Advance Boosts Efficiency of Flash Storage in Data Centers
MIT researchers have modified solid-state drives (SSDs), which use flash storage, to process key-value pairs to cut in half the energy and space required to store and manage user data. Advance boosts efficiency of flash storage in data centers
New architecture promises to cut in half the energy and physical space required to store and manage user data. Data centers are server farms that facilitate communication between users and web services, and are some of the most energy-consuming facilities in the world. In them, thousands of power-hungry servers store user data, and separate servers run app services that access that data.
Other servers sometimes facilitate the computation between those two server clusters. Most storage servers today use solid-state drives (SSDs), which use flash storage — electronically programmable and erasable memory microchips with no moving parts — to handle high-throughput data requests at high speeds. In a paper being presented at the ACM International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems, the researchers describe a new system called LightStore that modifies SSDs to connect directly to a data center’s network — without needing any other components — and to support computationally simpler and more efficient data-storage operations.
Further software and hardware innovations seamlessly integrate the system into existing data center infrastructure. In experiments, the researchers found a cluster of four LightStore units, called storage nodes, ran twice as efficiently as traditional storage servers, measured by the power consumption needed to field data requests. The cluster also required less than half the physical space occupied by existing servers.