VAST Data has released details of their latest software and hardware appliance bundle – the Ceres 1RU enclosure featuring new ruler form factor QLC flash modules. Let’s look at a few of the key features that make this storage solution unique.
Speeds and Feeds
The Ceres single rack unit packs up to 338TB or 675TB raw capacity (299TB or 598TB useable) of QLC flash in the ruler form factor (using either 22x 15TB or 30TB rulers) and 6.4TB NVMe in 8x NVMe Persistent Memory (Intel Optane) enclosures. Many VAST deployment achieve 3:1 data reduction with VAST’s unique deduplication algorithm, resulting in these Ceres units delivering between 900TB to 1.5PB of useable flash memory.
Per rack-unit this matches the 2RU Lightspeed storage nodes which hold up to 1,350TB in 2U. The advantage of the Ceres unit is that it brings a lower starting point with 338TB in 1RU.
This new Ceres data storage box increases bandwidth to a max 64 GB/s, from the 2RU Lightspeeds storage nodes that hit 40GB/s, which will definitely benefit high bandwidth applications such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.
Innovation Replacing the CPU with DPUs
A key innovation of the Ceres unit is the remove of CPUs from the data enclosure. Typically CPUs in a storage node handle data traffic, erasure coding or RAID striping. Removing the CPUs brings a range of benefits including reducing the overall power draw and also heat generation in the new Ceres data box. Removal of the CPUs also lowers costs, and removing the motherboards and associated components required for CPUs allows for a very streamlined design.
The use of DPUs and the ruler flash has resulted in a compact 1RU storage enclosure with some clear benefits:
- Easier serviceability – the flash rules slide in and out in the front, and the DPUs are accessed from the back – so the unit can be serviced in place for most issues.
- Increased modularity, with two storage points which are both smaller than previously, allows for building smaller more cost effective VAST clusters.
- Higher density, with up to 675TB flash in 1RU. The flash ruler form factors also provide larger surface area (for cooling) as well as potential for even more density in the future.
Plug and Play Clusters
VAST’s Dis-Aggregated-Shared-Everything (DASE) architecture allows for new nodes such as Ceres to be seamlessly integrated into existing VAST deployments. Ceres storage units can be combined with any of the other Lightspeed enclosures to create a VAST unified storage pool. Any new models that are release in the future can similarly be added to existing VAST clusters. This forward compatibility provides easy upgrades and expansions without having to replace previously purchased nodes.
With VAST’s guarantee of 10 year life-span for their storage systems customers will have opportunities to add to clusters with a latest in technology.
10 Years TCO
VAST provides warranty support for their appliance bundles for up to 10 years. VAST also provides predictable and set support fees, so there are no nasty surprises in the final years of the system. The 10 year warranty offers a lower TCO compared to traditional storage vendors who generally run with 5 year product lifecycles, and often experience difficulties when upgrading systems between generations.
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