Broadcast Beat Magazine 2018 NAB Show Edition - Page 72

However, even larger post-production facilities who have already spent a considerable amount of money in their Fibre Channel equipment, and understandably want to protect and retain their investment, might want to consider an alternative before spending even more for upgrading to the latest bandwidth standard of 32Gb. This is a game-changer, as smaller facilities that maybe weren’t able to compete in a world in which resolutions, and therefore workloads, are constantly rising, can now handle larger hi-res projects without the investment in costly Fibre Channel infrastructure. The optimal deployment of NVMe NVMe changes the world of media storage – finally also boosting Ethernet performance Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) is the incredibly fast flash storage that sheds a whole new light on storage performance. The most obvi- ous advantage of NVMe is that, just like SSDs, it uses memory chips instead of spinning disks; hence, no delays due to mechanical head seeks that occur with HDDs. Unlike SSDs though that usually connect through the SATA or SAS bus interface, NVMe connects through the lightning fast Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) bus. As the mode of operation of the PCIe bus is much more similar to that of the CPU, the overall performance is increased tremendously, boosting the bandwidth close to the bandwidth of the random access memory (RAM). This com- bination allows NVMe over PCIe to handle many more simultaneous I/O requests – up to 1.2 million IOPS, to be precise, with close-to-zero latency! As enterprise NVMe is still significantly more expensive than consumer grade SSDs – let alone HDDs – building an entire storage array from the fast flash storage is probably not an option, at least not if budget is limited. Considering that the requirements in storage space in post-production is constantly rising as well, a mere NVMe storage RAID would probably be unaffordable, at least when compared to spinning disks. Yet, NVMe can still provide noticeable benefits for environments generating unstructured data with insatiable demands on storage space. Utilizing NVMe in the NAS server allows for taking advan- tage of the new technology - without breaking the bank. Enhanced Ethernet for smaller post-produc- tion facilities If a state-of-the-art NAS head can support 100Gbit Ethernet and remote direct memory access (RDMA), the NVMe flash storage, as a transparent cache on the server level, boosts the network performance to levels comparable to Fibre Channel. Another clear benefit of deploying NVMe on the server level shows in significantly lower CPU consumption, leaving more CPU power for applications. And in case of a power outage, the most recently used media files would remain in the non-volatile memory (NVMe) based cache, as opposed to being lost with any standard RAM. Fortunately, utilizing NVMe over PCIe slowly but surely makes its way into pure NAS environ- ments, which opens vast opportunities to benefit from this new technology, especially for smaller post-production facilities and production islands. Instead of investing in a pure Fibre Channel-based infrastructure, or a hybrid Fibre Channel/Ethernet set-up to ensure high performance for worksta- tions that need fast and latency-free bandwidth, the more cost-efficient Ethernet protocol now provides Fibre Channel-like performance for the entire storage environment. In summary: NVMe on the server level can boost throughput and overall bandwidth in an Ethernet environment to Fibre Channel-like performance. With an overhead of multi-stream concurrency of close to zero, and no moving parts on the solid- state NVMe, allocation and fragmentation issues on the file system become irrelevant on the trans- parent cache. So, if zero latency is required, as well as exceptionally high parallel stream count in non-linear editing (NLE) applications, and huge random IO performance is necessary, a NAS envi- ronment utilizing NVMe may be your solution. Some storage vendors offer hybrid storage arrays using spinning disks (HDD), solid state disks (SSD) and now NVMe. So far the performance boost through NVMe is mainly available in larger SAN set-ups though. 72 • Broadcast Beat Magazine •