HITInfrastructure

Storage News

IBM Developing Faster Flash Storage Solution Protocols

IBM aims to improve its flash storage solutions using a new NVMe protocol to reduce latencies.

IBM dis developing improved flash storage solutions.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- IBM announced development of its Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) to speed data exchange between IT infrastructure systems and flash storage solutions.

The tool will provide lower IT infrastructure latencies and prevent data transfer delay.

NVMe is a new language protocol in development aimed at replacing SAS and SATA standards for solid state storage. The technology reduces delays caused by data bottlenecks and moving high volumes of data within existing flash storage systems. It does so by simultaneously processing data across a network of devices.

“The NVMe strategy is based on optimizing the entire storage system stack - from applications requiring the data to flash technology to store it,” IBM said in a statement. “Through the development of its FlashSystem family of all-flash storage solutions, IBM recognized that multiple technologies would be required to address the demands of ultra-low latency data processing.”

“IBM is developing solutions with NVMe across its storage portfolio, which it plans to bring to market in the first half of 2018.”

IBM is developing the technology to address the common challenges organizations face when dealing with massive amounts of data. All major industry verticals, including healthcare, are demanding fast, scalable, and flexible storage solutions. New advancements are needed to meet present and future data storage demands.

Flash-based rack storage is becoming more popular in health IT infrastructure as more organizations realize the benefits of virtualizing their storage solutions.

Rack servers are more scalable than dedicated tower servers because they contain racks where more hardware can be placed.

Rack servers also don’t take up as much space or require the same cooling energy costs, which makes them ideal for smaller organizations that want to host their datacenter on premise but don’t have a lot of space or resources to spare.

Many rack servers use flashed-based array, which brings down operating costs even more because of how they’re built. Flash-based arrays use solid-state drives (SSD) so they do not have fans or get as hot as traditional datacenter hardware, bringing down maintenance costs significantly.

The continued demand for flash-based array storage is driven by mobile devices, cognitive systems, machine learning, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence.

All of these infrastructure tools need some sort of storage space to run, which can be overwhelming for organizations still using on-premises, legacy servers.

Healthcare organizations in particular benefit from flash-based array because of the amount of unstructured data that can be stored in the virtualized server. The healthcare industry produces one of the highest volumes of data over other verticals because of medical imaging and analytics.

Healthcare organizations are also obligated to keep patient records for extended periods of time, which can fill up server space fast.

Earlier this year Pure Storage released its Flash Blade solution, which is used at UC Berkeley to store and access massive sets of genomic data that need elastic storage space.

UC Berkeley needed a storage option that could quickly retrieve high-quality images so researchers could visualize their research and find patterns. Data visualizations require a very powerful storage solution that can quickly and accurately communicate the data to researchers.

UC Berkeley's Center for Computational Biology Professor Anthony D. Joseph explained that the flash-based array storage removed roadblocks from the research by allowing the team to see more detail faster.

UC Berkeley researches data and shares the information with healthcare organizations so clinicians can make better and more accurate diagnoses.

Cloud storage is also an option for storing massive amounts of clinical data. However many healthcare organizations prefer to store data on-premise if possible because they are able to have full control over the data.

Rack storage and flash-based arrays give healthcare organizations the benefits of a virtualized solution and the security of on-premise servers.