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WHIPTAIL, a flash-based storage array manufacturer, was founded in 2009 in Summit, NJ. The company is named after the Whiptail Racerunner lizard, an extremely fast species indigenous to the southwestern United States. The XLR8r SSD storage array was released to “general availability” late 2008. In 2012 WHIPTAIL launched ACCELA and INVICTA, and further expanded its flash array line in 2013 with the INFINITY architecture and WT-1100.
A solid-state device or drive (SSD) is the next generation of data storage. The architecture of an SSD does not employ rotating disks at all. An SSD utilizes a memory chip with erasable, writable cells that can hold data even when powered off. Solid-state memory is in popular consumer devices such as iPhones, Blackberries, digital cameras, etc.
This is the fun part…
Speed – Clients will see incredible increases in performance, up to 30X (60X latency advantage). Large reports that used to take 24 hours can now take minutes.
Dramatically Lower TCO – WHIPTAIL’s arrays can replace a fully populated storage shelf at a 1:30 ratio and eliminate up to 90% power and space, which is huge for Green IT initiatives.
Durability – The underlying architecture allows for more stability and endurance in non-optimal environments (e.g. heat, cold).
In almost every scenario, the answer would be yes. However, WHIPTAIL’s storage solutions come embedded with our proprietary software that extends the lifetime of the drives. The software also dramatically optimizes the potency of the underlying flash architecture. Thus, WHIPTAIL allows Tier 0 performance to be a realistic option as a primary SAN for enterprises today.
As Intel and AMD continue breaking new barriers with CPU technology, servers today are starved for data; the current magnetic spinning disk storage arrays are maxed-out on their speed (15K). The future is solid-state storage, and that future is now.
Examples of those applications which require a higher performing array than magnetic legacy spinning disks offer include:
Virtualized Desktops or “VDI”
Poor performing applications (Email, ERP, CRM)
Highly transactional online applications (OLTP)
And Many others
Virtualization environments are typically over-subscribed when it comes to disk performance. Everyone is competing for the same pool of resources. This is typically not a problem in an environment where low utilization servers have been virtualized. However, when mid-large organizations try to virtualize Tier One applications, such as Microsoft Exchange, major disk performance issues often emerge. Oversubscribed disk systems are notoriously hard to identify. CPU and Memory usage is much more “in the face” of administrators. Disk systems require intimate knowledge of the underlying disk infrastructure and the workloads running on them.
Virtualization can make this even more challenging as most monitoring and management tools only show you the amount of data being transferred back and forth. Since many systems are competing for the same disk resource, it can turn a SEQUENTIAL workload into a much more demanding RANDOM workload (RANDOM being the worst possible workload for a mechanical disk). This is because in virtualization, every VM gets a timeslice of every available resource (CPU, MEMORY, DISK, other IO, etc). Thus, a nice sequential file transfer (say a really big ISO image) gets interrupted every so many milliseconds by another file server or an Exchange server, causing the read/write head to be moved to another track, incurring a seek penalty.
Since WHIPTAIL’s arrays are completely solid-state in nature, average data access time is sub-millisecond (0.1 ms). Essentially, SEQUENTIAL and RANDOM workloads are no different to our arrays. While virtualization overhead can be seen as low (6–15%), it is still significant and impacts performance for IO intensive applications. WHIPTAIL’s storage solutions’ latency advantage (even with 15% overhead) is 30–60X faster than running without a hypervisor. WHIPTAIL allows enterprises to finally recognize the value of virtualizing this tier of applications by making the “performance pool” dramatically larger, eliminating the contention.
With the dramatic pace of development from chip makers Intel and AMD, today’s enterprise servers are simply being starved for data. Processing speeds have increased exponentially, while the speed at which a disk spins has not changed in over 7 years—a lifetime in the world of computers. This performance delta between the two is only being exacerbated by each release of their chips (Nehalem and Shanghai respectively). The underlying issue is this: database workloads are extremely demanding on traditional spinning disk systems.
The majority of the traffic is based on extremely small request sizes and is often random in nature. The mechanical latency is a limiting factor in database performance. Barring a cache “hit” (data already being in a RAM buffer), each request will likely require the movement of the read/write head incurring a 6–9 millisecond penalty while the head is moved and the data is retrieved. Adding in the speed limitations of traditional disks being 15,000 RPM (unless you like micro-sonic booms in your servers that is), they can perform at a sustained 200 I/O operations per second; it becomes clear that a customer will need to over-invest in a large number of drives just to gain even a moderate performance increase. This vicious circle is one of the largest challenges facing enterprises today and is directly responsible for the huge percent of an enterprise’s IT budget being allocated strictly for storage—in many cases over 60%.
WHIPTAIL’s solutions are specifically tuned for low latency, high I/O environments. Its horsepower more than accommodates for the demanding requests of today’s Nehalem and Shanghai processors with its proven ability to do over 250,000 I/O operations per second at small request sizes (4K) with sub millisecond latency. With its minimal data-center footprint of 2U, and limited power consumption.
Absolutely! WHIPTAIL has a corporate evaluation program. Simply call us at 908.743.1280 or submit your information online for a 15-day evaluation.