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At CenturyLink we love all things storage. We strive to incorporate new technologies into our platform to provide best-in-class service and unmatched performance. As the flash memory market undergoes radical changes we are excited to offer customers a portfolio of storage options.

What is Storage?

The question "What qualifies as storage?" needs to be asked because the line between what can and can not be considered storage has become blurred. Many do not consider RAM to be storage due to its lack of crash consistency, but it has the most lanes to the processor; each of the lanes directly translates into improved application performance. With the emergence of 3d-NAND flash and nano-second respond latency, we can now move to primary storage into the memory bus. This change provides 48GB/s throughput to the caching drive as compared to the 2.8 GB/s on the PCI bus. A memory bus type caching drives can scale-write IOPS in excess of 100M1. To put this into context, this translates to the storage requirements of 1,500 large enterprise exchange servers2 or 1000 SAP HANNA instances3. This type of disruptive technology changes what primary storage means.

How do we Define Performance?

When we designed our software defined storage (SDS) system, we looked at component interaction, node interaction, and the system as a whole. We took this approach to testing for several reasons. First, nothing is more important to us then the stability and performance of our customers data. Second, only doing end-to-end testing makes it difficult to recognize and identify bottlenecks. Third, we need to recognize, in a data-driven matter, what the scale limits of a system are and what happens when we pass them. Bottlenecks are designed to be at the lowest level of the storage system. In the case of our storage system, it is the capacity drives residing in each node. Current nodes have been designed to provide 800K read IOPs and 500K write IOPS (write cache) with 64 nodes per rack, in an effort to provide the fastest speeds for our customers.

Why Software Defined Storage (SDS)?

SDS is, in reality, already well established in the market, but traditional storage companies don’t want you to know that. They take off-the-shelf hardware, repaint the box, give it a fancy name and install their own software. Because of this, most companies are very limited in three ways. First, they are on-average two to three generations behind the current on-market flash products. Second, the velocity of market-demanded features is years behind companies which focus on the software. Third, and most important, they are not API driven. They have GUI or CLI interfaces which require humans to configure the system. This interaction leads to unwanted differences in system configuration and slows expansion of the storage system when the demand deems it necessary. Moving to all API configurations has lowered our deployment times from eight hours to 30 minutes.

It’s always been a vision to have a software solution define the behavior of the hardware. We’re partnering with best-in-class flash manufacturing companies to make this vision a reality. We have our storage partners fine-tune software products to provide unparalleled stability and speed. We accept features that enhance our offering (noisy neighbor mitigation, hardware encryption, and secure multi-tenancy) and reject those that don’t improve the experience for our customers (compression, dedupe, and IOP limits). It is an exciting time for storage and we are excited to bring these changes to our customers.

Finding the Right Storage to Meet the Business Demands

  • Simple Backup Service: Protect your enterprise data with secure, file-level backups in the cloud. Store mission-critical information according to customized retention policies.

  • Disaster Recovery: Avoid the enormous costs of IT downtime and data loss with SafeHaven for CenturyLink Cloud. It's affordable protection for your on-premise data & production servers.

  • Next-Generation Object Storage: Designed for the enterprise: highly available, with automatic replication. For large-scale cloud applications, object storage is far more efficient than hierarchical file systems. To this end, CenturyLink Cloud offers enterprise-grade object storage. Our cloud servers store and manage your files in a highly-scalable, fault-tolerant distributed datastore.

  • Block Storage: Like any computing, the primary pillars driving cloud computing is a combination of CPU, memory, networking, and storage. Most Infrastructure-as-a-Service(IAAS) platforms, like CenturyLink Cloud, provide two storage solutions, Block & Object. Our SAN-based storage features built-in disaster recovery and achieves a minimum of 2,500 IOPS and up to 20,000 IOPS, with less than 5ms latency.

Learn More about CenturyLink Cloud

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