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Quality of Service Is Not a Feature... It’s an Architecture

Being able to guarantee application performance in all situations requires an architecture built from the ground up

The ability to guarantee performance to thousands of applications at once has garnered praise from analysts and enterprises alike. Without this guarantee, cloud providers will not be able to meet the rising performance requirements of enterprise customers. Given the compelling advantages for performance isolation and guaranteed storage QoS, it's no wonder that storage vendors are adding QoS features to their products. We recently discussed some of the simplistic approaches to QoS offered by storage systems, however the ability to guarantee performance to applications is not as simple as adding a new bullet point to a lengthy feature list.

Being able to guarantee application performance in all situations - including failure scenarios, system overload, variable workloads, and elastic demand - requires an architecture built from the ground up specifically to guarantee storage Quality of Service. Trying to bolt Quality of Service onto an architecture that was never designed to deliver performance guarantees is like strapping a jet engine to a VW Beetle. The wheels will come off just when you get up to speed.

Solving Performance from the Core
There are six architectural storage requirements that get to the root of the performance problem that overcome every predictability challenge. Together, these six requirements enable true storage Quality of Service and establish the benchmark for guaranteeing performance to applications within a multi-tenant infrastructure.

  • All-SSD Architecture
    • Enables the delivery consistent latency for every IO
  • True Scale-out Architecture
    • Linear, predictable performance gains as system scales
  • RAID-less Data Protection
    • Predictable performance in any failure condition
  • Balanced Load Distribution
    • Eliminate hot spots that create unpredictable IO latency
  • Fine Grain QoS Control
    • Completely eliminate noisy neighbors, and guarantee volume performance
  • Performance Virtualization
    • Control performance independent of capacity and on demand

Solving for just one of these requirements doesn't offer true storage Quality of Service. Each one needs to be encapsulated into a coherent architecture. After all, it doesn't matter what is affecting performance, but that performance is being affected at all. Many traditional storage architectures treat some of these symptoms by strapping on the "jet engine," but ultimately storage QoS is not a feature, it's an architecture, built from the beginning to perform the way it should.


About SolidFire
SolidFire delivers high-performance data storage systems for cloud service providers. Leveraging an all-flash scale-out storage architecture with patented volume-level quality-of-service (QoS) controls, providers can now guarantee storage performance to thousands of applications within shared infrastructures. By using real-time data reduction techniques and system-wide automation, SolidFire is fueling new and profitable block-storage services that are advancing the way the world uses the cloud.

More Stories By Dave Wright

Dave Wright is founder & CEO of SolidFire, a leader in all-solid-state (SSD) storage systems. He left Stanford in 1998 to help start GameSpy Industries, a leader in online videogame media, technology, and software. While at GameSpy, hee led the team that created a back-end infrastructure powering thousands of games and millions of gamers. GameSpy merged with IGN Entertainment in 2004 to create one of the largest Internet gaming & entertainment media companies. Dave served as Chief Architect for IGN and lead technology integration with FIM / MySpace after IGN was acquired by NewsCorp in 2005.

In 2007 Dave founded Jungle Disk, a pioneer and early leader in cloud-based storage and backup solutions for consumers and businesses. Jungle Disk was acquired by leading cloud provider Rackspace in 2008 and he worked closely with the Rackspace Cloud division to build a cloud platform supporting tens of thousands of customers. In December 2009 he left Rackspace to start SolidFire.

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