The widespread adoption of virtualization and data center consolidation technologies has had a profound impact on the efficiency of the data center. Virtualization brings new challenges for the storage technology, requiring the multiplexing of distinct I/O workloads across a single I/O “pipe.” From a storage perspective, this approach results in a sharp increase in random IOPS.
For spinning media disks, random I/O operations are the most difficult to handle, requiring costly seek operations and rotations between microsecond transfers. The hard disks not only add a security factor but also are the critical performance components in the server environment.
Therefore, it is important to bundle the performance of these components through intelligent technology so that they do not cause a system bottleneck and so they will compensate for any failure of an individual component. RAID technology offers a solution by arranging several hard disks in an array so that any hard disk failure can be accommodated.
The choice of HDDs or SSDs is critical for enterprise customers and involves considerations of performance, reliability, price, and capacity. Part of the challenge is the sheer amount of today’s data. The huge growth in data is threatening traditional computing infrastructures based on HDDs. However, the problem isn’t simply growth; it is also the speed at which applications operate.
HDDs have an unavoidable overhead because they physically scan the disk for read and write operations. In an HDD array, I/O read and write requests are directed to physical disk locations. In response, the platter spins, and the disk-drive heads seek the location to write or read the I/O request. Latency from noncontiguous write locations multiplies the seek time.
SSDs have no physical tracks or sectors and no mechanical movement. Thus, SSDs can reach memory addresses (logical block addresses [LBAs]) much more quickly than HDD heads can physically move. Because SSDs have no moving parts, there is no mechanical seek time or latency to overcome.
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