Why Does Low Latency Affect Your Business

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Businesses are hungry for data. The exponential growth in demand for data and new applications may put SSDs (Solid State Drives) in trouble. When faced with the new challenges brought about by the upcoming huge data, even high-performance SSDs connected to traditional storage protocols may encounter problems such as performance degradation, increased latency, and reduced service quality. Declining service quality causes tangible or intangible losses. Low latency is a big problem for enterprises.

Fortunately, the unique features of NVMe help to avoid all bottlenecks from traditional databases, AI (Artificial Intelligence), HPC (High-Performance Computing), and even the emerging Edge computing architecture. Not only meets new data requirements but also solves service quality issues. On the solution page All-Flash Array, you can get more information about low latency.

The Evolution of NVMe Protocol

As flash-based SSDs (Solid State Drives) gradually become mainstream and getting to replace traditional hard drives, the SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) and SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) protocols are no longer sufficient to provide enterprises with the speed required to fully utilize their SSD storage. In this way, a newer storage protocol NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) developed specifically for non-volatile memory will become an important part of many data centers in the future. Analysts such as IDC believe that NVMe will replace traditional storage protocols, especially for major workloads that are sensitive to latency. For more details about NVMe, please refer to the blog What is NVMe and why is it important?

Speed Processing with Faster Storage

SSD has made great progress on disk drives, changing the data access latency from the 5ms average seek time delay of disk drives to 200μs (0.2ms) of SSD. After adding enterprise features of dual ports and reasonable endurance, SSDs enter the array market in the form of AFAs (All-Flash Arrays), also as caches and tiers in hybrid disk arrays. Although hybrid drives are slower than AFA, they have more data and are faster than full disk arrays.

NVMe greatly improves the speed of SSD again. This allows them to directly access the PCIe bus, reducing the latency to 30μs (0.03ms). This helps the server to access directly connected NVMe SSDs. NVMe is able to do this because its command set requires less than half the number of CPU (Central Processing Unit) instructions to process I/O requests compared with the command sets of SCSI (Small Computer System Interface ) and ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment). NVMe supports 64K commands in a message queue and up to 64K queues. Compare to the traditional protocol, SAS devices only support up to 256 commands per queue, while SATA supports up to 32 commands.

Benefits of NVMe for Low Latency Applications

NVMe was originally a host controller interface designed to use the PCIe bus to quickly transfer data between the host and the target SSD. The goal is to reduce the transmission components in order to reduce low latency, improve performance, provide parallel I/O, and even reduce power consumption. These advantages are very suitable for the following use cases using NVMe flash storage.

  • Database: NVMe has quickly become the first choice for companies using intensive relational databases. The enhanced performance of NVMe flash storage systems reduces the number of physical servers and database licenses required.
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence): Today’s AI and machine learning applications are all about speed, processing data much faster. They need to be superior to the past. They also rely on larger data sets, especially for training intelligent system algorithms. NVMe provides the bandwidth and low latency required for these demanding workloads, making it a mainstream choice for AI storage.
  • HPC (High-Performance Computing): NVMe SSDs can be used for HPC or FinTech (Financial Technology) applications, such as high-frequency trading, where low latency is essential. It can speed up calculations by reducing the time the processor waits to read data from storage.
  • Virtualization: Enabling more VMs (Virtual Machines) on physical servers is another way NVMe storage can benefit enterprises. Virtual systems with a high ratio of virtual machines to physical servers have a lot of I/O load. NVMe can support the I/O capabilities needed in order to meet these needs. For more information about QSAN virtualization integration, please refer to the solution page Virtualization Storage.
  • Edge Computing: 5G (Fifth-Generation Mobile Communication) technology brings the flourishing development of Edge computing. The service has the characteristics of high data transmission, multi-device connection, and reduced latency. Emerging NVMe storage providing high bandwidth, high throughput, and low latency is expected to be very suitable for edge storage and computing.

Higher IOPS and low latency are related to your business repeatedly, of course, this will also affect your IT budget.

Is Getting NVMe Storage a Dream for Enterprise?

NVMe is designed for high-performance and non-volatile storage media and is the only protocol that stands out in high-demand and computationally intensive enterprises, and cloud and edge data ecosystems. It’s time to say goodbye to low latency. QSAN delivers a new generation of NVMe storage for entry-level enterprises. While enjoying low latency with high-quality services, you can also take into account your IT budget. To discover the QSAN NVMe storage, please refer to the product page QSAN XF3126.

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