The Fundamentals of Storage Systems – Introduction

At least once a year I give a large talk on disk subsystems, IO and SQL Server. It’s a ground up from the nuts and bolts of how a hard drive works through SAN’s and Solid State Disks. The reasons I give this presentation so often is it is one of the most requested topics and one of the most misunderstood. The problem often lies in the fact the DBA may not know that much about different storage systems but they do know that it is very important do their jobs. With the rise of SAN, iSCSI and other storage solutions DBA’s have less and less control over the disk system that their SQL Server relies on. It’s my goal to give them, or you, the tools they need to effectively present their needs to the storage teams hopefully without a major amount of fuss and arguments. If you know how and why it works they way it works you can make logical requests in the language that your storage folks understand.

The presentation is meant to lay the foundation that can then be built upon and expand your knowledge off all things I/O.

This article series will be slightly expanded over what my presentation normally covers, since I’m only restricted by your willingness to read what I write. It will still be a condensed version of storage systems but I’ll put up as many reference links as I can.

Series To Date:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Basics of Spinning Disks
  3. The System Bus
  4. Disk Controllers, Host Bus Adapters and Interfaces
  5. RAID, An Introduction
  6. RAID and Hard Disk Reliability, Under The Covers
  7. Stripe Size, Block Size, and IO Patterns
  8. Capturing IO Patterns
  9. Testing IO Systems
  10. Latency
  11. Solid State Storage Basics
  12. Understanding Reliability and Performance of Solid State Storage
  13. Shared Consolidated Storage Systems

Upcoming Posts :

Storage Area Networks
Network Attached Storage
SQL Server and The File System
Understanding Mean Time to Failure and Other Failure Metrics
Tools and Techniques To Monitor SQL Server and I/O

Some topics may be a single post some may span several I won’t know for sure until I get done writing them. As request come in I may try to post on specific questions, or at a minimum point you in the right direction.

Stay Tuned….