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Preferred reads with IBM FlashSystem

Preferred reads with IBM FlashSystem

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Learn about Preferred reads with IBM FlashSystem. Preferred reads are implemented at the file system or on a virtualization switch and provide mirrored writes and preferred reads. When preferred reads are used with a flash array, the outcome is application performance improvement. For more information on IBM FlashSystem, visit http://ibm.co/10KodHl.

Visit the official Slideshare channel of IBM India Smarter Computing at http://slidesha.re/LG9KKp to get access to more documents.
Learn about Preferred reads with IBM FlashSystem. Preferred reads are implemented at the file system or on a virtualization switch and provide mirrored writes and preferred reads. When preferred reads are used with a flash array, the outcome is application performance improvement. For more information on IBM FlashSystem, visit http://ibm.co/10KodHl.

Visit the official Slideshare channel of IBM India Smarter Computing at http://slidesha.re/LG9KKp to get access to more documents.

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Published by: IBM India Smarter Computing on May 17, 2013
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Thought Leadership White Paper
IBM Systems and Technology Group
 April 2013
Preferred reads withIBM FlashSystem
 Preferred reads with IBM FlashSystem
 Many enterprise data centers have adopted disaster recovery (DR) solutions based on array-based replication. Thesearray-based replication schemes are central to the business, somuch so that the business becomes locked-in to the productsrom the array manuacturer. Businesses with array-basedreplication are reluctant to invest in alternative storagetechnology because introducing new products would lead to aork-lit upgrade at multiple data centers. Preerred reads are amethod to integrate solid state disks into these data center that takes advantage o existing array-based replication mechanisms,delivers extreme read perormance benets and maintainsavailability.Preerred reads are implemented at the le system or on a virtualization switch and provide mirrored writes and preerredreads. Writes are mirrored between the RAID system (which isproviding array-based replication) and a solid state disk.Preerred reads come rom a specied storage device (such as asolid state disk) or rom the storage device with the shortest read queue (the solid state disk). Preerred-plex is a eatureoered with Veritas. Preerred reads are also oered withIBM® and HP operating systems.
Brie discussion o array-based replication
 Two mega trends have driven data center architectures overthe last 1 years: increasing adoption o disaster recovery andincreasing data center consolidation. The intersection o thesetrends has been at the storage array. Array manuacturers, suchas EMC® and IBM, were rst to the oreront with array oerings that provided massive capacities o storage and theability to remotely replicate that storage to DR sites. These same trends are increasingly causing perormancedegradation. The array controller has to add DR awareness toits already complex caching and storage rules. Hard disk drivesare getting denser to handle the surge in digital content andarrays are managing petabytes o storage capacity.Simultaneously, sotware is becoming more powerul and easierto use, resulting in surging user activity. The combination o these trends is over-loaded centralized storage systems withinadequate perormance characteristics.Over the last ew years, the number o options or DR hasgrown dramatically, but many companies are locked intoarray-based replication or the oreseeable uture. It isenormously complicated and costly to stop using array-basedreplication or use a new vendor’s array-based replication.
IBM Systems and Technology Group
Companies seeking to improve application perormance inthese environments are between a rock and a hard place. What is needed is a method to accelerate application perormance without breaking the disaster recovery process.
About fash storage
Flash storage is a proven technology. IBM® leads the industry  with the most comprehensive fash portolio with itsacquisition o Texas Memory Systems, an IBM Company that has designed and manuactured solid state disks or over  years. Solid state disks are non-volatile storage devices that useRAM as the primary storage media. Solid state disks store andaccess data directly on DDR RAM chips, which results instorage speeds ar greater than conventional, magnetic storagedevices. Non-volatility is achieved through the integration o redundant internal battery systems and disk backup systems.
 Figure 1
: IBM FlashSystem™ 820
Solid state disks have the ollowing characteristics:
 Lowest possible access times 
Flash-based solid state disks have access times below 25microseconds, the best access times o any storage platorm. As a comparison, a hard disk drive at 5 milliseconds has 333times higher access times.
