When Milliseconds Matter

For those working in IT with a focus on consistently delivering service  without delay, milliseconds matter right ? Or should that be microseconds ? For Increasingly we are talking about  sub-millisecond latency, so I guess the near future is being measured in microseconds and maybe the more distant future the measure will  be in nanoseconds, then picoseconds. In any case fewer milliseconds,  microseconds, nanoseconds or picoseconds equals improved business advantage and opportunity. Delay matters, Speed matters !


In any case the days of understanding delay in terms of queuing, queue theory, queue depths and transaction arrival rates in order to manage performance are  the domain of a dwindling few.


Interestingly the recent literary news in Europe has been about a book called Flash Boys. Flash Man, Flash Boys ? Has this author been reading my blog ? I guess not,  but apart from this link the story behind Flash  Boys ( as far as I can make out having not read it yet) is high frequency arbitrage trading where fewer milliseconds equal quick wins and higher profits. I know there is more to the story than this, but not for here.


The main point I wanted to raise is the never ending drive to reduce delay and do more work in a given time. Getting ahead of the competition through stealth and speed is alive and well. Humanity and business thrives on this very fact.


The business automation delivered by IT over the decades now plays a vital role in making certain businesses stand out from the crowd. IT designers and developers spend much of their time looking for efficiency gains. Technology advances continually squeeze higher density, performance and cost out of the compute, networking and storage infrastructure. Witness the advances in parallel processor design, optical networking,

hard disk densities and software development over the past 3 decades. And of course the technology with the fastest changing role is the venerable hard disk.


The technology driving this change in role is of course Flash, in all its forms. Flash storage expands our options for managing the performance and capacity requirements of our data for a given mix of workload profiles. At NetApp the focus for Flash enabled storage is the recognition that all workloads have varying capacity and performance profiles. Today, 17th June 2014  NetApp launch the new FAS2500 and FAS8080EX. The FAS2500 and FAS8000 family complete the simplified Next Generation FAS portfolio. Expanding Capacity, Performance, Connectivity and Flash capability across the entire range.


This launch builds on the All-Flash FAS capability and while any FAS system can be configured as an All-Flash FAS the new FAS8000 series is architected to optimise Flash. The mantra of 'Flash Changes everything'  is true, but  Flash changes nothing when considering crucial topics like data protection, data management and reliability. This is where NetApp All-Flash FAS has the clear advantage. All Flash FAS capitalises on the extensive software features in Data ONTAP. Features such as:

  • Non-disruptive operations (NDO)
  • Integrated data protection
  • SAN and NAS workload support
  • Quality of Service (QoS)
  • Deduplication
  • Inline compression
  • Thin Provisioning

These features deliver robust Data Management  environment driving operational efficiencies over the entire life of the data. All-Flash FAS can also be easily combined with hybrid FAS in a cluster allowing you to create a high performance domain to meet the Service Level Objectives of business critical workloads, which can scale up to 24

nodes. Having managed large data centres in my past, and burnt many weekend hours keeping the lights on, I can tell you that the most attractive features are the ability to create flexible and agile performance and capacity domains in the same cluster, with the same data management and efficiency features across all storage elements. The old days of having to learn, and teach staff, 57 ways of doing the same thing is not going to push the TCO equation in the right direction !



Where to start ? For those existing Data ONTAP customers then Virtual Desktop is a perfect workload to examine if you are looking to improve the  IOPs/Desktop ratio, and the user experience. Database acceleration is also an excellent candidate as All Flash FAS will significantly speed up database access, perform a useful I/O offload from the main storage tier and provide robust tools for managing data base availability.


For more information on the FAS2500, FAS8080EX and All Flash FAS then please follow these links


The FAS8000 Series Unified Scale out storage for the Enterprise


The FAS2500 Hybrid Storage Array


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Thanks for this great article, It's very helpful. Maybe you should consider using bold fonts instead of blue, It's quite looking to be a link.


Many thanks for the feedback and v.pleased you found the blog useful. I take your point on the highlighted text and will certainly change this on the next blog as, you are correct, it's confusing

All the best