There was a time when oil was considered the world’s most valuable resource. Today, data has emerged as the ‘new oil’ driving the digital economy. With constant changes in today’s business environment, data workloads are evolving; and so are applications and their storage requirements. Over time, SSDs have become the storage technology-of-choice for application acceleration and access to real-time data. Take for instance emerging technologies, such as autonomous driving, AI, machine learning, edge applications, etc., which generate hundreds of terabytes of data. With the technology landscape rapidly shifting, data infrastructure has taken a quantum leap to help organizations meet data demands and support new workloads.
Here are five key trends boosting the next generation of NVMe SSDs in data centers and the cloud:
- Workload evolution
The introduction of cloud storage and the proliferation of analytics, edge devices and machine learning (ML) has led organizations to adapt their infrastructure to new types of workloads. Above all, we are witnessing a huge shift in the diversity of data being generated by enterprises as well as consumers. Consider the exponential increase in video data – with content providers streaming 694K hours of video in a single minute! It is no surprise video on-demand, streaming and caching videos have become the entertainment standard.
2. A better understanding of the role of data infrastructure
Irrespective of cloud-first companies or those in the midst of digital transformation, data center architects nowadays come with a deeper knowledge of their applications and keen insights on the demand for their infrastructure. Therefore, based on an application’s read and write patterns, data center architects are deploying NVMe SSDs as primary storage devices that can deliver optimum performance as well as low power and high endurance for executing a particular task.
3. Advancements in 3D NAND technology
A type of non-volatile storage technology, NAND has revolutionized Internet of Things (IoT), mobile devices, personal computing, wearables, videography and flash in the data center. The advancements in NAND flash technology have led to more capacity and higher density SSDs. This has ensured a high level of endurance, performance and reliability, thereby opening new possibilities for optimized flash-based devices.
Designed to maximise the benefit of high-performance flash storage media, NVM Express (NVMe) delivers blazing fast performance and low latency. This technology has proved to be a game-changer for data centers and applications, particularly for real-time analytics, machine-to-machine (M2M) workloads, Internet of Things (IoT), and emerging technologies, which are based on NVMe over Fabrics.
Western Digital’s offering of two new families of Ultrastar NVMe SSDs – DC SN640 and DC SN340 – will set a new bar for performance and power efficiency, laying the foundation for next-generation purpose-built infrastructure. These drives are ideal for extreme performance in mixed-workload applications, including SQL Server, MySQL, virtual desktops and other business-critical workloads using hyper-converged Infrastructures, such as VMware vSAN and Microsoft Azure Stack HCI solutions.
5. The move from general to purpose-built solutions
Choosing the right data storage foundation is crucial for optimizing solutions for delivering efficiencies in the changing data landscape. Data center customers are fast realizing that the current general-purpose architectures are inefficient and carry resource and cost overhead. As the demand for data centers multiply, the concept of ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t work. Thus, organisations need to focus on developing purpose-built solutions and adopt architectures that go beyond the limited resource ratios of general-purpose processing, memory, storage and interconnect. Innovative technologies, such as 3D NAND, and various tiers of flash enabled by NVMe as well as a wide range of form factors, will help deliver enhanced capabilities that can meet the new demands of data.
The next generation data center
The entire IT ecosystem is undergoing a sea of change – one that is enabling more opportunities for data and is unlocking new revenue streams. Organizations are transitioning to purpose-built solutions to improve performance, efficiency, density and overall cost of ownership. The new generation of drives, such as Ultrastar NVMe SSDs, are based on evolving workloads and trends within the data center and NAND technology. With speeds of up to 3.1GiB/s and 1.4GiB/s sequential read and write performance, these drives make ideal solutions for data centers that are being built to accommodate new workloads, such as autonomous driving, surveillance, voice recognition, edge computing and AI and ML.