Micron Launches SolidScale NVMe Over Fiber Shared SSD Array Architecture

SolidScale in rack 900
Over the past decade, solid state drives (SSDs) have matured from a product that while faster than hard drives, were too expensive for mainstream consumers to a storage medium that we simply take for granted — especially in notebook systems. SSD technology has also invaded every segment of the PC market from desktops to workstations to high-end servers and data centers.

Today, Micron is introducing a new storage system that takes SSDs out of their traditional home — a PC — and puts them in their own homogeneous data boxes. Micron says that this “SolidScale” architecture promises low latency and “extremely high throughput” for both legacy and cloud-native applications, transaction processing, and machine learning (among other applications).

NVMe 25tray 3005c

Micron says that SolidScale connects multiple nodes together using RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) Mellanox fabric and in combination with low-latency software allows these separate storage systems to perform almost as if they were directly attached to a machine. Micron is pushing its solution ahead of NVMe over fabric (NVMeF), which hasn’t yet been ratified.

The advantages over existing storage solutions are numerous according to Micron, with the company noting that SolidScale allows customers to “create and manage a single, centralized pool of storage to create right size volumes for each server's data repository.” There are big savings that could be found with regards to electricity needs and even cooling costs by pooling the storage into decoupled boxes.

With respect to performance, SolidScale is said to get within four percent of an equivalent server-local deployment, adding on average five microseconds of additional latency to an application's data path. End-to-end latency is said to clock in at under 200 microseconds. And using just three 2U SolidScale nodes, Micron was able to achieve 10.9M IOPS. Likewise, management is made simple using a web-based GUI and gives you access to tools like RAID, snapshots, deduplication and replication.

micron benches

"We estimate that companies using NVMe SSDs deployed in application servers today are on average using less than 50% of their IOPS and capacity. With the new Micron SolidScale architecture, capacity is shared across application servers, unlocking capacity customers have already paid for so that they can do more with less and unleash flash's true performance," said Darren Thomas, VP for Micron’s Storage Business Unit. "At Micron, we consider the impact of every workload, application and environment as we design the technology, products and systems that allow our customers to deploy applications faster and scale without limits."

Micron hopes to deploy its SolidScale architecture by the end of 2017 or early in 2018.