Essentially though you can break down solid state deployment strategies into two types; isolated use cases like the above to fix a particular performance issue or a broad deployment to improve the performance of the entire environment. Which of these you choose often depends on your environment. There are some data centers that there really is only one or two servers that have a performance need that can't be met by basic hard drive technologies. This can be cost effectively addressed by stand alone solid state storage either installed internally in the server via SSD or PCIe or externally via a dedicated memory appliance. Typically the differentiator between the choice depends on just how much capacity you need and just how much performance the application can take advantage of.
For the broader use case where a variety of applications will be taking advantage of solid state storage may require a different approach. As we will discuss in our upcoming webcast "Making Sure Desktop Virtualization Won't Break Your Storage" a great example is desktop virtualization. In this environment we want the virtual desktop images loaded on solid state prior to the morning boot storm and then demoted off of solid state so it can be used by other applications during the business day. These situations can be best handled by a deployment of solid state that is managed by either a caching engine or automated storage tiering. It could also be handled by a storage system that is pure solid state that can provide the complete software compliment we have come to expect in enterprise storage systems. In either case we want the high performance capabilities of solid state storage available to a broad spectrum of servers.
Of course the broad use case is not limited to just desktop virtualization, there are many cases where the need for I/O performance is spread out sporadically across a variety of servers. The debate between using caching, automated tiering or even pure solid state will be something we will discuss in a future entry.
Below are our previous entries on "Which Solid State Storage Form Factor is Best".
Part I: PCIe Based Solid State Storage Part II: Solid State Disk Part III: Solid State Appliances
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George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Find Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement here.