Thoughts on Using Consumer SLC SSD for NAS

hchasens

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Feb 10, 2022
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First Post! Okay, here it goes. I'm going to start moving regularly for my job so I sold my rack and got a VRTX to consolidate my lab into "mobile" infrastructure. Since moving involves a lot of vibration I wanted to stick to an SSD build only... but SSDs are expensive. A consumer SLC SSD runs for about $45 a terabyte vs enterprise SSDs which run around $100 a terabyte. But, since they're both SLC I should get similar write endurance! Just at much slower speeds.

My options are:
24 TB of consumer SLC SSD
12 TB of enterprise SSD
or ~40 TB of HDD storage (which I think will be the slowest of them all and I'm trying to avoid HDD).

If I cache on faster SSDs on the VRTX's blades I shouldn't see a huge difference (I think).

I've never worked much with SSDs however and I don't have a lot of real-world experience with them. What are your thoughts on using consumer SLC SSDs for NAS storage? Am I overlooking anything massive?
 

BlueFox

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Oct 26, 2015
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Consumer SLC? Don't think I've seen that since 2008. Even enterprise SSDs are now normally TLC at best. How much endurance do you really need? I think many overestimate how much data they'll actually write in any given year. Main thing you'll be missing out on with consumer SSDs is PLP, which might not be an issue.
 
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AveryFreeman

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Do you mean TLC? You can find 24GB SLC drives (Intel 313 msata, for example) but it's very uncommon, and you certainly won't be finding it in 1TB at a time (maybe 480GB or 960GB but those will more likely be MLC or eMLC).

I have a micron 9200 max pro 3.2TB that was one of the earlier "super huge" TLC enterprise ssds for databases, etc. It was about $500 used on eBay (probably can find 9300 pro cheaper now, be careful of hours though). I run VMs off of it and can't really tell the difference between it and a Samsung PM981 unless I do a speed test.

I have a few "desktop" VMs which are a good way to gauge perceptible speed, using them like a normal desktop/laptop. None of them hang even when running 4-8 other VMs off the same drive. Of course, the box has an E5-2660v4 and 128GB RAM, but that's another story...

Note: U.2 adapters add another $100-150 and then if you want an NVMe hot swap adapter (I think icydock has one?) they are the cost of your first born - was $550 last I checked, if you can even find one.
 

i386

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You need enterprise ssds for plp and it's ability to keep the performance in sustained workloads.

My options are:
24 TB of consumer SLC SSD
12 TB of enterprise SSD
or ~40 TB of HDD storage (which I think will be the slowest of them all and I'm trying to avoid HDD).
What's wrong with option 4? Using ssds to accelerate hdd arrays?
 

hchasens

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Feb 10, 2022
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You need enterprise ssds for plp and it's ability to keep the performance in sustained workloads.


What's wrong with option 4? Using ssds to accelerate hdd arrays?
I was hoping to stay away from HDD since I'll be transporting it often (once every two months or so). I didn't want to take all the drives out every time I moved.
 

BackupProphet

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There is only one thing I use consumer SSD's for, and that is selling them to someone else. Even my Steam game library runs on enterprise SSD's.
It's not only sync writes that is massively faster, you also have endurance, and sustained performance.
 
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nabsltd

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Jan 26, 2022
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Note: U.2 adapters add another $100-150 and then if you want an NVMe hot swap adapter (I think icydock has one?) they are the cost of your first born - was $550 last I checked, if you can even find one.
4-port U.2 is less than $250:

 

UhClem

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nabsltd

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You don't want that!
Maybe the V2 (that actually uses correct pinouts).
If you are using direct U.2 connection with SFF-8643, it works perfectly.
The V2 has its own issues, where it does not work with Tri-mode HBAs.
 

