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Storage Application Technology for Cloud Environments -The Present and Future of Cloud Services (Part 5)-

In the last post of this series, we discussed cloud trends and architecture, VDI, cloud environment management tools and looked at examples of cloud applications. This time around, we will cover one of the important components of a cloud environment, ‘cloud storage’.

Cloud computing concept - connect to cloud. Hand with cloud computing icon.

According to the IDC (International Data Corporation), cloud environment storage services can be divided into 2 types. The first type is ‘storage in the public cloud’, which typical users implement for data backup, pictures, videos and other files. The second type is ‘storage for the private cloud, which is a storage service utilized in system architecture and cloud environments for business services.

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Cloud environment storage service structure

These 2 types of services appear similar when storing data but the storage system for private cloud services requires an additional technology. We will now take a more detailed look into the technology and solution used in private cloud storage.

Automation

Storage is one of the important IT system resources for true data storage but there is a characteristic that does not allow storage to be used on its own. The server system and operating system must be connected in order for storage to be carried out.

On an existing legacy system, connectivity operations for the system and storage must be done manually. Since it is not possible to manually respond to the ever changing demands of users on a cloud environment, storage automation functionality is required.

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Comparison between legacy storage and cloud storage methods

Storage automation works in conjunction with another function called ‘storage scale-out’. Traditional storage systems implement a scale-up method with stacked disk shelves on duplex controllers. While it is easy to build up the volume of scale-up storage, issues occur due to the limited capabilities of the controller when the volume increases.

Thus, when the lifespan of the equipment is exhausted, it must be replaced with new equipment and the data must then be migrated. The solution to these limiting factors is scale-out storage. Scale-out storage can be considered to allot a controller for each individual disk shelf.

New disk shelves can easily be added or removed from storage virtual pools in use and replacement of equipment is made easier and, since the storage capabilities are increased proportionately when the volume is increased, storage automation is a necessary technology in cloud environment management.

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Comparison of scale-up and scale-out capabilities and expansion

Storage

SDS (Software-Defined Storage) is a software solution that is not dependant on storage hardware. This is an integrated storage management solution.

SDS can basically be described as storage virtualization technology. For example, on a traditional storage system, tech support for each storage vender for the allocated disk operations on the host server was required in order to perform operations modifications that correlated to the storage model, but SDS solution technology does not rely on this type of hardware.

Also, users can make virtual storage using standard APIs and when operations modifications are performed, they can be done automatically according to the operations modifications methods defined by each vender.

LG CNS has been implementing SDS type services such as VDI (Virtual Desktop Interface) for various cloud environments in-house since before SDS came about. With SDS technology improving and expanding, the ability of platforms to sync and storage automation technology are expected to get stronger.

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SDS Diagram for cloud storage services

Improving

In the 2015, the fastest growing solution in the cloud market is ‘all flash storage’.

As most of us know, all flash storage is a storage solution that is made up of an SSD disk as opposed to the existing HDD disk.

HDD_SDD

Comparison between HDD and SSD

Actually, HDD is a driving mechanism that remains from traditional storage systems. Due to the limitations of this mechanism, there are limits on the relative performance progress of the CPU/memory. SSD creates a NAND flash storage cell disk that replaces the HDD mechanism and uses a low-power high-performance disk that is at least 100 times more powerful than HDD.

Regardless of this great performance, even up until a few years ago, the SDD disk was not in common use as a component that replaced storage cache and HDD performance due to its high price. Eventually, NAND flash storage cell integration increased and the price became more competitive which allowed SSD to replace HDD.

Soon after, all flash storage use began to expand and it replaced HDD all together.

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Comparison of NAND Flash, DRAM and HDD

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Comparison of the main components of the semiconductors SLC, MLC, TLC and MLC

The one most important core technology that gave all flash storage a competitive edge and helped it expand was deduplication. This technology un-duplicates data.

