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Public Cloud’s a Cheat, SolidFire Says

It’s because of the so-called “Noisy Neighbor” phenomenon

SolidFire, the company that makes all-Flash solid-state storage for the cloud, figures the shared multi-tenant cloud is basically ripping users off.

It’s because of the so-called “Noisy Neighbor” phenomenon.

Since the public cloud lets in just anybody with the price of admission, there’s no telling whether a noisy neighbor will drain the resources needed to run one’s application especially since applications are designed to consume as many resources as are available for a task.

The cloud vendor normally doesn’t offer customers an SLA so users have little recourse when the promised resources are eaten up by the piggy sharing its infrastructure.

The “Noisy Neighbor” just doesn’t slurp up shared IOPSes, its impact is felt in the uptick in the support calls, ticket counts and engineering resources needed to respond to the other guy’s degraded application performance. Like a rowdy party, the noisy neighbor’s “blast radius” extends beyond its immediate vicinity to wake up people floors below.

The situation has deterred enterprise-grade applications from moving to the cloud. And in an attempt to deliver predicable performance, cloud providers have compensated by over-provisioning or offering pricey dedicated hardware.

A recent CIO survey found enterprises don’t trust the available cloud infrastructure to run their business-critical and performance-sensitive applications.

“Performance variability and inconsistent application delivery is one of the primary hesitations around deploying mission-critical applications in a cloud infrastructure,” said Philbert Shih, the managing director of Structure Research. “It is not until providers can guarantee application performance that we will find more production applications deployed in the cloud.”

SolidFire says the situation demands guaranteed quality of service in storage but it’s not as simple as adding it as a feature.

CEO Dave Wright says, “True quality of service is an architectural concept that must be considered, and implemented, at the very core of storage product design. Quality of Service (QoS) capability is essential for both cloud providers and cloud consumers. Without QoS, achieving predictable performance within a multi-tenant cloud is virtually impossible.”

That involves situations including failure scenarios, system overload, variable workloads and elastic demand.

Of course, as might be assumed, SolidFire, unlike, say, 3PAR or any spinning disk vendor, has an all-flash scale-out storage architecture with patented volume-level quality-of-service (QoS) controls from the code on up and claims providers can now guarantee storage performance to thousands of applications in shared infrastructures – a richer environment than Amazon now supports.

Besides an all-SSD architecture that enables the delivery consistent latency for every IO; SolidFire say it has a true scale-out architecture, meaning linear, predictable performance gains as the system scales; RAID-less data protection, offering predictable performance in any failure condition; balanced load distribution, which eliminates hot spots that create unpredictable IO latency; fine-grain QoS control to completely eliminate noisy neighbors and guarantee volume performance; and performance virtualization to control performance independent of capacity and on demand,

The company has what they call nowadays an “infographic” detailing the situation: you can see it here. It is expected to release comparative benchmarks soon.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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