 High bandwidth
 The enterprise solid state disk market includes products, suchas IBM FlashSystem 820, which can support 5.0 GB persecond o random data throughput.
 High I/Os per second (IOPS)
Flash storage extraordinarily high random I/O perormancebecause o their low access times (latency).
 High availability
Flash storage is inherently more reliable than hard disk drivebased systems because their data path does not requiremoving parts. IBM FlashSystem also incorporates redundant components and patented Variable Stripe RAID™technology to deliver no single point o ailure withinFlashSytem 720 and FlashSystem 820.
IBM Systems and Technology Group
 Preferred reads with IBM FlashSystem
IBM FlashSystem arrays is a non-volatile solution. Thesesystems have internal batteries that maintain system poweruntil any volatile data can be written to fash.Flash storage is an excellent solution or I/O bottlenecks,particularly those bottlenecks caused by the high access timeso traditional disk based storage systems.
Preerred reads in AIX
In AIX, preerred read is setup by traditional mirroring o logical volume manager (LVM) with a scheduling policy set to parallel. This will selectively read rom the asterFlashSystem while the writes are synchronously written toboth FlashSystem and traditional array. This unction wasoriginally created to provide a basic DR unction by providingsynchronous writes between two physically separated devicesbut allow preerred reads rom the closest device in order tomaintain high read perormance.
Preerred reads based on queue depth
Some operating systems do not allow you to designate aspecic drive or preerred reads, instead they conduct readsrom the astest storage device. The astest storage device isdetermined by calculating which read queue to a device islowest. The deault logical volume manager (LVM) o AIX andHP-UX unction this way. This type o mirror dynamically chooses which storage system to read rom based on the queueo outstanding IO requests to each hal o the mirror while stillmirroring writes. When two storage systems with dierent perormance characteristics are mixed in this type o mirror,the aster storage system will end up receiving the majority o the IO due to its consistently lower IO queue.
Using preerred reads with fash storage
 When preerred reads are used with a fash array, the outcomeis application perormance improvement. With preerred reads,all reads are rom the fash array while all o the writes are written synchronously to both the fash array and the disk-based RAID. The DR eatures o the RAID will manage asbeore and replicate all writes to the DR site. This is an idealset up or an application that is high read and low write. Thisapproach will not improve perormance or 1 percent writeapplications since writes only go as ast as the slowest device inthe mirror. A tertiary benet o this approach is that thedisk-based RAID array can ocus its perormance on writes orother mission critical applications while the heavy read load iso-loaded to the solid state disk array.Cost keeps a lot o companies rom investing in solid statestorage. The cost o mirroring solid state disk to another solidstate disk scares away even more buyers. Preerred reads allow a company to avoid mirroring solid state storage (or reliability purposes) by mirroring to the existing RAID array thusminimizing the required investment.Fear keeps a lot o companies rom investing in fash storagesystems. One o the biggest ears is how fash can aect theavailability o an application and the impact on DR operation.Implementing fash storage with preerred reads allays theseears. Here are some scenarios and how the data center isimpacted:1. Flash array is mirrored to an existing disk-based RAID array and in an extremely unlikely event, the fash ailscatastrophically. In this scenario, the operating system and lesystem takes over and all writes and reads are rom thedisk-based RAID. Perormance is no worse than it was priorto fash installation.. Disaster strikes and the main data center is out o commission. All data written to the fash has been written to the RAIDarray which has been replicating its data to the DR site. TheDR site picks up operation as it was intended.
Perormance availability
For some customers, combining a fash based FlashSystem and existing disk-based RAID is a perect blend o cost,perormance and reliability. Others require additional levels o perormance. Two methods are suggested or companies whocannot aord the drop in perormance that could occur shoulda solid state disk become unavailable:1. Create a triple mirror. Three writes are created. One write oreach o two solid state disk arrays and one write or the RAIDarray. Preerred reads cascade rom the rst fash array to thesecond fash array and nally to the disk-based RAID.. Add fash to the DR site. Companies who ail-over to a DR site during routine maintenance or who require highperormance during DR operations should implement fashinto the DR site

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