NVMe over Fabrics Needs NVMe Storage Systems

E8 Flash Memory Summit Briefing Note

When selecting a storage system users have to choose between reliability, performance and cost. Vendors try a variety of methods to deliver on all three. But as the old adage goes, you can only pick two of these attributes. Today users have to sift through choices that include server-side flash, scale out and scale up all-flash arrays and hyperconverged architectures. While some of these deployment methods get close to delivering an equal amount of reliability, performance and cost, they continue to fall short. E8 claims it has the answer with its new NVMe Flash Array.

Flash Demands have Evolved

Organizations moved beyond their initial euphoria over flash storage. Initially, the welcomed anything with flash inside. Then as IT understood the true capabilities of flash and fine-tuned their applications and environments to take advantage of it those initial systems appear limited.

Today, data centers need flash arrays that not only deliver the full performance potential of flash storage but do so in a very dense, space saving package. They also need high availability since the workloads being placed on them are often critical to the organization. Most of the first generation of flash arrays get nowhere near the potential performance of the flash devices they house. They are also leveraging legacy storage system packaging designed for hard disk, which could not pack as densely as flash storage.

Enter E8 NVMe Flash Array

E8 builds its flash array from the ground up to leverage NVMe and the company claims latency on par with local NVMe SSDs. The goal is to extract the full performance of the flash array and position the unit as an alternative to hyperconverged flash offerings.

E8 Storage’s E8-D24 uses off-the-shelf hardware, NVMe SSD drive and Ethernet interface cards to deliver a cost effective yet highly performing storage system. The use of NVMe instead of SCSI provides low latency that rivals internal server storage. The sum of this technology is a system that delivers potentially 10 million IOPS with only 100 micro-seconds of latency.

The system also provides impressive density by providing 70TB of capacity in a 2U of rack space, and E8 promises 140TB available in the next year. It can scale to 100 servers. The system is also highly available with dual controllers and dual parity RAID 6 data protection.

StorageSwiss Take

NVMe and NVMe over fabrics is only part of the answer to tapping into the full performance potential of flash storage. The rest of the environment needs to catch up. This includes network interface cards, switches and, of course, storage systems. We thought that storage systems might be the laggard in the transition but E8 seems to be out in front with a very impressive system.

Eight years ago George Crump, founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal. To educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is and a heavily sought after public speaker. With 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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Posted in Briefing Note

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