Violin & Microsoft Take a New Approach to Scaling

Violin all-flash arrays with embedded Microft softwareViolin Memory and Microsoft have jointly announced a novel way of harnessing the power of Windows Server software.  Violin will be shipping its memory arrays with a special version of Windows Server 2012 R2 pre-installed on the embedded server that manages the internal operations of Violin’s all-flash array.

Violin explains that native support of specially-optimized versions of Windows Server and System Center that have been tuned for an all-memory array will provide improved performance and economics for large-scale enterprise cloud deployments.

The system can internally run Continue reading

Solving SSD Power Spike Issues

The following guest post was contributed by Doug Dumitru the CTO of Easy Computing Company (EasyCo), a software R&D company which develops and markets SSD performance enhancement solutions

Doug Dumitru, EasyCoIt would appear that you could build an all-SSD array by simply replacing all of the HDDs in a cabinet with SSDs.  I tried that and ran into some surprising issues that were very confusing at first.

SSD spec sheets, might lead you to believe that power is just not an issue.  For example, Samsung lists the power use for a 512GB 830 SSD at 0.127W (typical) for “Active Power Use”.  This implies very low demands on the system power supply.

If you do some more research, you find that the peak power usage is a lot higher.  AnandTech, in a review article reports sequential write power draw at 5.14W and random write power draw at 5.8W. In that 2.5” SSDs use the 5V power rail exclusively, this is more than Continue reading

SanDisk Turns 25

SanDisk Market Open 27Aug13Today SanDisk announced that the company is now 25 years old and celebrated the fact by ringing the NASDAQ opening bell.

It’s intriguing to The SSD Guy that the company has reached 25 years, and has reached annual revenues of about $6 billion dollars, yet one of the founders is still the CEO.  Sanjay Mehrotra has been leading the company since the retirement of co-founder Eli Harari, and has Continue reading

IBM Adds Server-Side Caching

IBM's FlashCache Server-Side Caching SoftwareIBM today announced its FlashCache Storage Accelerator, a software product that supports flash caching in a broad range of systems.  FlashCache operates over three families of IBM servers (System x, BladeCenter and Flex System) and a variety of flash types to accelerate any back-end storage, including non-IBM storage arrays.

Although the cache’s data is dynamically updated to match the random workloads of virtualized systems (i.e. to accelerate VMware), it also improves the performance of Windows and Linux environments.

The cache uses a Write Through policy to solve a number of Continue reading

A New Way to Use SSDs

Micron's View of Computing - Speaker is the CPU, Audience is StorageIn his Flash Memory Summit keynote on Wednesday, Micron VP and Chief Memory Systems Architect Ed Doller made a compelling demonstration of the power and performance advantages of a new approach to computing.

With true showmanship, Doller had his co-workers hand out buttons with LED lights to the entire audience.  The LEDs in these buttons were either green or blue, with the colors randomly dispersed among the crowd.  Doller asked the entire audience to turn on their lights, then called one row of the audience to file up to the stage so he could determine whether each person’s button was blue or green.

He pointed out that this was like having a single CPU check the contents of a drive.  He then asked why things should work this way – wouldn’t it be more sensible to Continue reading

Skyera Launches 500TB 1U Flash Box

Skyera skyEagleSkyera, a flash appliance start-up, has been working for some time to amaze would-be flash users.  The company takes advantage of the most advanced flash processes and non-SSD formats to squeeze as much flash as possible into a 1U cabinet.

Not content with the 44TB maximum of its original 1U skyHawk product (based on 19/20nm NAND chips from Micron and Toshiba) the company, at the Flash Memory Summit, introduced its new product, skyEagle, a system that provides up to 500TB of storage in the same Continue reading

Violin Ups Capacity, Performance, and Economics

Violin 6264 Flash Storage ArrayViolin Memory has introduced the 6264 array, doubling the capacity of its earlier 6232 product from 32 terabutes (TB) to 64TB, while remaining in the same form factor.  The company has done this by migrating to 19nm MLC NAND flash from Toshiba.

Violin says that this move was made possible by the fact that the company’s arrays aren’t built using standard SSDs, and claims that this has caused Violin’s all flash array revenues to be significantly higher than those of any of its competitors.

With this product the company doubles its power efficiency, when measured in watts per gigabyte, and boosts its Continue reading

Nimbus Launches 4th Generation Flash Appliance

Nimbus Gemini Generation 4 Flash Storage ArrayNimbus has introduced its 4th generation Gemini flash array, which the company claims to be the first to use 1xnm NAND flash chips.  Along with this announcement Nimbus has reduced pricing by 35% and has increased performance from 2-4 times that of its earlier-generation products.

Using Nimbus’ HALO software the company says it can achieve a cost of $0.78 per usable gigabyte, or about 1/3rd the cost of a comparable hybrid storage array.

The Gemini array uses redundant Continue reading

White Paper: Using Flash as Memory

DRAM, Flash, and HDD HierarchyToday NAND flash is being shoehorned into HDD formats simply because it is persistent – the data doesn’t disappear when the lights go out.  This approach fails to take advantage of NAND’s greatest strength – its low cost relative to DRAM – and this prevents it from fully meeting the needs of most data centers.

Since 2004 NAND has been cheaper than DRAM, and today its price per gigabyte is an order of magnitude lower than that of DRAM.  NAND is cheaper and slower than DRAM, and HDD is cheaper and slower than NAND.

A role better suited to NAND flash technology is Continue reading

Diablo: Flash Belongs on the Bus

Diablo TechnologiesDiablo Technology has just introduced a new set of DIMMs that put flash memory right onto the DDR3 memory bus.

I can already hear readers saying: “Wait!  You can’t do that!”  Well, you’re right, but the new module comes awfully close to that by putting the NAND behind an ASIC that interfaces between the DDR3 bus and the NAND.

Why do this?  Quite simply because you can get more “Bang for the Buck” by adding NAND to the system once you’ve reached a certain DRAM size.  The Diablo “Memory Channel Storage” (MCS) approach supports the addition of terabytes of NAND at the loss of Continue reading

Contact

Jim Handy
Objective Analysis
SSD Market Research
+1 (408) 356-2549
Jim.Handy (at) Objective-Analysis.com

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