SC10 Trends: Really Fast and Really Dense Storage

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Jeffrey Layton at Linux Magazine takes an in-depth look at two major data storage trends from SC10 in the form of really fast and really dense devices.

One of the basic tenants of HPC storage is density. The more storage per rack unit (TB/U) results in fewer racks being used, shorter cable lengths, and possibly reduced costs since the number of chassis is reduced. Several companies have high density storage chassis including DDN, NexSAN, and Scalable Informatics. At SC10, LSI announced a new high density storage unit, the Engenio 2600-HD (previously known as Wembley). All of these storage devices increase the storage density by creating new chassis designs. Some of them mount the drives vertically through the top of the chassis. This allows the chassis to increase the density by putting in more drives. This also means that you have to pull out the chassis to replace a specific drive but they are usually designed for this while they continue to operate.

When it comes to speed, Layton goes on to describe the various storage tiers that HPC users employ depending on how often they need to access their data:

At SC10, the number of vendors discussing tier-0 storage technology was much greater than the last few years. This trend is significant because tier-0 storage is fairly expensive and usually he purview of vertical markets, such as the financial industry, that need the fastest performance regardless of the cost, or for large HPC centers that have very large applications and need high performance I/O to avoid creating a bottleneck and becoming a detriment to their performance.