Small latencies can have big effects
To illustrate how critical even minor latencies can be to Dropbox, here’s an example of latency in action: in June 2020, the average time of a folder sharing function rose an unexpected 25%, from 8.08 seconds to 10.73 seconds at P95. This 2.65 second difference was caused by a 10ms latency in a discrete set of operations that access Dropbox’s metadata stack.
That’s why, when selecting storage for the metadata stack, Dropbox chose Samsung’s PM983 NVMe PCIe SSD, which offers four times IOPS of SATA SSDs, and consistent performance across a range of operating parameters.
To meet the demand for high-utilization, high-duty cycle data centers, the PM983 SSD firmware prioritizes quality of service for sustained random workloads. Optimized for always-on, always-busy workloads, PM983 was developed to help data centers deploy NVMe SSDs cost-effectively, at scale.
“Samsung’s PM983 SSD run on very unique and variable block sizes and workloads. Its throughput and latency performance have met all MySQL and Service Owner requirements at Dropbox,” says Lim.
Beyond data management and storage, Dropbox also decided to adopt Samsung SSDs in their transition from SATA HDD to SSD, selecting the Samsung U.2 PM983 NVMe for booting the Compute tier.
A partnership built on continuous innovation
Both Dropbox and Samsung see strength in the ongoing partnership between the two companies.
Asked to describe the relationship, Zafar stated, “Dropbox strongly values our ongoing partnership with Samsung, and our continuous collaboration opportunities as we look for new ways to develop our infrastructure to meet ever-evolving customer needs.
“The Samsung Enterprise and Datacenter SSD roadmap meets the infrastructure demands that Dropbox requires to deliver high performance in both the hot and cold tiers. That’s why we’re planning on deploying Samsung’s next-gen SSDs in our data centers in the future.”
In their shared quest to continually build better user experiences, Dropbox and Samsung both devote countless hours to enable efficient cloud infrastructure breakthroughs.
Donovan Hwang, Senior Director of Customer and Market Insights in Memory at Samsung Semiconductor, concurs. “Dropbox is a really exciting company to partner with, in part because of the constantly evolving, innovative nature of their engineering teams. They keep searching for opportunities to increase rack densities and optimize TCO, while maintaining or improving flexibility as they scale.”
“Samsung has a similar goal, at a different level—finding new ways to create the fastest, densest, most reliable memory in the industry, so innovators like Dropbox have the power they need to do amazing things.”
Case study prepared in collaboration with Siddharth Anand, Senior Commodity Manager at Dropbox.
Dropbox still employs AWS storage and compute power for a variety of projects, including their overseas storage.
Typically no greater than 10Mbps, as opposed to 100Mbps for a PMR drive.
The staging layer is a bit like the waiting area by an airport gate. Eventually, all the passengers (data) will be on (written to) the plane (SMR disk), but there’s going to be a backed up line until everyone is finally recorded (sitting) in the correct block (seat).