Scaling Your Flash Server Storage: Why You Should Invest in Enterprise SSD Servers

With the continuous advancement of computing technology, flash storage, commonly referred to as called solid-state storage, has become a valuable resource for all levels of business since its release by Toshiba in 1984. In order to keep up with the increasing amount of data storage capacity needed to maintain, and improve, an organization’s data center infrastructure, IT professionals are opting to upgrade their data storage management and processing by implementing enterprise solid state drive (SSD) servers.  

What is an enterprise SSD server?

To answer this question, we must first discuss the operational differences between a hard disk drive (HDD) and an SSD drive. HDD drives in a computer system use moving parts to perform their standard processes.  In added detail, an actuator arm physically moves across a spinning magnetic platter or disk in order to read and/or write data to the drive.  The arm employs read/write heads to align over the platter or disk to read or write data while the disk is constantly spinning.  It may have to read from different platter points before executing a program or accessing a file so there will be a wait time while the disk spins into the required positions to complete a process.  Additional time must be added if an HDD is in sleep or lower power state of operation as it has to allow the disk to ramp up to full power. SSD drives do not utilize any moving components.  They instead use solid state technology where the data waiting to be accessed is saved to a portion of NAND (‘not and’ electronic gate) flash memory, which is a type of non-volatile storage.  Using semiconductor chips instead of platters, this technology is ideal for storage operations allowing for faster read and write times to and from the drive.  Adding SSD drives to a server that is designed to handle high levels of data traffic and processing, have low latency rates, increased reliability for longevity and continued operation, along with high-availability features designed for 24/7 functionality and accessibility gives you an enterprise SSD server.    

What is the difference between non-enterprise and enterprise servers?

The definition of enterprise when speaking in business terms is a unit of economic organization or activity, particularly a business organization.  A server is a computer that receives, processes, and sends digital data to other computers connected to it via a network.  Using this information with relation to server terminology, it is widely considered in the world of IT that an enterprise server is a server solution that handles the programs and processes required to address the needs of an enterprise business operation instead of an individual user, unit, or specific application.  However, the term is better suited to describe a server designed for complex IT infrastructures that are capable of servicing a high quantity of users and data while providing scalability in capacity and processing, minimal downtime, and consistency in performance. The definition of a non-enterprise server is slightly more elusive as this term is really more of a description of a server’s capability, or rather inability, to handle the rigors of a large scale network application. This includes but is not limited to lack of upgrade or scalability options to allow for growth in capacity and performance, reliability over time, inefficient processing times, and minimal energy-efficient solutions for power and heat reduction. A non-enterprise server may not be an inherently bad computing device, it just isn’t built to meet the demands of an enterprise environment and may be better suited as a back-office server at a small business or home server for computer hobbyists and gaming enthusiasts.  

What does scaling flash storage mean?

The term scalability is in reference to the ability of a system being able to manage an increasing workload and its propensity to address growth. Scaling flash storage specifically is the ability to manage data increases that require an increase in either storage capacity or performance speed. Utilizing an all-flash storage solution allows for a business to select a server for their current needs that provides an option to scale. There are two types of scaling for an all-flash storage system: scaling up and scaling out. Scaling up, or vertical scaling, flash storage means adding capacity or drives to an existing storage array with an allotted amount of processing capability.  This addresses the demand of increased capacity requirements for a system’s storage level as data required for day to day operation of a business shows growth and necessitates a storage upgrade.  Scaling out is a type of horizontal scaling that allows for added processing or compute abilities by way of added controllers and memory clustered with existing storage within a certain level of capacity.  While this addresses the limitation of scaling up, there are capacity boundaries that must be adhered to, such as only being able to upgrade capacity in increments of the existing application when larger options may be available.  

What are the benefits of investing in enterprise SSD servers?

While HDD solutions are still widely used today due to their lower price point and higher availability, SSD storage options are steadily expanding from their small device applications such as phones, tablets, and laptops to large datacenter server platforms.  Because SSDs do not employ moving parts, energy consumption of an enterprise SSD server is drastically cut allowing for superior efficiency and lower overall energy expenditures.  Combine said savings over a large population of servers within a sizable infrastructure and the investment already shows a decent return.  The lack of moving parts also increases the reliability at which SSD servers perform increasing their longevity and cutting the cost of future upgrades and maintenance.  Cooling costs are also minimized due to heat reduction due to lower power requirements and absence of motorized hardware. Additionally, with server virtualization use steadily increasing in enterprise business IT operations today, performance resources provided by SSD are becoming a necessity rather than a luxury for 24/7 operation.  Since I/O (input/output), which is a description of programs or operations transferring data, is often random in virtualized environments, SDDs lightning fast read/write abilities and reduced latency are ideal for a virtual environments that demand the ability to handle sudden workload increases.  Premio’s FlacheStream SSD server line boast impressive throughput speeds combined with multiple drive configuration options that are ideal enterprise SSD solutions for all ranges of business.  

How will you know if it’s time to upgrade?

Adaptability still lies at the forefront of maintaining a strong competitive edge in business.  As the need for faster data accessibility increases along with storage capacity requirements, data center managers must be aware of the computing resource demands to preserve the stability of their networks.  Careful analysis of existing server network architecture along with developing growth expectations of a business remain primary data points when evaluating upgrade options.  The increase of SSD popularity in servers is skyrocketing this year as indicated by Intel, a top SSD vendor and supplier of enterprise SSDs, in an article released by CRN, who “told partners in an "Intel SSD Supply Health Messaging" memo that the SSD and NAND memory industry is experiencing record demand across all markets.” (Source: CRN)  While HDDs continue to outsell SSDs, the market is expected to ship 227.1 million SSD units vs. 409.9 million HDDs in 2017, which is up from 31.1 million SSDs sold in 2012 compared to 475.4 million HDDs. (Source: Ingram Micro Advisor), SSDs have an impressive growth trajectory and the data only supports the market trending to a transition towards SSD technology Premio is widely known for our design, production, and distribution of digital products with industry leading innovative server and storage designs for multiple industries worldwide. Our company is well versed in sizing server and storage options with a focus on All-Flash Arrays for enterprise SSD storage with a myriad of available resolutions.  Please contact us today to begin developing a solution that meets the dynamic business demands of your specialized application.