Getting a Read on SSD Technology

SSDs optimized for read-intensive applications offer peak performance levels without the high cost.

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As the purveyors of streaming video, online games, and social media networks, Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) must deliver massive volumes of data to consumers. Typically, data is stored as close to the end user as possible, reducing traffic over ISP backbones and improving the user’s experience.

Yet for CDNs to meet today’s ever-increasing demand for high-definition content, they require high-speed, reliable, and affordable data storage. That’s not always easy.

By leveraging solid-state drive (SSD) performance, CDNs can improve throughput and response times, reduce power consumption, and deliver better reliability than hard drive-based systems. But SSD can be cost-prohibitive for CDNs with hundreds – or even thousands – of cache servers deployed all over the world.

To minimize costs, some CDNs are opting for consumer-grade SSDs. But that can lead to significant declines in performance after a few months in service, with high write amplification failures, preventing IT teams from performing network-wide firmware updates, and lacking Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting (S.M.A.R.T) attributes to manage the life of the drives.

Avoiding wear and tear

Another challenge: the more you write to an SSD, the faster it will wear out. That’s because storing massive amounts of energy on a silicon wafer for long periods of time can result in erosion.

Fortunately, that’s not the case with read-intensive applications. CDN servers typically don’t require a lot of write performance. Rather, traffic is highly read sequential – essentially Write One, Read Many – which is unusual for many other enterprise workloads.

So what should CDNs expect from a solution that’s optimized for read-intensive applications? Answer: an SSD that can perform at peak levels in a data center, thanks to the right firmware, but without the high costs. Performance is also key: an SSD optimized for sequential reads should be able to deliver 100 percent read quality of service at 150 microsecond latency.

Multiple tiers for enhanced performance

Tiered storage is another consideration for CDNs. With automated storage tiering, the most critical data is kept on the fastest available storage while data that hasn’t been accessed for a set period of time is moved to a slower, less expensive tier. This all occurs without any disturbance to the end user – or burden on IT, with files in the same directory tree stored on different tiers depending on how often the data is accessed.

The result is enterprise-grade reliability and high performance with the lower cost-per-gigabyte of consumer-grade SSDs – a perfect solution for a wide array of organizations, including providers of streaming services, CDNs, web servers, and cloud services – essentially, any company responsible for large deployments of delivery networks.

Visit Samsung to learn more about the best option for your read-intensive applications.


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