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NexGen Storage Announces Multi-Tier All-Flash Array With Patented QoS Technology

By - Source: NexGen

NexGen announced its new N5-1500 and N5-3000 All-Flash Arrays (AFA), which feature a multi-tier architecture that manages data in RAM, PCIe flash and a tier of standard dual-port 12 Gb/s SAS 2.5" SSDs. NexGen's key technology resides in its patented dynamic QoS (Quality of Service) algorithms, which dynamically assign data to specific tiers to satisfy SLA requirements.

NexGen designed its AFAs to boost performance of workloads that are adversely affected by wild swings in latency, such as virtual servers, large scale VDI deployments and database applications. These latency-sensitive workloads often vie for limited system resources with other workloads, such as backup routines or low-priority applications. The resultant resource contention invariably results in "spiky" performance trends that hamper performance.

NexGen's innovation starts with efficient utilization of the multiple layers of flash storage, a technique that NexGen perfected during its years as a hybrid appliance vendor. NexGen's hybrid arrays combine the performance and latency of flash with the speed and economics of HDDs, which requires strong data placement and QoS algorithms. The field-tested data placement algorithms are hardened and mature, and were recently awarded US Patent #9,176,708.

The algorithms allow administrators to designate workloads as either Mission-Critical, Business-Critical or Non-Critical, and then migrate data between the tiers accordingly. The QoS algorithms monitor performance of the accelerated workloads to ensure they are meeting SLA targets, such as a database, while simultaneously throttling lower-priority workloads. The array places data on the fast PCIe SSD nonvolatile tier during data ingest and dynamically moves the data to other tiers based upon the QoS settings. It places a copy of the most critical information in the RAM tier for maximum acceleration.

The system is fully compatible with VMware VVOLs, and administrators can apply performance policies at the VM level through vCenter Server. This approach also allows users to change performance profiles in real-time without vMotion data migrations. Both models come with 2.6 TB of PCIe flash, and the capacity differentiation lies in the 2.5" SSD tier. The N5-1500 comes with 15 TB of raw flash, and the N5-3000 comes with 30 TB. The arrays can scale up to 60 TB via 15 TB SSD expansion shelves. NexGen's data reduction technique can provide up to 2.5X performance acceleration, a 4X endurance increase in the SSD media, and reduce capacity 2:1. The advantages vary based upon the compressibility of the data, as with any data reduction technique.

Paul Alcorn is a Contributing Editor for Tom's IT Pro, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.