 16 x 2.5” NVMe SSD drives. Due to the compact server design and the large quantity of SSD used, issues about the thermal design and performance balancing among NVMe drives were of the most concern. For better management and maintenance, they required front hot-plug support for all 16 bays and each SSD should have the ability to be thermally monitored. Also, due to performance scalability, the storage management of each drive should be controllable with specific commands that could be integrated with the customers own software.

Project Implementation

Advantech recently announced a new 1U rackmount storage server—ASR-3100, which is designed with a dual Intel Xeon E5-2600 V3 processor and support for front hot-plug NVMe drives. IPMI 2.0 intelligent platform management interface supports system status and thermal monitoring from major heat generating parts like the CPU, DDR, and SSD.

ASR-3100 integrates SQFlash 910C series PCIe Gen. 3 SSD, and special firmware developed to enable accessibility to all SSD data, ASR-3100 can monitor all thermal data via SMBus, and the data handling mechanism inside the SSD has been rewritten to leverage an 8-core SSD controller IC to deal with data read / writes and memory management, all at the same time. This design eliminates read / write latency coming from memorymanagement. In addition, Advantech firmware engineers cooperated with the customer’s engineers to learn about the particular data patterns to better align the software to the SSD data handling controller; resulting in much better SSD integration with the customer’s own system.

Benefits:

  • Standard NVMe 1.1 interface natively supported by most modern OS and platforms.
  • Flexible management which provides more options for multi-tasking simulation.
  • Professional firmware customization service and data processing to maximize system efficiency.
  • Easy integration with hot-plug support.
  • Extreme high performance.

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