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Latency – Where are we headed?

As a follow-up to “Latency – How far have we come in a decade“, I thought it would be useful to add the recent Solid State Storage data to the mix. As already discussed under SATA SSD Product Announcements, there are several SATA SSDs available, from consumer up through enterprise class. The advantage of SATA SSDs is the ability to leverage an existing infrastructure and to also take advantage of the 3 primary values of RAID controllers – physical drive capacity aggregation, volume management and performance. But the RAID controller can also add latency for the software stack. The Fusionio product line integrates PCI express, a storage controller, Flash Translation Layer (FTL) and NAND flash into a single PCIe solid state storage solution.

From Fusion-io’s ioDrive ioDrive Duo web site specification tab:

This is a significant latency and throughput improvement over HDD based RAID and the current crop of SSDs. As can be seen on system level chart shown below Fusion-io’s PCIe solid state storage only incurs ~ 1.5 order of magnitude increase in latency for off processor complex references. This is significant and can greatly benefit those aspects of the compute and storage hierarchy that are latency sensitive.

Where and how is solid state storage used? Can system level capacity and performance be improved? Are there limitations? Aspects to watch out for? That is a discussion for another day ……

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