Solving the Cloud Data Center Storage-at-Scale Problem

Author: Dave Berry

In 2011, Andy Bechtolsheim highlighted the need to think about TCO with a famous economics quote, “Over the long term, absent of other barriers, economics always win.” Andy,Data Center Blueprint Open Compute of course, is a Silicon Valley legend, and talking economics provided insight into his total approach to innovation. The analogy clearly applies in the data center for storage as the explosion of Big Data arrives.

Data centers deploying storage at scale for workloads like Hadoop Big Data Analytics or OpenStack Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) need extreme capacity and performance/$ that a common 8-port HBA or adapter just can’t deliver. To get there, you need to redefine how a rack can be architected.

That’s the approach that we took when we looked at providing high-density storage connectivity support for the Open Compute Project (OCP). The solution comes down to density: the more ports you have on your adapter, the more JBODs you can connect in a rack, and the fewer server nodes you need to invest in. Check out our OCP Data Center Blueprint infographic to see what I mean.

With three times as many ports as other solutions, our 24-port RAID adapter enables the densest Open Rack storage capacity, connecting more Open Vault JBOD storage arrays per Winterfell server head node. A common scale-out configuration can now support connectivity for 360 drives per rack, a 33 percent increase in capacity, with fewer Winterfell servers.

For a 5,000-rack deployment, the savings are in the range of $75 million. So just remember: superior economics always win!

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