How to Solve Storage Challenges in Software as a Service (SaaS) Data Centers – Kaminario Briefing Note

The software as a service (SaaS) market is projected to be a $117 billion dollar market by 2019. While most of these solutions incubate in the public cloud, successful SaaS providers reach a point where the disadvantages of renting the infrastructure outweigh the advantages. As a result, most of these organizations consider bringing IT infrastructure on-premises. The problem is that SaaS has its own unique storage challenges that many storage systems can’t meet.

The Storage Challenges of SaaS

A SaaS data center can be one that provides IT infrastructure for SaaS developers or it can be dedicated to a single organization. In SaaS environments, low latency is table stakes for storage systems. SaaS data centers have a variety of mixed workloads ranging from traditional scale-up applications, to modern scale-out apps, to real-time analytics processing the storage system needs to handle this workload variety.

Successful SaaS organizations tend to grow fast, they need a storage system that can be as agile and scalable as the applications they provide. Typical scale-up architectures fall short because they can’t meet the scale at the speed of the business. But typical, rigid scale-out architectures fall short because their per-node performance does not meet the performance demands of individual apps and they lack the density to fit into the tight data center floor space that these organizations are willing to grant IT.

Kaminario – Building SaaS Ready All-Flash

Kaminario’s all-flash enterprise storage is tailor made for the SaaS market. It starts with a “scale-right” strategy. Where each node in the storage system is, in itself, powerful and at the same time able to scale workloads across nodes to keep up with the demands of a successful, rapidly growing data center. Finally, the Kaminario solutions are cost effective, typically offering best in class cost per GB and cost per IOP.

The Kaminario K2 all-flash storage solution provides a complete complement of storage services, including deduplication, compression, snapshots, replication and encryption. It also connects into a variety of platforms including OpenStack, Flocker, KVSS, VMware and UCS. They also provide a RESTful API, important for SaaS providers looking to automate and integrate storage operations.

The Kaminario K2 all-flash array has two main components. The first is the VisionOS software and operating layer which provides most of the above data services. The second is the hardware, the nodes or what Kaminario calls “K-Blocks”, on which the OS runs. Kaminario recently announced the sixth generation of the hardware (K2 Gen6) which expands the capacity on a per block bases from 60TB to 240TBs and a guaranteed effective capacity of 960TB. Performance has also improved, increasing IOPS from 250K to 370K, and bandwidth from 3.2 GB/s to 6.2GB/s. In this release, Kaminario also introduced enhancements to its embedded DataShrink software offering coupled with a new hardware compression card. The compression off-load to hardware based PCIe cards helps increase overall compression ratios by 25 percent.

Also in this release, Kaminario laid out its road-map to NVMe over Fabrics. The Gen6 K2 now supports 4 NVMe front-loading slots per K-Block. Two of these slots are currently being used for the hardware compression cards. A potential use for the other two slots include NVMe SSDs for substantially increasing cache performance.

There will be more to storage than flash SSDs and in this release. Kaminario made a case that it has the foundation for this future. It claims the K2 platform is ready for technologies like Gen 6 Fibre Channel, Intel 3D XPoint, NVDIMM and NVMe over Fabric.

StorageSwiss Take

Enterprise data centers and modern data centers sometimes seem to be at odds with each other. Enterprise can mean a lot of features but limited scalability and high price. Modern can mean lots of scalability but with limited features and per workload performance challenges. Kaminario crosses that divide. It provides excellent per workload performance, tremendous scalability and maximum flexibility.

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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