The digital era is completely changing the storage landscape and updating ageing infrastructure is the key to success in the new, data-driven world. We’re seeing a move towards private or hybrid cloud infrastructure and storage virtualisation, with vSAN (Virtual Storage Area Network) replacing traditional Tier 1 SAN (Storage Area Network) on a massive scale. vSAN is an essential building block for the software-defined data centre (SDDC) and while moving to vSAN can streamline network operations dramatically, Intel® Optane™ can give it a further boost.
Intel® Optane™ is a revolutionary technology that enables businesses to unlock the potential of their data by combining the attributes of both memory and storage. By plugging the technology gap between DRAM and NAND with Intel® Optane™ technology, financial companies can gain significant boosts in performance as well as cutting infrastructure costs and banishing data centre bottlenecks.
“With Optane and 3D NAND, you take away the worry about being strategic with data workload management”
The technology is shaking up the computing world with an unparalleled combination of speed, density, and non-volatility. Not only does it offer low latency, it delivers incredibly high throughput, high endurance, and predictably fast service. While Optane is available in a number of formats, the Intel® Optane™ SSD DC P4800X Series is designed specifically for the data centre.
Intel’s data centre-flavoured Optane devices can also be used in conjunction with a second memory technology known as Intel® 3D NAND. This was developed in response to the industry’s growing demand for data storage capacity and enables higher capacity and reliability. And, working in a vSAN environment, the combination of the two technologies can offer optimum performance.
“With Optane and 3D NAND, you take away the worry about being strategic with data workload management,” explains Justin Wheeler, EMEA Solutions Architect at Intel’s Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Sales Group. “The performance benefit of Optane in vSAN also means you can run more VMs per host. As a result, the number of required nodes can be reduced without compromising on performance, simply by replacing a single device. This obviously has a considerably positive cost impact - it’s a very compelling use case.”
Intel® Xeon® Scalable systems with Optane storage together with VMWare vSAN enable up to 2.5x more VMs per cluster, and up to 2.3x better price performance, according to testing carried out by IT analyst firm Evaluator Group.1
These results are significant for FSI businesses because many of them rely on multiple databases. These are typically on-premises and private cloud, so the data that is stored on them is critical. The combination of vSAN with Optane delivers high performance for businesses that rely on data-intensive workloads in multiple databases. As the financial sector is a data rich industry with data rich workloads then storage capability is of the utmost importance.
The combination of Optane with vSAN offers three key benefits, the first of which is cost effectiveness. “If you look at like-for-like, it becomes heavily favourable from a cost perspective because the performance profile is completely different to anything else out there,” says Wheeler.
The second benefit is that Optane is a multi-role device which can open the door to a whole new world of possibilities. Adaptability is the third benefit – when coupled with traditional NAND-based SSDs, Optane enables businesses to be more agile and reactive. “This massive business agility is going to be important over the next two to three years as the effects of Brexit take hold. It feels like the Optane message is really beginning to land with businesses and it’s going to be a fascinating story to follow in 2019,” adds Wheeler.
Some businesses are already reaping the benefits of Optane-powered vSAN. Intel works in conjunction with cloud computing and virtualisation software firm VMware to deliver its vSAN platform for enterprise. A number of major firms already using the VMware vSAN to deliver cloud-like IT models for the software-defined data centre.
What’s more, Hewlett Packard Enterprise* (HPE*), recently introduced a VMware vSAN Ready Node powered by the Intel® Xeon® Scalable Family and incorporating Intel® Optane™ DC SSD devices, allowing its enterprise customers to effectively do more with less. In fact, tests revealed that an Intel® Optane™ DC SSD-based cluster delivers up to 30 per cent more storage consolidation compared with a VMware vSAN cluster with current-generation all-Flash setup. And in terms of storage benchmarking, the Optane-based system offers up to 60 per cent more VMs (Virtual Machines) per node, with an estimated cost that’s an impressive 25 per cent lower.
As the trend towards storage virtualisation continues, organisations that deal with data-heavy workloads can feel the tangible benefits of the price performance and substantial boost in VM density offered by this unique technology combination. “People are really starting to see the benefits of Optane combined with vSAN,” concludes Wheeler.
*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others
For more information:
- Evaluator group reviews Intel® Optane™ Storage
- The digital plus data transformation in financial services: Mike Blalock, Intel General Manager of the financial services industry, talks about the key trends at Sibos 2018
- How Intel® Optane™ and Intel® 3D Nand can banish data bottlenecks