Storage price/performance is perhaps the most critical part of a service provider's offering. While compute resources can easily be returned to the provider's pool when not in use, stored data needs to remain available and protected 24/7. So the hourly cost adds up, and customers take notice. Runaway storage costs can be a key reason the largest and best customers consider returning to on-premise infrastructure.
Adding to the challenge, storage costs are no longer denominated only in $/GB. Storage performance is an equally critical measure, and with the growing ubiquity of flash as a primary storage medium, a performance arms-race is in full swing among leading cloud providers. This is no surprise when examining the relationship between storage performance and price. Ultra high-performance block storage products from leading providers are often priced at 100x more than general-purpose managed flash storage.
This leap forward in performance was enabled by the emergence of NVMeTM over Fabrics technology, a new transport protocol designed specifically for efficient, native communication of NVMeTM storage traffic over data center networks. Leading CSPs have replaced legacy iSCSI technology with NVMe-oFTM solutions, and KumoScaleTM software delivers the same level of performance and efficiency.
Today, leading cloud service providers offer pre-provisioned/reserved block storage options for high performance applications. As of early 2020, a single replicated volume could be provisioned with as much as 160,000 IOPS and 2 GB/s of bandwidth! This performance comes at a premium, and rental costs for these volumes are several thousand dollars per month. At the same time, SSD-backed, replicated volumes with more performance could be rented for under $40/month. This breadth of price-performance points makes it hard to provision conventional storage to compete.
KumoScale technology covers this entire range with a single solution. The performance of a KumoScale volume is set by parameters provided in its Storage Class Specification. By carefully managing and balancing performance SLAs for each volume, and modifying mapping and drive assignments automatically, KumoScale technology can deliver very high performance to those clients at very low average cost, simultaneously.