The Truth About Storage, Part Four

by Steve Sicola  |   in Blog, Commentary, Homepage Highlight, Industry Trends, Storage Horizons, X-IO News  |   0 Comment

— Storage Horizons Blog —

Another myth, the second in the Five myths and Half-truths series, is that the ‘storage shelf’ or ‘drive tray’, or new ‘massively dense drive packages’ and servers with many HDDs are actually decent at preventing vibration and providing enough cooling for all the drives in the enclosure. THEY ARE NOT. Vibration across drives, hot spots in the packaging, vibration across entire packages in the rack and more are the cause of wastage in the data center from performance loss to significant increases in failure rate/drive replacement. Adding to this is the possible exposure to data loss when drives fail under these circumstances, with parts of the data set exposed without redundancy or the requirement for many hours to restore redundancy with the size of today’s drives. Failure rates in this case go well past the design specifications of 1%, up to 3-5% which is untenable for most businesses and many storage vendors try band-aids with fancier algorithms or more copies of data while increasing service costs to the user. The underlying problem should be addressed first.

Drives placed in environments where heat and vibration are excessive directly relates to real drive failures while the results of environment, software, and indirectly relate to drive replacements by causing “No Trouble Founds, or NTFs”. NTFs are the bane of the computer industry as they waste time, money, risk a customer’s data set on recovery techniques they employ in storage or elsewhere. The things that cause NTF’s are the lack of thorough error recovery in almost every storage device or host driver that communicates with storage devices. Excessive heat and vibration can and do cause extended times for read or write completion, retries, missed sectors, re-synch/reboots of drives, etc. This causes the software, which is not well designed or thought through to just mark the drive bad and go into ‘rebuild’ and assume it’s alright to slow things down for the application, pay more for a service call with higher service costs, and put the customer data in jeopardy while ‘rebuilding’ the data from the ‘failed’ drive. Service contracts for storage devices are high priced because of this lack of attention to detail and money is made whether or not drives fail and the customer always pays.

The design of ISE places drives in an extremely low vibration and heat environment and has state of the art intelligent error recovery with 4 plus years field experience with over 5,000 ISE deployed world-wide as well as 6 years of 100’s of units in the lab. This has provided XIO with the proof that good packaging and recovery algorithms (not just RAID) drastically reduce failure rate of drives, repair frequency of the entire system, and maximize performance of the drives and storage system.  XIO uses patented DataPac technology that house 10-20 drives as well as patented Managed Reliability software allowing XIO to provide a no-charge 5 year HW maintenance warranty on ISE. The peace of mind of a storage system that has NO NTF’s, an extremely low failure rate, and performance across all the purchased capacity is unheard of in the storage industry. When has buying less been better than buying more? Efficiency and simplicity with little or no human intervention has always been important, and ISE solves the foundational issues that have been plaguing the industry for 20+ years. SSD’s require similar attention as they are now part of the mix in IT environments, and I’ll cover them in a bit.

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