by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
GCN : April 2014
GCN APRIL 2014 • GCN.COM 15 Flash memory, like the name implies, is quick. With no moving parts, it s closer to system memory than disk storage when it comes to saving and reading data. But that speed comes at a price that has kept flash out of many government data cen- ters -- until lately. Today, storage technology firms are of- fering hybrid systems that allow agencies to adjust the mix of data access speed and storage capacity they need without hav- ing to trade down on either resource or break the budget. Most users working on a standalone PC probably wouldn t notice the speed of flash compared to a traditional disk drive. It might take seconds to open a file using a disk drive, or half a second with flash memory, but for the most part the experi- ence is going to be the same. Where speed starts to matter is in large storage array systems requiring hundreds of operations per second or in data cen- ters handling hundreds of thousands of calls to memory at the same time. Such environments are where flash memory is built to shine. But other than for special applications like credit card processing engines or cybersecurity anal- ysis, it s seldom used in the conventional data center environment. The reason? Even with declining costs, flash memory is just too expensive for most government data centers to deploy in mass. And while it delivers in speed, it underperforms as a basic storage medium. In the world of high-end data centers, this trade-off is measured in terms of Input/Output Operations Per Second, (IOPS), or how many times a single drive can access information per second before user queries are delayed waiting for those in front to clear. DATA CENTER TRADE-OFFS "When building out a data center or a SAN, there are two main performance factors that need to be considered," said Rob Commins, marketing vice president for Tegile Systems, a maker of flash-driv- en enterprise storage systems. "There are IOPS for performance and then capacity for storing data. What was starting to happen is that people were having to add more and more drives to simply get the IOPS they needed, and once they got there, they found a whole lot of wasted storage capacity," Commins said. That s because even rapidly spinning disk drives don t make a dent in IOPS per- formance compared to flash memory. As a general rule of thumb, the fastest tra- ditional drives spinning at 15,000 RPMs --- the current maximum before drives begin to break apart --- are only good for between 180 and 200 IOPS each. And slower drives, such as those that spin at 7,500 RPMs, only deliver between 90 and 140 IOPS each. In contrast, a typical flash drive leaves a standard drive in the dust, offering 3,000 to 3,500 IOPS. In the past, options for expanding ca- pacity in government data centers was limited by traditional drives. "The big thing in government now is consolida- tion," said Christian Shrauder, the federal CTO for Fusion-io, which develops solid state, high performance I/O systems. "But to build up the infrastructure required adding [disk drives] for performance, not capacity." GOING HYBRID Even with flash technology coming down in price, it will still be a while before data centers start moving to all flash. Chris Mc- Call, senior director of ioControl product marketing for Fusion-io thinks that going all flash would be a mistake, because not every application is going to need it. "The thing to remember is that flash is deployed in lots of different ways," Mc- Call said. "I would say that hybrids are the way many people will go now, with spinning disks relegated to cold storage." A hybrid array combines flash memory with traditional disk storage, with flash mostly used for applications that demand TODAY'S STORAGE TECHNOLOGY FIRMS ARE OFFERING HYBRID SYSTEMS THAT ALLOW AGENCIES TO ADJUST THE DATA ACCESS SPEED AND STORAGE CAPACITY THEY NEED WITHOUT BREAKING THE BUDGET BY JOHN BREEDEN II "THE THING TO REMEMBER IS THAT FLASH IS DEPLOYED IN LOTS OF DIFFERENT WAYS. I WOULD SAY THAT HYBRIDS ARE THE WAY MANY PEOPLE WILL GO NOW, WITH SPINNING DISKS RELEGATED TO COLD STORAGE." --- Chris McCall, senior director of product marketing, Fusion-io