Solid-state drives in Pillar’s Axiom chassis allow solution providers to add a fifth tier of storage capability to the solution, to create networked, pooled storage for clients and allocate data’s location based on quality of service requirements.
Pillar Data Systems will add solid-state drive technology to its Axiom storage solutions, allowing solution providers to deliver faster, more cost-effective, highly available solutions for midmarket and enterprise customers.
The introduction of SSD drives into Pillar’s Axiom chassis allows solution providers to add a fifth tier of storage capability to the solution, says Bob Maness, vice president of worldwide marketing at Pillar.
The Axiom solution and management and provisioning software allows solution providers and customers to create networked, pooled storage out of various drive types, says Maness. The software can then allocate which data resides on which type of storage based on quality-of-service requirements, retention and performance needs, he says.
“SSD’s high performance and high availability allow us to use those drives as the ‘premium,’ or highest-tier, storage band,” Maness says. “And the solution ensures that only the most mission-critical data is placed on SSDs, while lower tiers of data are stored on traditional drive types,” he says. As SSD technology matures and becomes somewhat a commodity, solution providers can deliver incredibly high service levels for customers at a much lower cost.
Making this all possible is Pillar’s Quality of Service functionality within its Application-Aware Storage System, which allows a solution provider or administrator to easily prioritise the data. They simply define the application type and service need through a simple drop-down menu. The system then automatically delivers differentiated storage service levels based on the business priority of each application. Those storage service levels include determining which disk drive type (SSD, Fibre Channel or SATA) to write the data to, says Maness.
While there’s some degree of automation involved, Maness says, it’s important that designating data priority be controlled manually so there’s no inadvertent disruption of databases that may be fractured or applications that may not run if certain pieces are moved, he says.
Along with being able to provision storage, the software also gives solution providers and administrators customised control of the CPU and each of the drives to ensure optimum performance.
As SSD costs commoditise significantly and reliability and durability improve, Maness says the market is ripe for solutions built around SSD technology. The increasing onslaught of Internet applications, search engines and database-dependant applications for business intelligence and CRM will only further the demand for high-performance, high-availability, low-cost solutions that integrate SSD, he says.
“Any high-speed database-reliant application needs technology like SSD that has no latency. The drive doesn’t need to spin around until it finds data that it needs—it’s instantaneous,” he says.
SSD’s high availability and performance also means customers can slash upfront storage infrastructure costs, since they can fit much more data on solid-state drives than on traditional storage media.
“With SSD, you can actually buy less premium storage. Customers who traditionally buy Fibre Channel storage technology can get the same performance from one ‘brick’ of SSD storage that they previously got from five or six Fibre Channel ‘bricks,’” Maness says.
These benefits make the introduction of SSD into Pillar’s Axiom ideal for solution providers who are selling into the midmarket and large enterprise market, Maness says, but the solution is also applicable for any smaller business running applications that need the combination of performance, availability and reliability.
“It’s not so much the size of the customer as it is the type of applications they are running and how critical the data those applications generate,” he says.
The Axiom solution with integrated SSD is currently in beta with three solution providers, and Maness says he hopes to add a couple more within the next few weeks. The solution will be available to solution providers beginning in June 2009.