Following on from flash-in-the-datacentre-evangelist Joseph Reger's interview I was contacted by Doug Dumitru, the chief technology office (CTO) for EasyCo, a supplier of flash management software. Dumitru said about the Reger interview: "I agree with his assessment, but think that the future is likely to arrive a bit sooner than he envisions."
"Our company does Flash SSD integration for database servers and has also developed a software solution (that can also live at the controller level) that mitigates the random write performance issue inherent in all Flash solid state disks."
Here is a performance example of his: "If you take four Mtron (flash SSD) serial ATA (SATA) drives, running RAID-5, you can expect about 50,000 4K random reads/sec and 250 4K random writes/sec. This read/write performance asymmetry is the Achilles heal for Flash SSDs. In read-only applications, they are fabulous, but if you start to do random writes, they quickly start acting like floppies. The Mtron drives at 125 write IOPS are actually very good. We have tested MLC Flash SSDs with write IOPS as low as 3.3 writes/sec."
Then he adds in EasyCo's secret sauce: "This is where our "Managed Flash Technology" management layer steps in. By dynamically re-mapping the drive, we operate in a mode where the drive is always written linearly. Our basic premise is that if the drive writes randomly slowly, then you should never write randomly."
That seems astute. You can find out more here.
Dumitru said: "With the MFT layer in place, this same 4 drive Raid-5 array benchmarks at just over 29,000 4K random writes/sec when running on a "host raid" dumb controller. By my calculations, this is the random performance equal of about 200 15K SAS drives, using 4 2.5-inch devices that draw less than 10Watts of power."
He seems to have somehow realised flash SSD array technology potential and made it usable today. Is this real?
This prompted an interview
Techworld asked Dumitru a set of questions to find out more.
Techworld: Do you any more details about customers using your MFT that you could share please?
Doug Dumitru: Our company is historically involved in the "MultiValue Database" market. This started with the old Pick Systems products dating back to the 1980s and continues today with products like Universe from IBM and D3 from Raining Data. As such, most of our early customers are in our industry. We have about 5 production systems running MFT. The oldest ones use CF cards. Some are running Samsung laptop drives. The newest are using Mtron SATA drives. These databases tend to be small (5-20 GB).
We also have a couple of "demo boxes" for larger datasets (50-150 GB), but none of these are running production applications yet. Now that the Mtron drives are easily available, we hope to expand into this mid-market segment over the next couple of months.