RFHPC52: Seven Myths of SSD vs. HDD Pricing

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the Seven Myths of SSD vs. HDD Pricing, one of Henry’s recent Slashdotted features at Enterprise Storage Forum.

In a nutshell, Henry thinks that the notion of SSDs replacing spinning disks in the datacenter is built on several of flawed assumptions regarding flash storage.

  • First, some assume that the price of MLC NAND flash will continue to decrease at a rapid and predictable rate that will make it competitive with HDDs for bandwidth, and nearly for capacity, by 2014 or 2015. This downward trend, it is assumed, will make flash a viable alternative for large storage and to act as a memory or “buffer” to improve performance.
  • Second, there is a general assumption that prices for bandwidth ($/GB/s) for SSDs is much lower than for HDDs, and that enterprises will measure costs in these terms instead of capacity.
  • Third, there is no distinction made between flash in general, such as consumer SSDs, and enterprise storage SSDs. It is assumed that MLC NAND will not only reduce in price ($/GB) but also that it will increase in density and larger capacity drives will be developed.
  • Fourth, it is assumed that the quality of MLC NAND will either remain constant or increase as prices decrease and densities increase, allowing it to improve not only performance, but also reliability and power consumption of the systems it is used in.
  • Fifth, it is assumed that power consumption for SSDs is, or will shortly be, significantly lower than that of HDDs overall, on a per GB basis and on a per GB/s basis.
  • Sixth, they assume disk performance will grow at a constant rate of about 20 percent per generation and not improve.
  • Seventh, they assume file system data layout will not improve to allow better disk utilization.

According to Henry, most of these assumptions were made in early 2012. So far they have turned out to be partially true at best and wrong at worst. A big fan of the partially true, Dan pushes back as a matter of principle. Rich, on the other hand, has heard his share of SSD hype and thinks we need need to look at the data and see what it has to say.

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RFHPC 51: The 50th Anniversary of the Mainframe

In this episode, Dan and Henry wax poetically on the 50th Anniversary of the Mainframe. Dan flew across the country to attend the festivities, and Henry sounds a bit jealous. Rich has no idea why anyone would even cross town for such a thing, so he gets taken to the woodshed on this one.

Play Quiz: IBM S360 Mainframe Computer History now!

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RFHPC48: A Review of HPC Events for Spring 2014

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the wave of HPC conferences coming up this Spring. Henry is headed to a speaking gig at the HPC User Forum and then on to GEOINT. Dan is off to China for the ASC Student Competition. Meanwhile, Rich will be on the road for a month straight at GTC, the Swiss HPC Conference, LUG 2014, and then off to moderate a Big Data Panel at the Red Hat Summit. Read the Full Lineup of HPC EventsDownload the MP3 * Subscribe on iTunes * RSS Feed

RFHPC46: The Coming Wave of Declustered RAID

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the coming wave of declustered RAID solutions designed to address the problem of ever-increasing RAID rebuild times. With 5 Terabyte drives in the wings, RAID cluster rebuild times are becoming impractical.

Read the original paper on Declustered RAID by Garth Gibson and Mark Holland.

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RFHPC 45: The RONNIEE Network Architecture

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team looks at the newly announced RONNIEE Network Architecture from A3 Cube. Rich did a slidecast with their CTO this week, but Dan and Henry need to know more and see this thing for themselves.

Following that, the conversation veers off into a grab bag of tech news for the week:

  • Dan’s is still recovering from a rootkit that infected his business computer. We seem to recall that he was always backlogged before this happened, but we’ll let it slide.
  • This week, organizers of the International Supercomputing Conference promised better air-conditioning and WiFi for ISC’14 in Leipzig. And there was much rejoicing.
  • Henry is lamenting the lack of Google Fiber coming to Minnesota. Since Google tends to piggyback on the fastest Internet pipes, it looks like the state will forever be a third-world country in terms of bandwidth.
  • Rich is excited about the Outernet project, which hopes to launch a series of satellites that will provide free Internet connectivity worldwide to anyone who wants it.

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RFHPC 44: insideHPC Acquires the Exascale Report

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team discusses the recent acquisition of The Exascale Report by insideHPC. Exascale-level computing remains a daunting challenge that is still years away, and Rich is excited to take it on as an editorial focus. The good news is that he’ll be moving the publication away from its subscription model to make it free for all to read.

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RFHPC 43: Cray 2013 Earnings Bellwether the HPC Market

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team takes a look at Cray’s 2013 earnings report. By all accounts, the company had a banner year with a total revenue of $525.7 million. What does this mean for the overall HPC Market? Who will be the winners and losers as the Tier 1 vendors shift around? Tune in to find out.

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RFHPC 42: Henry Rants About Flawed Hard Drive Study

In this episode, the Radio Free HPC team looks at a recent study of hard drive reliability by Backblaze. Henry had a cow, writing in Enterprise Storage Forum that the study lacked technical rigor and drew dubious conclusions. Then Slashdot picked it up and all Hell broke loose.

Of course, Rich and Dan can’t help but fan the fire.

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