As you’ve probably heard, Intel makes more than just great Ethernet products.  We also make Intel® Solid State Drives!  (Oh and these things too).  While I was at NAB, I got to use a bunch of the various sized SSD products.  On the surface it might not seem obvious how a SSD could help networking.  First a little bit about the SSD products I have played with as part of NAB.

The 32GB offering powered all my clients.  At NAB I had seven 2-in-1U box systems, meaning I had 14 drives.   Since this was on the floor demo, I needed quick recover time if something bad happened, a reduction of power, and silence.   The 32GB was all of this.  It lowered my power usage to the point I could power all my clients off of one circuit at the show.  During my testing back at the farm, I was rebooting so fast that my KVM and BIOS became the slowest part of my reboots.  And that was with a notoriously slow to reboot O/S.

The 160GB drives in my servers gave me all the same benefits with enough space to hold copies of all my software as well as my O/S CD in case I needed to re-install.   I had expected the larger version to be slower, but it was just as responsive as the smaller sized.  I was still thinking of spinning disks!

Once I got home, the Intel® Solid State Drives became the star of my labs.  Everybody wanted them since their coolness factor had been established at the NAB show.  Everything we need to do, SSDs make it happen faster.  O/S re-install, duplicating drive images, boot times, shutdown times, less noise, less power, less vibration concerns, all in one easy to install package.

Now, before you check the link at the top of the page to see if you’ve wandered into the Intel® Solid State Drives section let me assure you this is all relevant to Ethernet.

Before SSDs, the local storage system was the slowest portion of the performance chain for a networking product.  Each and every time the O/S had to access the HD, like for the swap file for virtual memory, data file access, and writing out of log files, a potential stall was created.  If it was a blocking stall, the whole system would wait.  If an application needed data from virtual memory to feed a network socket to another system, that would stall the whole socket.  In the world of Ethernet, performance is more about time than bandwidth.  At 1.44 million packets per second for small sized packets at 1Gb, any delays within the whole system will cause a drop of Ethernet performance.  That millisecond or 75 spent in the hard drive can eat thousands of packet times that can’t be regained.    The Intel® Solid State Drives have 75 microsecond read latency which lowers storage waste to near a level that nearly eliminates  storage time delays.  Considering a 12000rpm hard disk drive has an average latency of 2.49 milliseconds, you can see the performance edge. 

With the lower media latency, Intel® Solid State Drives are a natural partner, not just to Wired Intel® Ethernet, but to 10Gb in particular.  That 1.44 million becomes 14.4 million and the time to send drops again.   With Intel® Solid State Drives, 10 Gigabit finally has a system media that can keep up with it.  Well, other than iSCSI or FCoE.  But that’s not local storage and it’s a whole ‘nother post.

Cue the review!

1)      When looking for networking performance, you have to look at the whole system.

2)      Intel® Solid State Drives can increase the system performance, thus maximizing the value of your Ethernet purchase.

3)      Thanks for using Wired Intel® Ethernet and hopefully you’ll consider using Intel® Solid State Drives.