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CloudSigma Consolidates on SSDs for HPC IaaS

Over at GigaOm, David Meyer writes that European IaaS provider CloudSigma has abandoned magnetic disks for solid-state storage. After a pilot test of SolidFire’s all-SSD storage system, CloudSigma now feels confident enough to offer a service-level agreement for performance, as well as uptime.

According to CloudSigma COO Bernino Lind, the shift to SSD is a major help when it comes to handling HPC workloads, such as those of Helix Nebula users CERN, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL):

They want to go to opex instead of capex, but the problem is there is no-one really who does public infrastructure-as-a-service which works well enough for HPC. There is contention — variable performance on compute power and, even worse, really variable performance on IOPS [Input/Output Operations Per Second]. When you have a lot of I/O operations, then you get all over the spectrum from having a couple of hundred to having 1,000 and it just goes up and down. It means that, once you run a large big data setup, you get iowaits and your entire stack normally just stops and waits.” Lind pointed out that, while aggregated spinning-disk setups will only allow up to 10,000 IOPS, one SSD will allow 100,000-1.5 million IOPS. That mitigates that particular contention problem. “There should be a law that public IaaS shouldn’t run on magnetic disks,” he said. “The customer buys something that works sometimes and doesn’t work other times – it shouldn’t be possible to sell something that has that as a quality.”

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