Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 8. My flights, accommodation and other expenses were paid for by Tech Field Day. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event. Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.
For each of the presentations I attended at SFD8, there are a few things I want to include in the post. Firstly, you can see video footage of the NexGen Storage presentation here. You can also download my raw notes from the presentation here. Finally, here’s a link to the NexGen Storage website (registration required) that covers some of what they presented.
NexGen Storage presented recently at SFD8 and while the video footage above covered off on some flash basics, when the camera stopped they talked to us about their latest array offering – the N5.
NexGen claim that the N5 is the first multi-tier, AFA with Storage Quality-of-Service (QoS). They were recently awarded US Patent 9,176,708 for Storage QoS, so they might be on to something. NexGen say that the array can prioritise performance-hungry workloads for more predictable performance while providing enhanced flash management for both performance and endurance
[image courtesy of NexGen Storage]
There are a couple of configuration options:
N5-1500 Head (2.6TB PCIe Flash, 15TB SSD) + you can add up to 3 SSD Capacity Pack(s) with
- 15TB SSD
- 4 x 6Gbps SAS
So you can get up to 60TB SSD (RAW).
The N5-3000 offers 2.6TB flash, 30TB RAW (base) and 60TB RAW (max).
The controllers have the following specs:
CPU: 4x 6-core Intel Xeon E5645 2.4GHz, 24x cores, 48x cores with Hyper-Threading
Network: Data (4) 1/10GbE SFP+ -or- (4) 1/10GBT RJ45, iSCSI / mgmt: (4) 1GbE RJ45, http, https.
Storage QoS and other good things
Putting a bunch of different types of flash, including PCIe flash (NVMe “ready”), SSDs and RAM in a box is pointless if you can’t do something sensible with it. This is where NexGen’s Dynamic QoS comes into play. As you’re probably aware, QoS is about putting priorities to work targets with automated throttling. The idea is you want things to work a certain way without necessarily having everything suffer because of a noisy neighbour or IOPS hungry VM. The array comes with both preconfigured policies and the ability to manage performance minimums.
The QoS priorities offer the following features:
- Adaptive BW throttling;
- Adaptive queueing placement;
- Real-time, always on; and
- Prioritised active caching.
Closing Thoughts and Further Reading
NexGen Storage have been around a while and certainly have some good pedigree and experience behind them. I’m interested to see how these new arrays perform in the real world, because they certainly look the goods on paper. It was only a matter of time before someone took a “hybrid” approach to AFAs and gave some configuration options back to the end user. I can’t comment on how effective the implementation is, but I think it’s worthy of further investigation. Finally, you can read more about the new product at Storage Review.