For the past 20 years, network storage systems have been designed around spinning disk, with the form factor, performance characteristics, and reliability profile of the HDD dominating every architectural and design decision that was made. Many of these systems with 10-20 year old architectures are now bolting on solid state disk, which comes with a number of tradeoffs that Adam previously discussed. However, today, rather than focus on the problems with traditional architectures and SSDs, I want to focus on the advantages of a system designed from the ground up for solid state.
We did just that here at SolidFire. We built one of the first general-purpose storage systems that has been designed exclusively for solid state storage. Our use of solid state did not simply influence small decisions about data layout and I/O scheduling, but rather drove the entire architecture of the system. We completely rethought how a storage system could function if you were to remove disk from the picture, and ended up with a storage architecture that has very little resemblance to a traditional SAN.
From the outside, the system may look similar to other scale-out storage systems, with nodes and drives and iSCSI networking, but underneath the covers is something so different, it could never be built with spinning disk.
This fresh approach gives our customers tremendous benefits; such as increased performance, “hard” fine-grained quality of service guarantees, in-line deduplication, and reduced SSD wear. These technology advantages are enabling cloud service providers to invite mission-critical, performance-sensitive applications into a cloud infrastructure with greater confidence.