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In the Zone

StorONE combines SSD performance, QLC affordability

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 01/14/2021
Blog Category: cloud-and-data-centers

Imagine storage software that can extract the full performance of Intel Optane SSDs, yet also tier data to lower-cost Intel QLC 3D NAND SSDs, and without a read-performance penalty.

That’s the sweet spot for a startup called StorONE Inc.

Intel itself says the combo of Intel Optane SSDs + QLC (short for Quad-Level Cell) is one of its key differentiators. Yet many data centers lack the software needed to handle multiple SSD types in a single box.

That’s where StorONE comes in. The company’s S1 Enterprise Platform Storage is software that extracts the full performance of Intel Optane SSDs, using them as a storage (rather than cache) layer, while also moving older, less active data to lower-cost QLC drives.

StorONE says this approach makes sense because about 80% of enterprise data hasn’t changed in years, and probably never will. What’s more, the average shop actively access only about 5% of its data.

What this means is that an Intel Optane SSD tier sized at just 5% of an organization’s data can handle most of the write I/O. The other 95% can be handled by a cheaper storage alternative, which in StorONE’s case is QLC SSD.

QLC is a solid-state disk technology that delivers high-density storage at a lower cost/GB than its predecessors. As the name implies, QLC stores 4 bits of data on a single cell.

However, frequent writing to QLC drives can affect their durability. For this reason, QLC drives are especially valued for use with “warm” data — information that gets analyzed frequently, but changed only rarely.

So when StoONE’s S1:Tier technology demotes older data from the Intel Optane SSD tier, it writes that data to QLC in large sequential blocks. Fortunately, the Intel QLC 3D NAND SSD tier can provide read performance at performance levels that approach those of Intel Optane SSD tech. There’s no need to promote data unless it’s modified by an application.

Stack in a box

Taking the concept one step further, StorONE in June introduced the All-Flash (AFAn). It’s a box that combines StorONE’s S1 software with an Intel server using both Optane and QLC storage media.

The AFAn can deliver more than 1 million read IOPS (input/output operations per second) and more than 300,000 sustained write IOPS, according to StoreONE.

StorONE AFAn: an innovative hardware-software combo

All that may sound exotic, yet this storage system is designed for traditional data centers, especially those at midsize companies and divisions of larger enterprises. To that end, the AFAn supports such mainstream workloads as VMware, Hyper-V, Oracle and MS-SQL. StorONE says it also can provide the extreme performance required by applications such as analytics and AI.

StorONE’s setup is also capable of handling data bursts. In most data centers, the intensity and type data traffic can vary moment by moment. A period of substantial write I/O may be followed by a period of heavy read I/O, which may be followed in turn by a period of no I/O. StorOne says its AFAn can take advantage of these moments to move data and prepare itself for the next IO burst.

Get the (TRU) price

How much does StorONE’s storage system cost? That depends, of course. But the company has innovated in this area, too.

It offers a price estimator called TRUprice. You start by selecting a server, the level of capacity, use case, and capacity requirements. Then StorONE will show you how much a turnkey, enterprise storage system will cost you over 3 years.

For example, I tested the TRUprice engine by selecting an Intel-based server … high-availability … a storage capacity of 33TB (3TB Optane, 30TB QLC) … and got a 3-year total cost of ownership (TCO) of just over $78K. It was quick and easy.

If your customers are looking for an innovative storage solution, tell them about StorONE. StorONE is 100% channel driven, so contact the company for your exact price.

Check out StorONE.


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