Architecture : SSD-Based Solutions Show Advantages In the NoSQL DB Tier (Video)

Today we look at the NoSQL database tier.  Some of this is taken from notes from a work-in-progressAn Introduction to Using High-Performance Flash-Based Storage in Constructing High Volume Transaction Architectures – A Manager’s Guide to Selecting Flash Storage.  This is not a complete look at Big Data, rather a partial look at some of the things Aerospike, one of the more interesting NoSQL databases, is doing. 

Aerospike and the NoSQL Database Tier.  An alternative or in addition to the relational database tier, there is a NoSQL database tier. With the arrival in recent years of Big Data architectures, new elements of a new architecture for dealing with both structured and unstructured data has arrived and with it some databases, like Aerospike, offer an extreme high performance solution in transaction-oriented environments.  Quite a bit different from typical Hadoop implementations as one of Aerospike’s real differentiators is that Aerospike was built as an in-memory database. Traditionally, in the past, this tier we have seen a number of spinning disks.  However, in the past few years, especially with the need for real-time information there has been a move to SSDs and PCIe-based flash cards.  Using Aerospike’s NoSQL database provides a means to get those high performance results. It is built to be run in-memory or in-flash. A partial glimpse into an architecture.  It is built to run on relatively low cost clustered hardware with either lots of memory and/or flash storage.  It supports ACID properties and as a NoSQL database also leverages a key-value store. If we look at an example in this tier – you can see the an example architecture where various transactions are occurring within applications and Aerospike interacts with these. It should be noted that with App tier, Aerospike uses a Smart Client to communicate to the Aerospike cluster.


Of course, the producing/consuming sources may vary dramatically – from applications, web services, hadoop clusters, mobile devices, weblogs, marketing data repositories and many more.   Aerospike  is a best-of-breed of the NoSQL databases. You can see an example of a typical deployment is (from the Aerospike presentation below) :


And some of the Aerospike server deployments :


Aerospike offers support for the ACID standard and support for a high performance, clustered architecture.


Of course, there are other databases such as MongoDB, Cassandra and HBase to name a few. You may choose  to use NoSQL database over relational databases. It depends wholly on what you are doing. The NoSQL database tier’s storage on these servers can use SSDs, flash PCIe cards and flash arrays.  Traditionally this tier has adopted a “share-nothing” philosophy using traditional spinning disks, SSDs or flash PCIe cards. Up to recently, flash arrays seemed like not only over-kill but also seemingly moving against the grain of the “share-nothing” philosophy.  SSDs and cards, like Micron’s P320h offer excellent performance and offer a price/performance advantage over arrays.  As prices of flash drops flash arrays are becoming a consideration in this tier and there are a number of recent deployments leveraging flash arrays for the NoSQL DB tier.  Recently, Aerospike tested Micron’s P320h (SLC SSD) PCIe card.  It “blew away the competition” according to people doing the testing.  You can read more here:


More information on the P320h :


It should be noted that there are two versions of this from Micron. Micron offers a 2.5″ Flash PCIe form-factor which is hot-swappable.  You can read more here :


It should be noted that competitors are not standing still and Virident, Fusion-IO and others have and are coming out with new cards that are worth looking at.

To understand what Aerospike is doing it is worth watching this video :


If you want to learn more, it is worth visiting Aerospike’s BrightTalk site



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Recommended Viewing : Why Micron is 5 Times Faster Than Fusion-IO

This is a particularly interesting for those working with NoSQL databases. In a meet-up hosted by Aerospike some of results from recent testing were provided.  In the beginning there is a discussion by Brian Bulkowski, CTO of Aerospike who talks about why they are interested in fast flash implementation.  I wrote about this recently in the post, Aerospike Benchmark :  Micron PCIe P320h and P420hm Flash Cards “Blow Away The Competition. They recently benchmarked Micron’s PCIe flash cards and were stunned by the performance – it was considerably faster than every other competing implementation.  Scott Shadley, Jr. from Micron presented how Micron is able deliver the performance that surprised Aerospike and also covered the 2.5″ PCIe P320h form-factor that I discussed in the posting, Micron’s P320h 2.5″ Flash PCIe Form-Factor Offers Hot-Swap, which I recommended anyone buying a PCIe flash card should look at.



