In this episode we talk NVMe shared storage with Josh Goldenhar (@eeschwa), VP, Customer Success at Excelero. Josh has been on our show before (please see our April 2017 podcast), the last time with Excelero’s CTO & Co-founder, Yavin Romen.
This is Excelero’s 1st sponsored GBoS podcast and we wish to welcome them again to the show. Since Excelero’s NVMesh storage software is in customer hands now, Josh is transitioning to add customer support to his other duties.
NVMe storage industry trends
We started our discussion with the maturing NVMe market. Howard mentioned he heard that NVMe SSD sales have overtaken SATA SSD volumes. Josh mentioned that NVMe SSDs are getting harder to come by, driven primarily by Super 8 (8 biggest hyper-scalars) purchases. And even when these SSDs can be found, customers are paying a premium for NVMe drives.
The industry is also starting to sell larger capacity NVMe SSDs. Customers view this as a way of buying cheaper ($/GB) storage. However, most NVMe shared storage systems use mirroring for data protection, which cuts effective (protected) capacity in half, doubling cost/GB.
Another change in the market, is that with today’s apps many customers no longer need all the read AND write IO performance from their NVMe storage. For newer applications/workloads, writes are less frequent and as such, less a driver of application performance. But read performance is still critical.
The other industry trend is a number of new vendors offering NVMeoF (Ethernet) storage arrays (see: Pavillion Data’s, Atalla Systems’s, and Solarflare Communication’s podcasts in just the last few months). Most of the startup systems are essentially top of rack shared NVMe SSDs and some with limited data protection/ management services.
Excelero’s NVMesh has offered a logical volume manager as well as protected NVMe shared storage since the start, with RAID 0 and protected, RAID 1/10 storage.
Excelero is coming out with a new release of its NVMesh™ software defined storage.
We were particularly interested in one of NVMesh 2’s new capabilities, its distributed data protection, which is based on Erasure Coding (EC, like RAID 6), with a stripe that includes 8+2 segments. Unlike mirroring/RAID1-10, EC only reduces effective NVMe storage capacity by 20% for protection. And also protects against 2 drive failures within a RAID group.
However, with distributed data protection, write IO will not perform as well as reads. But reads perform just as fast as ever.
As with any data protection, customers will need sufficient spare capacity to rebuild data for a failed device.
The latest release will be available to all current customers, on service contract. When available, customers should immediately start benefiting from the space efficient, distributed data protection for new data on the system.
The new release also adds Fibre Channel (as Howard correctly guessed on the podcast) and TCP/IP protocols to their current InfiniBand, RoCE, and NVMeoF support as well as new performance analytics to help diagnose performance issues faster and at scale.
The podcast runs ~25 minutes. Josh has an interesting perspective on the NVMe storage market as well as competitive solutions and was great to talk with again. The new data protection functionality in Excelero NVMesh 2 signals an evolving NVMe storage market. As NVMe storage matures, the tradeoff between performance and data services, looks to be an active war zone for some time to come. Listen to the podcast to learn more.