Software-Led IT Environments, Flash Storage Provide Net Savings

Wikibon research shows that new software-led infrastructures leveraging the latest SSD technology from vendors like SolidFire can provide a large enough savings in database licensing alone in enterprise shops to more than pay for the costs of the new infrastructure. It also will provide increased control of system performance and improved operational flexibility with the potential for guaranteed database IO performance for each application. Wikibon CTO David Floyer presents the full analysis in his latest Professional Alert, “Software-led Infrastructure: Optimizing Database Deployment.”

In a traditional, unvirtualized storage environment, database licensing accounts for 88% of the database deployment costs and is the largest component of the enterprise software budget. Moving to software-led storage can reduce that cost by 30% to 82% of the total infrastructure. It accomplishes this by reducing the number of cores required to run large databases. In a typical example, SLI deployment reduces the number of cores from 96 to 64. Since database licensing typically is based on the number of cores, this allows the enterprise to decrease its licensing costs. In addition, the SLI deployment adds more high availability options, increases flexibility in both deployment and updating, and both unifies management of the infrastructure in one control space and automates many routine tasks, simplifying overall management.

SLI has five fundamental characteristics:

  1. Pervasive virtualization and encapsulation,
  2. Distributed high-performance persistent storage,
  3. Intelligent data management capabilities,
  4. Unified metadata about system, application, and data, and,
  5. Software-defined networking.

Eliminating “Noisy Neighbors”

The addition of the lowest latency SSD for high activity data can minimize the “noisy neighbor” performance issue. At least one vendor, SolidFire, now provides a management tool that allows DBAs to dial the performance they need from each application into the database to meet SLAs. This guarantees that those performance requirements will be met in the database, regardless of issues such as poorly written queries that can lock a database on traditional HD arrays. In high-demand environments, software-defined networking running over 10 GB Ethernet can virtually eliminate similar issues on a well-architected network.

Concerns over the disadvantages of virtualization have largely prevented virtualization of storage arrays, Floyer writes. The latest technologies, however, minimize these while maximizing the value of the benefits of software-led architectures. This makes the argument for fully virtualized environments, including Tier 1 applications, compelling.

As with all Wikibon research, this Alert is available in its entirety on the public Wikibon Web site. IT professionals are invited to register for membership in the Wikibon community. This allows them to comment on research and publish their own Professional Alerts, tips, questions, and relevant white papers. It also subscribes them to invitations to the periodic Peer Incite meetings, at which their peers discuss the solutions they have found to real-world problems, and to the Peer Incite Newsletter, in which Wikibon and outside experts analyze aspects of the subjects discussed in these meetings.