Lightboard Video: Solving for Flash Read Latency Outliers

The advent of disaggregated and distributed cloud-based applications along with inconsistent read latencies inherent in solid-state drive (SSD) storage media, create a new application performance bottleneck. George Crump, Lead Analyst for Storage Switzerland, recently spoke with Joe Dedrick, Vice President and General Manager of Toshiba Memory’s KumoScale Accelerated Storage Group, about the problems created by flash read latency outliers.

Storage disk media, including SSDs and hard disk drives (HDDs), are single threaded in that, when they are being written to, they cannot also be read from. Whereas HDD performance is very predictable, this is not always the case with SSDs. For traditional enterprise applications, this might not be a problem because the application runs based on the average latency. However, distributed cloud applications require consistent performance; they can only perform as fast as the slowest chip in the SSD.

Toshiba’s KumoScale storage software applies a buffering-like approach to overcome the performance impact of flash read latency outliers. Effectively, the software can divide SSDs into two “sets” that can both be read from or written to. As one “set” is being read from, the software caches write traffic to that “set.” Meanwhile, write traffic is flowing to the other “set” at full performance. As the write cache builds, the software flips – allowing data that was cached to be written.

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Senior Analyst, Krista Macomber produces analyst commentary and contributes to a range of client deliverables including white papers, webinars and videos for Storage Switzerland. She has a decade of experience covering all things storage, data center and cloud infrastructure, including: technology and vendor portfolio developments; customer buying behavior trends; and vendor ecosystems, go-to-market positioning, and business models. Her previous experience includes leading the IT infrastructure practice of analyst firm Technology Business Research, and leading market intelligence initiatives for media company TechTarget.

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