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If your customers plan to refresh their aging servers, they’re already looking at the latest processors and server software. But do they also know about a new storage combo that can lower costs dramatically even as it speeds system performance?

This setup combines 3 key elements from Intel: a 2nd gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor, Intel Optane DC SSD (solid-state device), and Intel QLC 3D NAND SSD storage.

Intel Optane p4800

Intel Optane DC SSD

Together, this hardware trio can make your customers’ already-good server refresh even better. According to Intel’s calculations, when compared with a more conventional system, when evaluated in a Ceph block storage environment this setup offers nearly 2x the storage, yet for 10% less cost.

If your customers mainly store block data, you may know about the Ceph software storage platform. What’s pertinent here is that the Intel Optane DC SSD exists as a Ceph cache tier to handle Write Ahead Log (WAL) and RockDB functions. The result is an Optane-loaded server that can more efficiently handle massive amounts of block storage in the much larger SSD capacity tier.

Beginning of the end

Refreshing your customers’ servers is more than just a good idea. It’s pretty much a business necessity.

For one, Microsoft is soon ending support for two popular server software platforms. SQL Server 2008/R2 support is set to end in July. And Windows Server 2008/R2 support is set to end in January. Both those dates are coming soon.

For another, chances are good your customers’ servers are getting old. The average refresh cycle is now in the neighborhood of 7 years. If that sounds like your customers, they’re missing out. Today’s more modern servers are more secure, better optimized for cloud, and more reliable — saving both time and money.

Storage is vital

Storage is a major component of most server refreshes. Yet compared with the latest cool processors, storage can get overlooked. That’s a mistake. Remind your customers why that storage is vital. You’ll be helping them save money and get more performance, too.

Intel has the numbers to prove it. Consider two servers setups: One with a 1st gen Intel Xeon processor and Intel DC SSD storage; the other, with the combination of 2nd gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor, Intel Optane DC SSD for WAL/RocksDB, and Intel QLC 3D NAND SSD as storage.

As the following chart (courtesy of Intel) shows, the more modern setup delivers almost twice the storage capacity per node: 46TB compared with 24TB. It also delivers better performance: 10% more inputs/outputs per second and 67% less latency. Yet it costs $4,000 less per node ($28K vs. $32K).

Optane proof points

Physically, this setup benefits by placing the Intel Optane DC SSD in between the processor and the storage tier. Frequently used data is automatically placed in the Intel Optane DC SSD, which allows it move data much faster than a NAND-based SSD.

What’s more, when compared with a NAND SSD, Optane technology offers much higher density, lower latency, and better quality of service. These factors can contribute to the ability to set more aggressive and favorable Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for Ceph customers.

Powerful processors

Also, the 2nd gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors offer performance improvements over the previous generation of 25% to 35%, according to Intel. They deliver features for security, AI, enhanced memory support, and agility too.


Intel QLC 3D NAND SSD: large yet affordable

The third piece of the trio, Intel QLC 3D NAND SSD, offers high storage capacities at a low cost. These drives offer an aerial density advantage of 33% more bits per cell than the prior generation of Intel 3D NAND. The result is a high-capacity, cost-effective PCIe drive optimized for read-intensive storage workloads.

Put it all together, and your customers will have a winning package from Intel for their refreshed servers.


Blog Category: 
Cloud and Data Centers