Building Blocks for EMC ScaleIO

Software-Defined, Scale-Out SAN

The management of large-scale, rapidly growing infrastructures is a constant challenge for many data center operation teams and it is not surprising that data storage is at the heart of these challenges. The traditional dedicated SAN and dedicated workloads cannot always provided the scale and flexibility needed.

A storage array can’t borrow capacity from another SAN if demand increases and can lead to data bottlenecks and a single point of failure. When delivering Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or high performance applications, delays in response are simply not acceptable to customers or users.

EMC® ScaleIO® is software that creates a server-based SAN from local application server storage to deliver flexible and scalable performance and capacity on demand. It converges storage and compute resources of commodity hardware into a single-layer architecture, aggregating capacity and performance, simplifying management, and scaling to thousands of nodes.

As an alternative to a traditional SAN infrastructure, ScaleIO combines HDDs, SSDs, and PCIe flash cards to create a virtual pool of block storage with varying performance tiers. In addition, it provides enterprise-grade data protection, multi-tenant capabilities, and add-on enterprise features such as QoS, thin provisioning, and snapshots. ScaleIO is hardware-agnostic, supports physical and/or virtual application servers, and has been proven to deliver significant TCO savings vs. traditional SAN.

Massive scalability

ScaleIO is designed to massively scale from three to thousands of nodes. Unlike most traditional storage systems, as the number of storage devices grows, so do throughput and IOPS. The scalability of performance is linear with regard to the growth of the deployment. Whenever the need arises, additional storage and compute resources (i.e., additional servers and drives) can be added modularly.

Storage and compute resources grow together so the balance between them is maintained. Storage growth is therefore always automatically aligned with application needs. No capacity planning or complex reconfiguration due to interoperability constraints is required.

Every server in the ScaleIO cluster is used in the processing of I/O operations, making all I/O and throughput accessible to any application within the cluster. Such massive I/O parallelism eliminates bottlenecks. Throughput and IOPS scale in direct proportion to the number of servers and local storage devices added to the system, improving cost/performance rates with growth. Performance optimization is automatic; whenever rebuilds and rebalances are needed, they occur in the background with minimal or no impact to applications and users.

The ScaleIO system autonomously

manages performance hot spots and data layout. EMC lab testing results demonstrate:

Workload IOPS (3 Nodes) IOPS (128 Nodes)
100% Read ~875,000 ~31,000,000
70% Read / 30% Write ~650,000 ~23,750,000
100% Write ~375,000 ~12,500,000

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