Retrofitting PCIE SSD Cards In Older Servers

I talked to three PCIe-card flash vendors (Fusion IO, STEC and Micron) at the Percona Live Conference.

Their listing pricing for Quantity 1 is:

  1. Fusion IO Direct Acceleration Products – $10,000+ for ioDrive2, volume discount for ioScale product (Google, Facebook, Apple are the most likely customers –“MLC flash with capacities ranging from 410GB to 3.2TB with cost/GB at $3.89/GB for the 3.2TB product which sells in 1,090-unit quantities”)
  2. Micron – $7,000+
  3. STEC – $4,000+

All three vendors said that the easiest way to guarantee server compatibility is to order their SSD card at the same time as your new server.

That’s nice, but some of us have existing gear that just needs more IOPs.

All said that their cards should fit, as they follow PCIe form factor specifications.

The technical issues mentioned were:

  • sometimes a BIOS update is needed for higher fan speeds, especially with higher-capacity (hotter) storage
  • particular motherboards may require a BIOS updated for known compatibility issues
  • there are many versions of the PCIe standard
  • ensure you have a spare PCIe slot.

I’ve never heard anybody say that server cosmetic faceplate panels help with airflow, so consider removing those. That also makes server installation and deinstallation easier and quicker.

Some of the soft issues are:

  • convincing vendor sales that you’re serious about adding SSD costing more than the original server
  • psychological – SSD devices offer 100,000+ IOPs, likely more than MySQL needs. Some people don’t want to approve invoices for “wasted IOPs” if only half can be used. Perhaps consider running 2 MySQL instances on the same server.

For MySQL servers:

  • if your master gets SSD, then likely your slaves will need SSD too, or they will lag
  • MySQL-specific features, like InnoDB atomic writes, and other software should be evaluated before deciding on a vendor
  • universal lack of useful documentation at http://vendor.com/mysql/ – vendors, databases are the market – you’re throwing away revenue!

wikipedia: PCI Express
theregister.co.uk: Flash card latency: Time to get some marks on benches

theregister.co.uk: EMC hits flash leader Fusion-io where it hurts: Low-cost server cards

This entry was posted in API Programming, Business, Cassandra, Cloud, Conferences, Linux, MySQL, Open Source, Oracle, Psychology, Retro, San Jose Bay Area, Storage, Tech, Toys. Bookmark the permalink.

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