The transition from Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) to Solid State Drives (SSDs) is one of the most significant storage trends occurring in the industry today. This major shift is happening for two important reasons:
- Even though HDD-based systems have lower upfront costs, the inevitable breakdown due their moving parts (motors, heads, etc.) results in higher Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Although SSD deployments are initially more expensive, their long-term durability lowers TCO and makes them increasingly attractive compared to HDD setups.
- The need to match steadily increasing application performance demands that HDDs simply can’t satisfy. Currently, only the higher performing solid-state storage solutions are able to meet this requirement.
The increasing deployment of faster SSDs has shifted the data bottleneck from the storage interface to the network interconnect. Although there are many benefits to switching to a complete SSD storage array, the resulting bottleneck at the network level can cause data transfer and latency complications as SSDs will quickly saturate the capacity of traditional network fabrics. This is where high performance RDMA-based network protocols can make a significant impact.
In a recent Datanami article, “The Network is the New Storage Bottleneck,” Rob Davis, Mellanox’s Vice President of Storage Technology, explains the driving factors behind the HDD to SSD transition, the shifting storage performance bottleneck, and how advanced network protocols like InfiniBand, RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE), and NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) are accelerating network performance to meet faster storage needs.
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