The storage market continues to grow and new features are needed to move, manage, and protect stored data. Storage processing features such as virtualization, data protection, data security (encryption), and data compression to increase storage capacity are essential for storage solutions. In addition, storage solutions are rapidly moving toward serial interconnects. Protocols such as Fibre Channel, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), and Serial ATA (SATA) are dominating the storage protocol landscape.
With feature enhancement comes a need to do more with less. System on a chip (SoC) solutions allow you to consolidate functions into a single silicon solution. The combination of the high-speed transceivers, dense logic, and deep memories of Altera® FPGAs coupled with the intellectual property (IP) solutions from Altera and Altera partners allow you to easily create an ideal SoC storage solution.
Altera storage solutions fit nicely into the various storage categories. Data storage can be assigned to three categories: online, nearline, and offline storage. Each category has its own distinct set of features and functions.
Online storage is in constant use in the data center performing real-time data transactions for server applications. Online storage consists of disk drive-based storage that resides in or is attached (direct or fabric) to a server. Direct-attached storage allows only that server attached to the storage to access the storage. Fabric-attached storage enables all servers attached to the fabric to share the available storage resources. The storage is shared by multiple servers commonly referred to as a storage area network (SAN). SAN protocols are usually Fibre Channel, SCSI, or Ethernet in the case of a network attached storage (NAS) enclosure.
Online storage devices, such as just a bunch of disks (JBODs) and disk arrays, allow high-speed access to the storage, while at the same time providing data protection and security. The high-speed access to the storage is achieved with the high-speed I/O for the network, system bus, and disk drive interfaces. Data protection and security are provided with algorithms such as RAID for data protection and encryption.
Nearline storage has many of the same features, performance, and device requirements as online storage. However, nearline storage is deployed for backup support for online storage. Demand for nearline storage is growing rapidly because more information must be archived for regulatory reasons. Nearline storage is frequently used for data backup because large volumes of data must be quickly backed up, which sometimes cannot be achieved with slower bandwidth rates to tape-based solutions. Nearline storage is built using less expensive disk drives such as SATA drives to store information that must be accessed more quickly than is possible through tape or tape libraries.
Nearline storage designers must meet several requirements in their designs:
- Flexibility with in-house I/O sequencing and RAID algorithms
- Changing data-at-rest encryption standards
- Use of specific compression algorithms
- Tape emulation for existing customer back-up software
Most key storage vendors of nearline storage use FPGAs to meet these design challenges. Altera provides a reference architecture and both in-house and partner IP for nearline storage designs.
Offline storage is commonly referred to as “archive” or “back up” storage and is typically a tape drive or low-end disk drive (virtual tape). Offline storage is used to back up the data stored on both the online and nearline storage devices and is designed for storage of data for long periods of time. Because data is archived, offline storage appliances focus on data accuracy, protection, and security.
Altera Storage Solutions
Altera FPGAs, IP, and ecosystem partners combine to provide an ideal solution for development of online, nearline, and offline storage solutions. Altera Stratix®, Cyclone®, and MAX® devices are invaluable to storage system architects. These platforms allow you to develop extremely flexible applications quickly, efficiently, and affordably. They allow you to craft unique, scalable, and optimized application-centric processing solutions for SAN and NAS appliances. Table 1 shows storage features available in Altera FPGAs.
|Table 1. Altera FPGA Storage Features|
|Category||Network/Fabric I/O||Storage I/O||Data Protection||Data Security|
|AES Type||Key Management and Authentication|
|Online||Fibre Channel Ethernet
ASSP or Switch
|RAID 5, RAID 6||XTS-AES, AES-GCM||
[SHA 1, SHA 256, SHA 384/512, MD5, Multi-mode (SHA 1. SHA 2, MD5), AES Based (XCBC, OMAC)]
[RSA & Diffie-Hellman (Mod. EXP), True Random Number Generator (TRNG), Pseudo Random Number Generator (PRNG)]
|Nearline||Fibre Channel Ethernet, PCIe||SATA||RAID 5, RAID 6||XTS-AES|
|Offline||Fibre Channel Ethernet||Fibre Channel||RAID 5, RAID 6||XTS-AES, AES-GCM, AES-CCM|