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SSD-Accelerated Storage With vCloud Air

I've recently been working a lot within the big cloud platforms. As I've checked them out, I've realized that they may be the best way to truly scale high-performance storage. Specifically, I'm very much liking what I see with the SSD-Accelerated Storage available in vCloud Air.

The SSD-Accelerated storage option in vCloud Air is loosely based on vSphere Flash Read Cache, a vSphere 5.5 feature that makes it easy to use Solid State Drives (SSDs) in vSphere environments. The vSphere Flash Read Cache is just an acceleration technique for reads, but it can still bring performance benefits that may be just what you need for certain application I/O demands.

So, why do I find this so interesting on vCloud Air? Well, consider the scalability compared to the cost. In particular, note that scalability includes the expansion use case as well as contraction. vCloud Air (as do other cloud platforms) are built to scale well, and downward provisioning is a good use case here.

Compare the in-house model where there is a project or short-term use case where high-performance storage would make sense. In some situations, even virtualized environments may have to purchase some equipment to address this need. The issue is that it may be underutilized after the project is over, limiting the return on investment. Consider the vCloud Air pricing for SSD-Accelerated Storage shown in Figure 1.

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 1. VMware's pricing structure for vCloud Air makes sense in many situations.

While SSD-Accelerated Storage is an innovative way to use SSDs, it's not the only option: There are a number of ways today to leverage non-rotational storage for higher performance, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Everything from memory acceleration, flash or SSD acceleration, tiered storage, all-flash arrays and many hybrid options exist today.

Will vCloud Air be the burst of high-performance storage that you need, when you need it (and, of course, removed when you don't need it)? Possibly. I've been using it a bit and so far have liked what I've seen. What's your take on vCloud Air and the SSD-Accelerated Storage? Share your comments below.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 11/18/2014 at 8:14 AM


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