In other words, in a computer system, information is made up of a combination of binary numbers such as “111111000000111111000” and deduplication is a technology that analyzes repeating patterns in the binary code to keep these patterns from being recorded on the disk and, thus, reduces the amount of space on the disk where data is stored.

In the past, all flash storage was primarily used on backup storage devices, but as the technology matured, all flash storage developed into a more cost competitive solution and become a technology without which a VDI cloud environment with duplicated data stored on it cannot function.

With the emergence of all flash storage, cloud storage gained another advantage. This advantage was the preparation for ‘IO Storm’. In the initial stages of VDI cloud, IO Storm storage performance issues were not uncommon.

Unlike with existing individual PC environments, on large scale VM service management systems, processes such as virus scans, OS updates, tests run by developers on the VM and VM rebooting done on each VM tended to overload the storage system with high-volume Disk IO. This caused problems with storage system performance.

Based on past experience, LG CNS not only offers VDI service with experience and know-how in Disk IO analysis, but also provides an array of monitoring tools for pre-detection. With the implementation of all flash storage, LG CNS can also offer stable service.

OSS

Recently, effort is being put into making cloud systems cost competitive as the technology matures. Cloud storage is no exception.

Primary storage venders such as EMC, NetApp, Hitachi, IBM, HP and Dell are implementing enterprise products to bring stability, performance and data protection to existing legacy systems.

As storage integration has increased and high-capacity disks have been released, the unit price per volume has decreased. However, the main storage venders’ enterprise products are still high-price, high-spec pieces of equipment.

So, many cloud service companies are showing interest in OSS storage solutions as opposed to the existing enterprise products and they are investigating the implementation of solutions such as Ceph, FreeNas, Gluster and Lustre for synchronization with platforms like Openstack.

LG CNS is not only specialized in primary storage vender Enterprise products but also has expertise in these OSS storage solutions.

Various PoCs (Proof of Concept) are being conducted in order to better understand and verify the stability of OSS storage solutions. Seoul Sungam Data Center and the Busan Global Cloud Data Center are providing VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) services constructed with one of the OSS storage solutions, Ceph Storage.

By introducing a storage OSS solution with simply the goal to reduce costs in mind, the standard of service quality would also suffer. LG CNS, with diverse architecture experience and management know-how, is responding to the shortfalls of OSS solutions with the implementation of monitoring and management tools to provide a stable storage service.

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LG CNS resource monitoring system

It is difficult to construct a stable cloud service system with expertise in only one field. One must have expertise in not only server, storage and networking but also have diverse specializations in software for OSs, and apps and databases.

LG CNS is offering optimum cloud system consulting, architecture and management systems that are suitable to the customers’ environments based on a wide range of experience.

We have now taken a detailed look into the storage technology and solutions being implemented in cloud systems. Next time, in part 6 of this series, we will discuss ‘The Present and Future of Software Defined Networks’.

The Age of Cloud: Current Trends and Prospects of ‘Cloud Computing’
http://www.lgcnsblog.com/features/the-age-of-cloud-current-trends-and-prospects-of-cloud-computing/

A Customizable Cloud, Known as ‘Private Cloud’
http://www.lgcnsblog.com/features/a-customizable-cloud-known-as-private-cloud/

LG CNS to Penetrate the Private Cloud Market with ‘Smart Cloud Block’
http://www.lgcnsblog.com/features/lg-cns-to-penetrate-the-private-cloud-market-with-smart-cloud-block/

For a More Competitive Cloud Environment -The Present and Future of Cloud Service (4-1)-
http://www.lgcnsblog.com/features/for-a-more-competitive-cloud-environment-the-present-and-future-of-cloud-service-4-1/

For a More Competitive Cloud Environment -The Present and Future of Cloud Service (4-2)-
http://www.lgcnsblog.com/features/for-a-more-competitive-cloud-environment-the-present-and-future-of-cloud-service-4-2/

Article ㅣ Jonghyuk Lee ㅣ LG CNS Cloud Service Team

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