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Which Enterprise HDD to Use for a Content Server Platform | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Storage

Insight for effective server storage I/O decision making

This post is the first in a multi-part series based on a white paper hands-on lab report I did compliments of Servers Direct and Seagate that you can read in PDF form here. The focus is looking at the Servers Direct (www.serversdirect.com) converged Content Solution platforms with Seagate Enterprise Hard Disk Drive (HDD's). I was given the opportunity to do some hands-on testing running different application workloads with a 2U content solution platform along with various Seagate Enterprise 2.5" HDD's handle different application workloads. This includes Seagate's Enterprise Performance HDD's with the enhanced caching feature.

Issues And Challenges
Even though Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) including NAND flash solid state devices (SSDs) have become popular storage for use internal as well as external to servers, there remains the need for HDD's Like many of you who need to make informed server, storage, I/O hardware, software and configuration selection decisions, time is often in short supply.

A common industry trend is to use SSD and HDD based storage mediums together in hybrid configurations. Another industry trend is that HDD's continue to be enhanced with larger space capacity in the same or smaller footprint, as well as with performance improvements. Thus, a common challenge is what type of HDD to use for various content and application workloads balancing performance, availability, capacity and economics.

Content Applications and Servers

Fast Content Needs Fast Solutions
An industry and customer trend are that information and data are getting larger, living longer, as well as there is more of it. This ties to the fundamental theme that applications and their underlying hardware platforms exist to process, move, protect, preserve and serve information.

Content solutions span from video (4K, HD, SD and legacy streaming video, pre-/post-production, and editing), audio, imaging (photo, seismic, energy, healthcare, etc.) to security surveillance (including Intelligent Video Surveillance [ISV] as well as Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance [ISR]). In addition to big fast data, other content solution applications include content distribution network (CDN) and caching, network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined network (SDN), to cloud and other rich unstructured big fast media data, analytics along with little data (e.g. SQL and NoSQL database, key-value stores, repositories and meta-data) among others.

Content Solutions And HDD Opportunities
A common theme with content solutions is that they get defined with some amount of hardware (compute, memory and storage, I/O networking connectivity) as well as some type of content software. Fast content applications need fast software, multi-core processors (compute), large memory (DRAM, NAND flash, SSD and HDD's) along with fast server storage I/O network connectivity. Content-based applications benefit from having frequently accessed data as close as possible to the application (e.g. locality of reference).

Content solution and application servers need flexibility regarding compute options (number of sockets, cores, threads), main memory (DRAM DIMMs), PCIe expansion slots, storage slots and other connectivity. An industry trend is leveraging platforms with multi-socket processors, dozens of cores and threads (e.g. logical processors) to support parallel or high-concurrent content applications. These servers have large amounts of local storage space capacity (NAND flash SSD and HDD) and associated I/O performance (PCIe, NVMe, 40 GbE, 10 GbE, 12 Gbps SAS etc.) in addition to using external shared storage (local and cloud).

Where to Learn More

What This All Means
Fast content applications need fast content and flexible content solution platforms such as those from Servers Direct and HDD's from Seagate. Key to a successful content application deployment is having the flexibility to hardware define and software defined the platform to meet your needs. Just as there are many different types of content applications along with diverse environments, content solution platforms need to be flexible, scalable and robust, not to mention cost effective.

Continue reading part two of this multi-part series here where we look at how and what to test as well as project planning.

Ok, nuff said

Cheers
Gs

Server StorageIO Lab Review

Which enterprise HDD to use for content servers

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

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