Your Server is on a Boat

The COVID global pandemic is having effects way beyond individuals and healthcare.

We’ve all heard about and seen the pictures of massive cargo ships docked off the Western U.S. coast. We’ve heard how the supply chain issues arising from the pandemic are impacting the availability of everything, from toys and consumer electronics to new vehicles. In fact, it’s not uncommon currently for new car buyers to have to wait 4-6 months for the delivery of a new vehicle. Seemingly no product nor industry has been untouched by the supply chain issues arising from the global pandemic.

But what you may not realize is the global pandemic is having broad impacts on the IT industry also. Everything from servers to storage to networking hardware are in short supply.

The effects are rippling through the global economy. 

But even more revealing, the pandemic is impacting the availability of skilled IT labor. As a concrete example of this, it’s not uncommon currently to experience severe issues finding electrical and HVAC contractors who can come on-site for electrical upgrades in data centers. Out of an abundance of caution, many are reluctant to engage in on-site work. So even if you’re lucky enough to get hardware, in many cases it’s difficult to find skilled tradespeople to help you prepare and install it. This is a big issue if you’re trying to set up new cloud environments or expand existing ones.

But what if there were a way to get more mileage out of your existing infrastructure? A way to drive higher utilization and higher efficiency without purchasing and installing new servers, storage, or networking?

With Lightbits, you can do just that. 

Lightbits is an NVMe storage platform that supports NVMe over fabrics (NVMe-oF). NVMe-oF enables the delivery of NVMe storage over a network fabric. Today, there are several types of NVMe-oF that are supported: Fibre Channel, Infiniband, iWARP, RoCE, and TCP/IP.

While all these options enable you to network your NVMe devices, they are not all created equal. Fibre Channel uses a highly specialized physical fabric that is specific to storage area networks (SANs). Infiniband, iWARP, and RoCE also require highly specialized fabric configurations. But NVMe/TCP runs over existing standard networks and cabling without any special configurations. 

Lightbits invented NVMe/TCP and pushed for its acceptance by the greater technology community, and we were the first to start shipping an NVMe/TCP solution in 2019. So you can achieve all the benefits of networked block storage using NVMe with fully standard and commodity platforms you have today. This means you can avoid expensive data center upgrades which are risky due to the current global pandemic situation.

Based upon our research, organizations typically experience direct-attached flash utilization rates of just 20-50%. Lightbits enables these customers to pool their direct-attached NVMe devices across servers into powerful clusters which deliver near local SSD performance. By doing so, you can increase efficiency by driving higher utilization of those direct attached devices.

Lightbits does this with minimal overhead while maintaining close to the native IOPS and latency of the underlying flash storage media. With built-in storage resilience, you can also protect against drive and server failures. With Lightbits Elastic RAID, we protect against drive failures. And with built-in configurable volume replication, we can protect against cluster node failures too.

But there are more benefits. Lightbits Intelligent Flash Management (IFM) enables extended lifetimes of your NVMe SSD’s. Solid state storage technology has limitations in terms of the number of writes which the device can support. But with Lightbits IFM, we coalesce and optimize the writes to the SSD’s to deliver longer life. Lightbits also manages garbage collection at a global level across a cluster, as opposed to within the devices. Lightbits IFM also includes compression features that are fully optimized for the unique characteristics of NVMe SSD’s. In this way, you can drive higher efficiency across entire clusters.

Lightbits delivers enterprise-grade data services using standard servers, storage, and networking you’ve already deployed and are already familiar with managing. 

As we are fully in the 2021 holiday season, who would have ever expected a global pandemic to have such far-reaching impacts? Without a doubt, the IT industry has been impacted by this in many big ways.

As the inventor of NVMe/TCP, Lightbits can help you manage these risks and get more out of your existing infrastructure.

Want more information? Check us out at


Additional Resources

Direct Attached Storage (DAS) Disadvantages & Alternatives
Cloud-Native Storage for Kubernetes
Disaggregated Storage
Ceph Storage
Persistent Storage
Kubernetes Storage
Edge Cloud Storage
NVMe® over TCP


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