09 December 2010

Hand Over Your Cash, or I'll Shoot

The recent events led me to consider, yet again, the SSD landscape.  The point of this endeavor is to promote the use of SSD as sole repository/persistence for BCNF databases.  The reasons have been written to a great extent.

Since beginning this endeavor, there has been a clear shift in storage vendors' marketing of SSD, whether this shift was proactive or reactive, I do not know.  These days, there is much talk of tiering and SSD as cache, less talk of SSD as whole replacement of HDD.  Zolt, over at storage search still promotes the wholesale replacement angle, but he seems to be in the minority.  I stopped over to copy the URL, and there's an interesting piece from 7 December worth reading, the column headed "MLC inside financial servers new interview with Fusion-io's CEO" (the way the site works, the piece will likely be hard to find in a couple of weeks, so don't tarry).

So, I reveried into the middle of a thought experiment:  what difference, if any, does it make whether an SSD is used as sole/primary store or as cache?  Well, I concluded that as cache, dirt cheap SSDs are just as good as Roll Royce SSDs (i.e., STEC, Violin, Fusion-io, and the like) from one angle, for the simple reason that the data on the SSD is really short-term.  From another angle, those cache SSDs had better by really high quality, for the simple reason that the data is churned like a penny stock boiler room, and SSDs need robust design to survive such a pounding.

The OCZ contract announcement leans toward the first answer; $500 doesn't buy much (if any) STEC SSD.  With error detection and hot swapping in the array, just pull them as they die and toss 'em in the shredder.  I'd unload any STEC shares real soon now.  There'll still be full-blown SSD storage for my kind of databases, but the American Expresses are more likely to go the front-end caching route (they've no stomach for refactoring that 1970's data), and for that implementation, commodity (this soon???) SSD is sufficient.

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