The DriveScale System

The benefits of modern workloads are significant. But how does the business respond to the need to deliver data center infrastructure and systems that are flexible and scalable to support growth initiatives?

When it comes to big data deployments, for example, most IT administrators have had to make significant compromises, forgoing many of the enterprise capabilities that they have taken for granted. Those days are gone.

With DriveScale, and only with DriveScale, IT administrators take advantage of the unprecedented performance, scalability, and economics of software composable infrastructure.

Software Composable Infrastructure

Software Composable Infrastructure (SCI) is the underlying innovation of the DriveScale System, and it is the key to unlocking the promise of modern workloads for mainstream enterprises. It enables organizations to disaggregate and recombine compute and storage resources into clusters in any ratio needed to meet the demands of modern workloads. With tightly integrated software and hardware components, SCI provides data center administrators with the efficiency, economics and security, as well as the agility and elasticity of the public cloud, ultimately ensuring that critical resources are no longer trapped in silos and are optimized.

The DriveScale Composability Platform

At the core of the DriveScale system is the DriveScale Composability Platform which enables the composition of infrastructure by combining disparate elements in unique ways. DriveScale provides the glue that brings together diskless servers with many different fabrics and protocols to connect to a hybrid pool of raw storage. This enables just-in-time composition of resources for running distributed modern workloads at scale.

With DriveScale, IT can now take advantage of the unprecedented performance, scalability, and economics of Software Composable Infrastructure.  This new architectural approach creates an efficient infrastructure and gives IT the ability to be more flexible and agile by:

  • Disaggregating and recomposing compute and storage through software
  • Removing silos between clusters and applications
  • Optimizes underutilized assets with up to 70% savings for multiple workloads

How the DriveScale System Works

Traditional data center architectures use a mix of commodity servers that are “fixed” in their pre-integrated configurations of compute and storage. This rigid approach often forces companies to overprovision one resource (e.g., CPUs) in order to fulfill the greater need of another resource (e.g., storage). With DriveScale, the ratio of compute to storage in the data center clusters is a software-defined operation using composable infrastructure technology.

DriveScale automatically discovers available physical data center resources; enables disaggregation of servers into separate pools of compute and storage resources, and reassembles servers under software control, and manages and optimizes the cluster.

Administrators deploy an architecture consisting of pools of compute resources (industry standard servers) and storage resources (hard disks in JBODs) and then compose these resources into logical clusters and logical nodes (software defined physical nodes) that are indistinguishable to the software running on the servers from standard physical rack servers in the data center.  They can rapidly and easily provision and re-configure physical resource ratios to optimize for different and changing applications and workloads, through software.

The benefits of this architecture for clusters and nodes preserve data locality and local disk performance of traditional rack server deployments. More importantly, administrators achieve responsiveness and remove any constraints around their physical infrastructure.

The economic benefits of being able to quickly respond to changing application requirements using existing infrastructure are considerable. DriveScale customers have seen up to 70% savings with higher compute utilization for multiple workloads and save up to 33% with a reduced footprint, reduced costs on power and cooling with denser CPUs.

DriveScale System

The DriveScale System consists of:

  • DriveScale Management Console
  • DriveScale Adapters
  • DriveScale software agent

The DriveScale architectural approach combines, the DriveScale System with industry standard servers, JBODs, and 10GbE network infrastructure that is under the customer’s control either in their data center or a co-location facility, essentially creating a private cloud environment.

In contrast to the pre-integrated storage and compute resources found in the data center, the DriveScale architecture differs by enabling industry standard servers to be disaggregated and deployed as pools of industry standard disk-lite compute servers and commodity hardware disks housed within commodity JBODs across the data center.

The DriveScale Management Server and DriveScale agents coordinate to provide the core functionality of the DriveScale system. This software composes compute and storage components into logical nodes via the DriveScale Adapter and 10GbE network.

To the operating systems and applications running on them, these logical nodes are indistinguishable both in function and performance from traditional rack servers with local disk.

The DriveScale Adapter chassis is a fully redundant Ethernet-to-SAS adapter that converts commodity JBODs into Ethernet connected JBODs. This 1U appliance houses four DriveScale Adapters, each with two 10GbE SFP+ ports and two 12 Gb SAS connections.

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DriveScale Management Software

Administrators can define and rebalance their clusters’ physical resources via the DriveScale service using the DriveScale Management Software and automation-friendly RESTful API, allowing the operator to integrate it with other data center tools.

DriveScale creates clusters of servers composed of the required number of physical drives connected to physical servers. DriveScale utilizes a constraint solver that combines user requirements and information it collects about the environment to define these clusters.

Cluster and server construction is now a software-defined infrastructure operation, one that can be controlled and automated at scale. For example, physical resources of servers can be tuned as the profile of deployed application stacks change; clusters can be grown or shrunk as needed through the server and drive rebalancing, and server failure recovery can avoid replication by simply reassigning drives from failed servers to non-failed ones.

DriveScale Central

DriveScale Central provides easy cloud based administration of DriveScale deployments and an off-site resource for observing data center behavior.

DriveScale Central supports a call home capability for deployments, and provides insights about how best to optimize data center environments. DriveScale Central’s own big data engine will use anonymized metadata from myriad environments to provide actionable recommendations for infrastructure optimization. For example, based on patterns gleaned from other customers, DriveScale Central could recommend a rebalancing of resources to avoid an impending capacity constraint; or it could recommend a tactical firmware update to improve performance of a cluster.