In a recent interview, the Director of IT Operations at a New York based Enterprise said that one of the biggest problems he was facing was maintaining customer satisfaction on performance as the data deluge grew unabated. According to an IDC 2012 report “..Data creation is taking place at an unprecedented rate and is currently growing at over 60% per year. IDC’s Digital Universe Study predicts that between 2009 and 2020, digital data will grow 44-fold to 35ZB per year..”. One ZB or Zettabyte is 1000 billion gigabytes… you get the picture.
The implications are that more data will be stored and processed on servers. Data could be on local disks or it could be in some large storage arrays, which are connected to the server by a network. It may be pre-processed and stored in a database for faster analysis. The computer (server) or applications must now quickly access the partially processed or raw data. The data could be structured as in ERP solutions or unstructured and handled by scale out Big Data applications. Nevertheless, data will have to flow back and forth through the network connecting servers and the storage. Additionally as Client Virtualization gains traction, data center servers would need to access large files located in storage devices most likely connected through networks. These use cases are addressed by the Cisco UCS and Fusion-IO partnership and therefore generated a whole lot of interest in the June 2012 announcement. In a recent interview at CiscoLive London, Cisco Executive, Paul Perez, reiterated the importance of the collaboration, and benefits to Cisco UCS customers.
So how does Fusion-io ioDrive2 accelerate data access? It optimizes the use of existing network bandwidth for data i/o intensive workloads with a low
latency “Tier-0” or “caching” tier of solid state drives (SSD). Typical storage is accessed with the following path:
[CPU -> HBA -> storage switch -> raid controller -> storage media]
Since the Fusion ioDrive2s have direct access to the server’s PCIe bus, it puts the ioDrive2 as close to the CPU as possible. This eliminates much of the latency and has the CPU interfacing directly with the storage media controller (all ioDrive2s have a controller). Secondly a solid-state drive (SSD) is much faster than a spinning disk.
Cisco UCS blade servers can now use Fusion-io mezzanine cards to accelerate the most demanding of data processing applications. With these cards, applications running on Cisco UCS blade servers can access and process data faster, to gain insights for business and other important operations.