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Scality aims at high-performance object with Ring 8 all-flash

Object storage specialist Scality has added the ability to use all-flash servers in the upgrade to version eight of its Ring software.

The company claims a 10x performance increase for its scale-out file and object storage software with the new capabilities.

The move comes amid a growing trend for object storage to move to more high-performance hardware capabilities as demand increases for analytics, IoT and content delivery use cases. It is also driven by the need to support applications that demand a higher performance tier for use in certain workloads, such as some backup applications.

Previously Scality only supported the use of a small amount of flash in its deployments, which have comprised 98% spinning disk for data with up to 2% flash capacity reserved for performance-intensive tasks.

But why the change now? Scality chief product officer Paul Speciale said: “We were predominantly spinning disk because we are a capacity-optimised system, and to keep down the $/GB cost is natural. Previously, flash shielded disk for I/O and was used for metadata and indexing.”

“We had throughput but now we have low latency too. It also opens up new workloads,” said Speciale.

The Scality product chief cited applications such as Veeam, for which Scality was able to be used as an archive-ready tier but can now be a target for the company’s synthetic backups and restores, which is a file system workload and demands NAS or DAS storage.

Speciale also mentioned content delivery workloads such as live TV where “you can’t miss a frame” and which requires the speed of flash to keep up.

A key driver for the trend towards flash media in storage types in which it was previously a rarity is also the falling price of SSD relative to spinning disk HDD. In some cases, said Speciale, super-fast NVMe flash is available at the same cost as SAS-connected flash such as with the less-costly and more dense forms of SSD such as QLC.

Key to the possibility of using flash in this way for Scality are upgrades to its software stack that have allowed it to handle writing, changing and reading to flash media more optimally.

Scality software will be certified for HPE, Cisco UCS, Western Digital, Lenovo and Huawei server hardware.

Scality’s Ring object storage scales out on relatively inexpensive commodity server hardware. Ring also supports NFS and SMB and provides file access storage but until now this provided only tier-2 capabilities. The move to flash will now see Scality move to provide tier-1 NAS suitable for applications that require high IOPS or random I/O.

Other applications targeted are design and simulations, live analytics, AI/ML applications, single-tier medical imaging and CCTV.

Zenko is Scality’s hybrid cloud storage platform, which allows data access between on-premise and public cloud locations. Scality has extended its on-premise connectivity to cloud storage providers’ edge products with the addition of Azure Blob APIs that will allow customers to connect Microsoft Azure cloud edge deployments to Ring storage.

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