UhClem

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If you are using direct U.2 connection with SFF-8643, it works perfectly.
Direct? Do you mean a "straight" 8643-to-8643 cable (generic; not OEM/custom)?
And, direct from what?
([Link] indicates several people having problems with the "V1".)
The V2 has its own issues, where it does not work with Tri-mode HBAs.
Both LSI Tri 9400 & 9500 claim standards-compliant pinouts, as does the V2.
Pls cite your reference for the "does not work".

Still, I'm not recommending the V2 (why I wrote "maybe") ... given the, imo, botch job on the V1
 

nabsltd

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Jan 26, 2022
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Direct? Do you mean a "straight" 8643-to-8643 cable (generic; not OEM/custom)?
And, direct from what?
I'm connecting to a SFF-8643 port on my motherboard, using a generic cable with 8643 on both ends. For a lot of people, something like that would be the most economical way to connect to this hot-swap cage, as you can cheaply add 4x U.2 ports using an x16 slot and a bifurcating motherboard (or, two x8 slots, etc.). For around $100, you can connect 4x U.2 drives to a $250 hot-swap cage. That's way better than paying $400 (or more) for a tri-mode HBA, $400 (or more) for the V2 cage, and then whatever it would cost for cables to connect the two. Now, if you are already buying a new motherboard that has Oculink, the V2 is probably a better choice.

Of course, one caveat is that you must replace the pathetic fans on either version, if you don't want to fry your U.2 drives.
Both LSI Tri 9400 & 9500 claim standards-compliant pinouts, as does the V2.
Pls cite your reference for the "does not work".
Straight from the product page:
Code:
Note: 03/17/2022 - The MB699VP-B V2 is designed to be compatible with NVMe host cards only. Therefore, due to circuit board's design differences, the recently introduced Tri-mode NVMe/SAS/SATA host cards are not compatible with the MB699VP-B V2. If you have purchased the enclosure and are experiencing connectivity issues with Tri-mode cards, please contact us at tech@icydock.com for further assistance.
I don't know exactly what "Tri-mode cards" they are referencing, but there aren't many out there.
 
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RTM

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What about buying used enterprise disks, these 3.84tb Samsung's are pretty cheap (depending on how you calculate it, it could be as cheap as around $ 66 /TB:

If you can use U.2's you could buy WD SN630's (I believe OWC/Macsales are still selling them for $300 for a 3.84 TB disk), those are also pretty inexpensive.

With that said, I think someone has to ask a different question:
If you are frequently moving around, do you really want lug a still relatively heavy VRTX around?
Unless you need to tinker with the actual hardware side, you could probably just stick your servers in a datacenter somewhere (leasing a server, could also work depending on your needs).
 

UhClem

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I'm connecting to a SFF-8643 port on my motherboard, using a generic cable with 8643 on both ends. ...
That says it all! Excellent.
Have you, by chance, "tested" your motherboard port with a (standard/generic) 8643-to-8639 cable (direct to a U.2 drive)? [Murphy says, "but two wrongs can make a right". :) ]
Now, if you are already buying a new motherboard that has Oculink, the V2 is probably a better choice.
Unless you find the "correct" 8611-to-8643 cable, whereby the V1 should be A-OK. (modulo Murphy, above)
 

nabsltd

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Have you, by chance, "tested" your motherboard port with a (standard/generic) 8643-to-8639 cable (direct to a U.2 drive)?
Why would I do that when I have 8643 on both ends (motherboard and enclosure)?

But, seeing as how Supermicro sells the exact cable you mention for use with the motherboard, I'm pretty sure it would be OK.
 

itronin

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Nov 24, 2018
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Why would I do that when I have 8643 on both ends (motherboard and enclosure)?
IDK :rolleyes: hmmm maybe use one that has the same connector on both ends?

Here I'm using both "kinds" of SFF-8643 - Some with (SM NVME) white connectors and some with (GENERIC) black connectors. I verified both "kinds" of cables work for either u.2 or SAS. I'd just make sure that the cables are high quality and not junk. And yes that's a BPN-SAS3-216A -N4 backplane.

IMG_3702.jpg
 
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