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The top three use cases for PCIe SSD

Learn more about the most common applications of PCIe solid-state cards today in this Expert Answer from independent storage expert Marc Staimer.

What are the top three applications of PCIe SSD?

1. High performance computing (HPC) clusters in financial service high-frequency trading platforms, life sciences, and energy. These systems utilize PCIe SSD cards as very fast secondary memory. High-frequency trading systems make thousands of trades a second. Latency matters. Higher performance SSDs reduces read latency. In real terms, microseconds of read latency equal millions of dollars. Life sciences and energy utilize them to speed complex calculations. High performance flash SSDs reduce or eliminate processor waiting on read data from the storage. This will translate into much faster calculations, cutting times by as much as 50% or more.

2. Web 2.0 such as Facebook. Facebook uses FusionIO IODrive PCIe flash cards for their MySQL databases. By using these flash cards instead of HDDs, Facebook is able to turn off MySQL's inefficient redundant journaling system and take advantage of FusionIO's logging system (protects data should there be a power failure). The combination of fast PCIe flash plus fewer writes results in reduced amount of stored data by 50%, decreased latency by 50%, and increased throughput by 33% versus equivalent HDD storage. From Facebook's perspective, it means reduced storage infrastructure and cost and higher customer satisfaction because their customers receive much faster response times.

3. Relational databases. In addition to the Facebook MySQL example above, PCIe flash SSD cards do wonders for relational databases as write through cache (a.k.a. read cache). Hot files, indexes, metadata can all be placed into the SSDs as cache. Data can be pinned there as well. This can accelerate databases impressively by as much as an order of magnitude when it comes to queries, sorts, and calculations.

Editor's note: You can learn more about use cases for PCIe solid-state cards by checking out some of our recent case studies and feature articles.

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PCIe-based solid-state storage implementation benefits and drawbacks
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Pumped-up performance: PCIe SSDs
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Solid-state storage technology: App needs dictate choice of arrays, cache, appliances or servers
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This was first published in May 2013
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