High performance has always been and continues to be the calling card for flash storage. However, as flash technology enters the mainstream with increased capacity, density and scalability, organizations are looking at other use cases. Unstructured data, which is growing at a much faster rate that unstructured data, is equal parts opportunity and challenge.
The opportunity lies in the business insights that are waiting to be extracted from large pools of unstructured data. Organizations can use real-time data analytics platforms to make better business decisions, identify potential sources of revenue and better serve their customers. However, many organizations are running up against the limitations of their existing storage infrastructures, weren’t designed to support the heavy workload requirements of real-time analytics.
Legacy storage architectures typically were built using disk storage, which delivers a fraction of the performance of flash. In addition, these systems have trouble handling increasing amounts of metadata, so replacing disk with flash storage won’t meet performance demands. As analytics queries become more complex, organizations need a storage solution that can deliver the processing power and scalability needed for massive volumes of data.
Pure Storage recently announced the general availability of FlashBlade, an all-flash storage product built specifically for demanding, unstructured workloads. FlashBlade has 15 blades, each of which is essentially a full, object-node server on a carrier. Each ultra-dense, low-power blade includes a compute chip (Intel eight-core Xeon system-on-a-chip), storage chip (NAND storage with 8TB or 52TB raw capacity), and on-blade networking chip (PCIe connectivity to link compute and storage cards).
FlashBlade is a scale-out NAS and object storage system. Scale-out NAS is a storage architecture that allows new hardware to be added and configured when more capacity is required. Instead of making large upfront investments and potentially overprovisioning, scale-out NAS allows you to start small and add arrays as needed.
In addition, FlashBlade is built on a common scale-out object store that can be accessed via both file and object protocols. Object storage recognizes a file as a single object, including metadata. Stored on commodity hardware, the file is assigned an ID number, which a user presents to retrieve the file’s content with metadata.
The Elasticity scale-out software, which implements the scale-out object store and provides storage services such as data reduction, snapshots, replication and encryption, is distributed across all blades. It uses a common code base and shared metadata engine across flash management, protocols, volume and storage services.
One of the first big data flash platforms, FlashBlade brings new levels of performance, scale and simplicity to a wide range of use cases and advanced analytics workloads. It delivers up to 15GBps of bandwidth in a small 4U form factor that can replace racks of storage hardware. The elastic architecture would allow you to create more than 100 million unique objects or files every second for 20 years.
Thanks to FlashBlade from Pure Storage, it’s possible to efficiently store and analyze huge volumes of unstructured data on a simple, scalable platform that can significantly reduce your data center footprint. More importantly, FlashBlade allows you to unlock new use cases and capabilities so you can take full advantage of your data.