November 10th, 2017 by Adam Armstrong
Huawei Expands NVMe All-Flash Storage Arrays
Storage media has gone through several transformations with the rate of change picking up in recent years. From tape to spinning disks to flash, not only have the style of media changed, each new media type drastically improved upon performance. Flash itself has seen new innovation and performance. Through newly introduced interfaces users have seen performance increase rapidly from SATA to SAS to PCIe and now NVMe. The onus now is on storage array vendors to take advantage of these advances to deliver solutions the enterprise needs as application needs continue to grow.
In terms of performance, NVMe is the current reigning champion in the world of storage. Most major players have either released a version of NVMe media or changed their arrays and servers to be compatible with the interface. The NVMe interface allows the storage media to take advantage of both the low latency of PCIe and the concurrency capabilities of modern CPUs and applications. This results in performance gains that can be further compounded when put in an all-flash platform that is specifically designed to not only handle NVMe, but leverage NVMe SSDs to their fullest.
All-flash arrays have been the dominant performance force in the storage array market for a few years now. However, applications such as cloud computing, online payment transactions, social networking and other real-time interactive apps are demanding even higher performance and faster speeds. To meet these demands companies are now looking at the even faster non-volatile memory express (NVMe) capabilities. Huawei is tapping into the technology’s potential to accelerate an increasing proportion of its customers’ workloads.
The latest Huawei flash array is the OceanStor Dorado V3 series. This new array takes Huawei’s 12 years of flash research and culminates it into a solution that is ideal for mission-critical workloads. The dual controller array supports up to 25 NVMe SSDs (1TB, 2TB, or 4TB with a maximum raw capacity of 100TB per array). Eight OceanStor Dorado5000 V3 arrays can be supported in a single system for a total of 16 controllers and 200 NVMe SSDs, with a total raw capacity of 800TB. The company states that the new OceanStor Dorado5000 V3 with NVMe drives will have 50% higher performance than the previous model leverage SAS SSDs.
As is expected leveraging NVMe, organizations will see an noticable uptick in performance combined with a drop in latency. The NVMe OceanStor Dorado5000 V3 pshes performance as high as 4 million IOPS, storage latency as low as 0.5ms, and up to 6 nines of availability. The new array also falls under Huawei’s data reduction guarantee of 3:1, which can lower TCO up to 50% compared to less efficient storage.
With Huawei, customers get a vertically integrated solution, which is somewhat unique in the array space. The company does all of the work in house including the SSDs, NAND, and the controllers. Huawei has also used the NVMe over Fabric (NVMeoF) 1.0 protocol, released in June of 2016, to more effectively take advantage of the unique benefits of NVMe. They have separated the control and I/O paths to reap the benefits while avoiding pitfalls like over-taxing the CPUs.
Like the rest of the OceanStor Dorado V3 family, the new array will come with Huawei's proprietary FlashLink technology that includes on-board I/O priority scheduling adjustment, large block sequential write, global garbage collection, and other utilities to achieve predictable 0.5ms latency. When paired with Huawei HyperMetro gateway-free array active-active solution, the array can hit six-nines (99.9999%) reliability. The new array also comes with inline deduplication and compression technology to help companies get the most bang out of their storage buck.
Another feature of the new OceanStor Dorado5000 V3 is the addition of Huawei’s new Dedicated Enterprise Storage Service (DESS). A big focus of the company’s over the past few years has been the cloud. Huawei is looking to help organizations move to the cloud or begin there. DESS acts as an enterprise-grade storage-as-a-service (STaaS) for painless migration of mission critical services to the cloud. Being in the cloud allows these services to performance needed as well as the latest technology as it becomes available. DESS can also provide cloud-based data backup, hot/cold data tiering, and a long list of other utilities.