GigaOM published an interesting article on Azure embracing SSD storage. It is great to see some movement and product development happening in the IaaS space as ever particularly when it comes to addressing one of the key pain points for many customers in the cloud, namely cloud storage. We have long advocated the need for innovation in cloud storage which is why we were the first major public cloud to launch SSDs in Q4 2011
SSD storage is critical to moving core systems into the cloud however it needs to be delivered as part of a tiered storage approach. That means having a flexible implementation of IaaS itself which enables customers to easily tailor on a server by server basis, resources and storage types just as customers would do in dedicated hardware.
Customers can and should retain the same degree of control over their infrastructure in the cloud as they have on dedicated hardware. Some questions customers should consider having answers to before choosing a cloud provider:
- can I purchase resources unbundled and customise my infrastructure on a server by server basis? i.e. no resource bundling, no fixed server sizes…
- does the fundamental IaaS implementation contain the baked in flexibility to support efficient cloud infrastructure deployments for my use case? For example, can I mount multiple drives of different storage types to a server to incorporate SSD storage?
- am I billed in a granular way based on the resources I am assigning to servers? i.e. getting purchasing efficiency
- can I flexibly buy resources over time in a dynamic way? For example, if I need to add a couple of GBs of RAM to my database server, can I do it? What is the provisioning delay? Am I forced to upgrade to a much bigger server causing over-provisioning?
We have offered SSD storage since Q4 2011 and they been very popular and we’ve upgraded capacity a number of times since then. Most customers deploy SSD storage as part of a tiered storage strategy. Namely they will mount a smaller SSD drive and move key parts of their storage to that drive that require low latency and high IO throughput whilst retaining the bulk of storage on cheaper magnetic based storage. The key is to match storage type to storage need which delivers purchasing efficiency.
Flexibility combined with granular billing and efficient purchasing equals amazing PRICE/PERFORMANCE which is the relevant metric here. Our cloud is designed to delivery a virtual data center to customers building out cloud infrastructure. SSDs are definitely part of that story and it is frankly surprising why they aren’t more widely offered by IaaS clouds.
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