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Extremely Recommended Viewing : Micron’s P320h 2.5″ Flash PCIe form-factor Offers Hot-Swap

Updated : This is very exciting upgrade to the P320h flash card.  Here is a differentiated solution and potential disruption to many of the PCIe cards available. In case you missed it, Aerospike, the NoSQL database company that tunes for high performance on flash, provided a great review on the P320h (to quote – “it blew away the competition”).  I have updated this post with a link to StorageReview’s review of the P320h and two videos – one from StorageReviews and one from Micron (overview). 

Very interesting.  There are two form factors to the P320h from Micron. The first form factor is the card.  The second is a new 2.5″ form-factor of the P320h.  I have since found a couple of reviews on this card.  The Storage Review did a review of the P320h PCIe flash card and compared to Fusion IO and LSI flash cards


and from another review we look at a the new Micron flash PCIe 2.5″ form factor . This form factor allows you to hot-swap it :


You can see that Dell offers this form factor in their R720 with a specialized backplane :


Here is the demo of 2.5″ P320h being hot-swapped :

and a discussion between Dell and Micron on the Micron 2.5″ P320h PCIe hot-swap device :

Updated : If you are interested – StorageReviews has a nice review and video showing the  testbed on a SuperMicro and Infiniband.  They are running Microsoft Windows Server 2012  and Microsoft Storage Spaces :

and a review of the two products by Micron.

The P320h (non-2.5″) version was tested in this video (running iometer/4k workload) and gets 650,000 IOPS on Windows and 750,000 on Linux :


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MySQL Benchmark : Micron P320h (SLC) PCIe Flash Card – Outperforms

After looking at the Aerospike/Micron PCIe flash card benchmark I was extremely interested in whether a database like MySQL would also get as good results.  The answer seems is a resounding ‘yes’.  Over at Vadim Tkachenko’s MySQL Performance Blog, the tests were conducted in mid-April.  the P320h PCIe flash cards ran the sysbench fileIO tests n asynchronous mode and read performance was a steady 3202 MiB/second.  Write performance came in over 1730 MiB/sec. Performance was over 110,000 write IOPS and almost 205,000 read IOPS. Synchronous IO was similarly impressive. Vadim offered MySQL testing using the TPCC-MySQL test and sysbench OLTP and compared it to other PCIe flash cards.  Micron’s P320h delivered equally impressive performance on these tests – outperforming the two other flash cards.  You can read the review here :



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Aerospike Benchmark : Micron PCIe P320h & P420hm Flash Cards “blows away the competition”

If you are using  Aerospike’s database (which is a really nice NoSQL DB) you should be evaluating Micron’s P320h and P420hm PCIe cards.  Actually, I’ll go further, if you are looking at PCIe cards, in general, you should be evaluating at Micron.  If you don’t know what Aerospike is – it is a NoSQL database optimized for flash and it is in wide use by a class of customers that need extreme performance and low latency.


In a review of testing by Aerospike, Brian Bulkowski, CTO at Aerospike was effusive in writing about the results in The SSD Journal.  Specifically he states in a review of tests – “Micron PCIe devices blow away the competition, and our customers who use them are very pleased.”  This is high praise coming from a company who has tested a large number of flash devices and even some flash arrays.  In the tests, Aerospike ran the Aerospike Certification Tool (ACT) and the results were impressive.


The numbers are nothing short of stunning. The Micron P320h (SLC) was able to “sustain 99.8% of requests under 1 millisecond while at the same time satisfying 150,000 read operations per second and 225 megabytes per second of writes hour after hour.”  How has Micron been able to do it ?   You can read more in the review.