Are You Running Your NVMe SSDs Without Protection?

Solid-State Drives (SSDs) are the de facto choice for modern data centers. Mainly due to their low latency, high throughput, and low power consumption. 

SDDs also hold most of today’s data for applications, including:

  • Databases
  • Analytics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Fortune 1000
  • Hyperscalers
  • HPC Environments

The Problem with SSD Failures

Increases in flash density to support data growth have decreased NAND chip-level reliability. Also, software inefficiencies worsen the problem by increasing write, read, and space amplification. These issues cause SSDs to underperform and wear out faster. 

Customers tell us SSD faults in the servers hosting data-hungry applications are the single largest cause of significant downtime. As a result, they find maintaining high-performance, high-reliability SSD-based storage systems challenging.

SSD failures also cause recovery and repair overhead, even with RAID and replication schemes. Moreover, it affects the cost and performance of server and storage systems. 

In addition, Site Reliability Engineers (SRE) must take the failing host out of its cluster. However, this causes it to rebalance, which increases application latency. Data center technicians will also need to swap the drive if an SSD needs replacing.

This approach has a cost in terms of time, monetary impact on the business, and customer experience.

Do these problems sound familiar? What options can protect the system from SSD-related downtime without major trade offs?

Common RAID Configurations

Let’s compare the most common RAID configurations:

  • RAID 0 – This configuration offers maximum performance. But it has no data protection. A single drive failure results in server downtime and total data loss. Also, implementing data protection at the cluster level leads to longer rebalancing times.
  • RAID 10 (1+0) – Multiple sets of mirrors (RAID 1) striped together (RAID 0). This configuration offers good performance with good data protection but at a high cost.
  • RAID 5 – RAID 5 protects from a single drive failure by striping data across all drives and distributing parity data across those drives. RAID 5 also has a huge penalty for write performance and amplification. This accelerates SSD wear out. Rebuild times are also painfully slow, and CPU overhead is significant for software RAID 5 configurations. Plus, a spare drive is required where a failed drive’s allocated capacity is rebuilt.

Eliminate Server Downtime with Pliops Extreme Data Processor

All traditional RAID options come with big tradeoffs regarding protection, performance, or cost. What if you can have your cake and eat it too? 

Pliops takes a new approach that eliminates these tradeoffs. The Pliops Extreme Data Processor (XDP) delivers full NVMe SSD performance while protecting from multiple drive failures. We call this Pliops Drive Failure Protection (DFP).

Traditional RAID vs. Pliops XDP Chart
Traditional RAID vs. Pliops XDP

In addition, XDP reduces write amplification by up to 90%. This makes it possible to use the lowest cost, highest capacity TLC and QLC SSDs in the data center. 

Moreover, XDP is a game-changer because it delivers full NVMe performance and eliminates SSD-related server downtime.

Drive Failure Protection Highlights 

  • Flash Optimized Architecture: Breakthrough data structures and algorithms ensures optimal protection without slowing performance to meet demanding service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Virtual Hot Capacity (VHC): Unique dynamic capacity allocation eliminates the need to allocate any drives as spares
  • Drive Failure Protection: Multiple drive failure protection to prevent data loss provides increased storage resiliency
  • Power Failure Protection: Non-volatile memory (NVM) preserves meta and user data against loss
  • Automatic Rebuild: Recovery immediately begins using available VHC capacity without reducing usable capacity

Learn more about Pliops Drive Failure Protection and how it can help increase your server reliability:

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