Fusion-io

CEO Change at Fusion-io

Fusion-io SkullOn May 9 Objective Analysis sent an Alert to our clients discussing the prior day’s CEO change at Fusion-io.

In a nutshell, co-founders David Flynn (CEO) and Rick White (Chief Marketing Officer) have left the firm, with Flynn being replaced by board member Shane Robison, HP’s former Chief Strategy Officer, who helped put together HP’s acquisition of Autonomy.

Here are some of the Continue reading

Violin Bets on Both Sides

Where do SSDs FitViolin Memory today made some important announcements.  The company has introduced a new line of one-hop PCIe SSDs, and Toshiba will be carrying these as its own products.  This creates a tighter link between the two companies: Toshiba is already an investor in Violin, and Toshiba Japan already sells Violin’s memory arrays in Japan.

The new PCIe SSDs are based on Violin’s high-performance NAND management technology, and Violin claims that they offer a higher performance/price point that is available from any other PCIe SSD vendor. This is a key point because PCIe SSD performance varies across a very broad range.

But why does The SSD Guy say that Violin’s betting on both sides?  Ever since discrete SSDs started to find their way into the data center there has been a heated debate: Do SSDs belong on the server side of the network or as shared storage?  In a virtualized configuration all storage is shared to allow a task to easily move from one server to the next.  In an HDD-based system this makes a lot of sense, since an HDD’s latency is significantly larger than that of the network.  With SSDs that equation changes – the SSD’s latency is significantly lower than that of the network.  The network dramatically reduces the performance of the SSD, so it makes more sense to move that part of the storage into the server, but this breaks the “Shared Storage” model.

This post’s graphic comes from a slide that I have shown repeatedly explaining that it’s wrong to take sides in this argument.  Eventually solid state storage will find its way into both sides of the network.  In the server it serves as an alternative to large DRAMs, and if it is managed as memory and not as storage, then there will never be any data consistency problems.  Of course, most caching solutions also help in this regard, allowing server-side flash to be managed as persistent storage.  On the other side of the network flash as shared storage also makes a lot of sense since it accelerates access to shared storage, which is the basis for all virtualized systems.

Violin has taken this argument to heart, betting on flash adoption on both sides of the network, and is the first flash storage array start-up to do so.  It will now only be a matter of time before others fall in line.

Objective Analysis covers the enterprise SSD market very closely, issuing reports like our well-regarded annual update covering the enterprise SSD market: The Enterprise SSD: Technologies & Markets.  We also perform custom consulting in this area.  Clients who wish to engage with us are welcome to drop The SSD Guy a line.

 

How Controllers Maximize SSD Life – Feedback on Block Wear

Tempus FugitOne way that SSD controllers maximize the life of an SSD is to use feedback on the life of flash blocks to determine how wear has impacted them.  Although this used to be very uncommon, it is now being incorporated into a number of controllers.

Here’s what this is all about: Everybody knows that endurance specifications tell how much life there is in a block, right?  For SLC it is typically 100,000 erase/write cycles, and for MLC it can be as high as 10,000 cycles (for older processes) but goes down to 5,000 or even 3,000 for newer processes.  TLC endurance can be in the hundreds of cycles.  Now the question is: “What happens after that?”

In most cases individual bits start to Continue reading

Apple’s Fusion Drive – An SSD Cache for the Macintosh

Apple's Chart of Fusion Drive Performance for the new Mac MiniOn October 23 along with the highly-anticipated announcement of the iPad 4, Apple rolled out new Macintosh computers that for the first time in an Apple product pairs an SSD with a conventional HDD to get the best combination of capacity, speed, and price.  The company calls this its Fusion Drive, not to be confused with Fusion-io’s highly-regarded products.

The SSD Guy did not attend the announcement, and there is little on the Apple website.  I contacted Apple, and they don’t have very much detail to share at this time.  This is important to note, since Continue reading

Intel Jumps Into the PCIe SSD Market

Intel's 910 PCIe SSDIntel has gotten into the fast-growing and lucrative market for PCIe SSDs.  The company has announced a PCIe SSD, the 910, that provides the high performance you would expect of a PCIe drive with the quality guarantees that customers expect of Intel.

Who could blame them?  Fusion-io has become a Wall Street darling for creating the PCIe SSD market, and still rides it to continually growing revenues.  LSI is fascinated by the growth of its Warp Drive.  Micron attained a significant design win at EMC, Texas Memory Systems (TMS) has had success in its own narrow markets, and Virident, OCZ, and STEC have also participated in the PCIe SSD’s market growth.

Intel’s 910 consists of four Hitachi SAS SSD Continue reading

Fusion-io’s Billion IOPS Monster

Meter Showing Fusion-io's Billion IOPS PerformanceLast night (1/5/12) at a DEMO Enterprise event in San Francisco Fusion-io unveiled a one billion IOPS (I/Os per second) storage system.  A billion IOPS!

The machine was built using 64 Fusion-io ioDrive2 Duos connected to eight HP ProLiant DL370 servers.

This came sooner than we anticipated.  It was only in July 2008 that the million-IOPS barrier was broken by IBM using 41 Fusion-io devices.

Continue reading

SSD Presence Growing at Oracle OpenWorld

At Oracle’s October OpenWorld conference in San Francisco more exhibit hall space was dedicated to SSDs this year than  ever before.  That’s because Oracle runs faster on systems with SSDs than on systems without.

Even Oracle ships SSDs in its popular Exadata system, and the company recently announced that it had shipped over 1,000 installations since its introduction in 2009. Continue reading

Contact

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

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