x86 Processor Innovation Enables Intelligent Disk Drives and Disk Drive-level Battery Backup for Distributed Cloud Storage Infrastructure

With the advent of cloud computing, enterprise and SMB storage infrastructure is becoming increasingly decentralized so as to enable the greatest possible management flexibility while improving IO performance, data recovery time and cost per gigabyte. This has been driven in part by parallel advancements in virtualization technology, which helps to create elastic pools of networked IT resources that can be managed dynamically in accordance with evolving business needs.

This accelerating shift to cloud infrastructure has impelled IT system architects to reassess the conventional storage hardware that has underpinned storage platforms to date, and this reassessment naturally extends to the embedded components that comprise these systems – particularly the processor platforms.

Conventional storage arrays and servers are typically architected around centralized controllers or boards that process the aggregate storage IO via general purpose x86 CPUs grouped in one-to-many CPU-to-disk drive configurations. The processor is the primary bottleneck of data flows to and from the disk drives within the system, so system vendors design in the highest performing CPUs possible in order to speed IO, which adds significant expense and power consumption in the process.....more

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