SandForce: The Cloud needs Different SSDs

SandForceOn Monday December 13 SandForce introduced SSD controllers designed specifically for cloud computing applications.

You might wonder what is so different about cloud applications that they need an SSD controller of their own.  SandForce makes some interesting points:

  1. Cloud applications need low latency
  2. Cloud computing centers, like client SSDs, need a lot of capacity at a very low price
  3. The read/write ratio in cloud applications is more balanced than it is in client applications, and bears a stronger resemblance to the enterprise
  4. Cloud computing centers need higher reliability than client computing applications, so they require good wear specifications and SMART reporting, like the enterprise
  5. Cloud data centers are designed to maintain power in all circumstances.  This application is less sensitive to power loss than is the enterprise
  6. Despite the well-controlled power anything that can be done to reduce power dissipation is welcome

Clearly the cloud needs set is different from either the enterprise or the client.  It seems to fit somewhere in between.  SandForce’s new controller is designed to fill that gap.  The SF2481 has been configured to manage MLC flash wear efficiently in a balanced read/write environment with much stronger error correction than is used in client SSDs while providing low latency and SMART monitoring, but has omitted support for backup power in the event of a power failure.

Objective Analysis has mentioned in the past that SSD controllers will become more diverse as SSDs grow in popularity.  This new controller is a shining example of that.

Although we don’t yet have a report covering cloud applications, interested readers can get the next best thing by purchasing our report: The Enterprise SSD: Technologies & Markets, which is available for immediate download.


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