Intel and LSI Partner on Flash Solution for Big Data Servers
Data is growing bigger and bigger, but in most cases the technology for storing it -- traditional hard disk drives -- is decades old. That's changing, however, as channel partners work to introduce better storage solutions, a trend Intel and LSI highlighted this week with the announcement of an OEM deal to integrate high-performance flash technology into Big Data servers.
Data is growing bigger and bigger, but in most cases the technology for storing it—traditional hard disk drives—is decades old. That's changing, however, as channel partners work to introduce better storage solutions, a trend Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and LSI Corp. are highlighting with the announcement of an OEM deal to integrate high-performance flash technology into Big Data servers.
Technically speaking, flash storage, which has been around in one form or another since the 1980s, is not much newer than hard disks. But it has only been in recent years that hardware engineers have begun applying it to address new types of challenges associated with storing ever-larger amounts of data.
That's the type of solution LSI delivers with its Nytro MegaRAID card, which the company has designed to increase the performance of RAID arrays by copying the most frequently accessed data to flash for faster read and write access. The concept is a little like keeping your favorite shirts at the top of the dresser drawer (I never claimed to be the king of metaphors), and promises to increase the performance of traditional RAID storage without requiring large investment in expensive non-hard disk devices, such as SSD (solid-state drive) disks.
In a major endorsement of LSI's technology from the channel, Intel and LSI announced an agreement to integrate the flash storage solution into Intel's family of RAID products. The partnership stands to benefit both companies as more and more organizations build next-generation infrastructure for Hadoop implementations and other Big Data tasks.
The deal will likely attract attention from customers as well, since LSI says its technology can increase the speed of Hadoop jobs by up to 33 percent. By integrating the MegaRAID card into Intel products, the partnership makes innovative storage technology more readily accessible.
There's a lesson here for the channel, too: Integrated Big Data solutions are only beginning to catch up with demand for high-performance, cost-efficient storage. Traditional hard disks aren't likely to disappear anytime soon, but they won't be enough on their own to meet the next generation of Hadoop jobs.
Nor, for that matter, is traditional technology sufficient for cloud hosts who are increasingly trying to get an edge over the competition by offering higher read/write speeds. CloudSigma is the latest example, having announced a few days ago a cloud powered totally by SSD storage.
LSI's flash card essentially achieves the same results as SSD technology, and it may prove to be a smarter approach. Is the rest of the channel ready to continue innovating as the demands of Hadoop and Big Data grow larger than ever?