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Kove

Formed in 2004, Kove is a pioneering leader in high performance storage. Kove provides patented, core technology components to solve the most challenging storage and data management needs.
.... Kove logo - click for profile


see also:- Kove - editor mentions on StorageSearch.com and Kove's blog - why use dram?


where do ultrafast RAM SSDs and companies like Kove fit in the market today?

Editor:- July 22, 2015 - it's been a few years since I last turned my attention to Kove.

The previous occasion - which I didn't write about on StorageSearch.com - was when I was trying to puzzle out for myself what the future technical directions might be for an SDS RAM SSD company - like Kove - in an SSD ecosystem which had the possibilities of fast flash DIMMs - in particular the memory channel SSD type - unveiled by Diablo in 2013.

We now know that the first generation MCS SSDs were only a little faster than the fastest PCIe SSDs - so we'll have to wait for the 2nd generation products (which were promised for 2015) to see if the they really deliver a usable and scalable sub microsecond array level latency.

My guess in 2013 was that while RAM SSDs could simply scale up in capacity - the unreliability of worst case access times due to cache misses in the MCS bridge chips would mean that the key benefit of RAM SSDs - uncompromized and guaranteed symmetric latency couldn't be achieved - and therefore in Kove's key application areas - this type of flash technology would not offer a worthwhile design change.

But markets change. And recently a reader asked what I thought about ultrafast RAM SSDs and companies like Kove in mid 2015?

Here's what I said.

Kove’s product served a narrowly defined but once common need in the enterprise market...

To provide a low latency FC connected storage box which could be shared by many servers in a business environment in which shaving 5 to 10 microseconds off the latency in a consistent fashion while maintaining simple old fashioned legacy apps and software – was a sound business objective.

Examples being infrastructure in trading markets, exchanges etc.

Kove’s solution was in effect an SDS configured with lots of RAM and reliable server hardware and with software which emulated this function reliably.

They weren’t the first to offer such a RAM SSD approach and as we’ve seen in the flash market – there are countless software companies providing similar functionality – but at higher latency.

This market space (for ultra fast rackmount SSDs) is changing in several ways.

1 – other ways of sharing remote memory at low latency – such as A3cube - whose provides a low latency fabric across tens or hundreds of servers using a PCIe connected shared memory with a low latency controller. With a small amount of software adaptation it can encompass any legacy software app.

2 – arrays of servers. The SDS market and SSD software market now enable the memory reach of any single server to be larger – while using a mix of RAM, hybrid DIMMs and flash. These hyper converged systems will replace some of the legacy ways of solving shared memory problems.

3 – memory channel SSDs. The next generation of MCS from Diablo – with new software – will also enable each server to have a much larger memory model with nearly DRAM latency but flash like capacity. This doesn’t solve the problem of sharing data between servers. And also introduces the concept of longer response times if data is not in the right cache. So some kind of fabric or SAN (FC or IB or 10GbE or PCIe will still be needed.)

The role for a low latency FC connected SDS box which looks like a RAM SSD – such as the Kove box will continue. But users will require bigger capacities and there are other architectural ways to solve similar problems. Products like A3cube’s shared memory connected via PCIe will become a bigger part of this solution space. But there aren’t enough systems deployed to enable safe modeling of the worst case response times (yet).

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Who's who in SSD? - by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - November 28, 2011

Here's the short of it

Kove (a top 20 SSD company) markets the fastest rackmount SSD appliance available in a 4U form factor. If you're researching products in this performance category you should also take a look at Texas Memory Systems, Violin Memory and Fusion-io.

Here's the long version

Kove is 1 of 15 companies in the fastest SSDs list, and 1 of about 20 companies listed in the RAM SSDs directory and it's also in the top 20 SSD companies list. Kove is also listed in these guides too:- FC SAN SSDs and InfiniBand storage and SSDs.

There's a growing realization in the enterprise market that RAM SSDs will be a permanent part of the SSD toolkit in high transaction volume datacenters which have any kind of traditional hierarchical data architecture. And the only reason for buying them is to solve problems which flash SSDs create or can't solve technically because of RAM's superior latency, bandwidth, truly symmetric IOPS, better reliability (and sometimes lower floor price).

Kove's Xpress Disk embodies how fast you can go in an FC SAN / IB connected RAM storage appliance - with 8 microsends latency and nearly 30 gigabytes / s bandwidth.

Who can afford this?

Most of you can't.

But if you're in the financial services industry and want an edge on competitors delivering real-time market data - this is the type of product you can't afford not to look at. Especially as it was recently (Oct 2011) shown to be 12x faster than the previous fastest storage system when performing a Market Snapshot benchmark.

I currently talk to more than 300 makers of SSDs and another 100 or so companies which are closely enmeshed around the SSD ecosphere - which are all profiled here on the mouse site.

I learn about new SSD companies every day, including many in stealth mode. If you're interested in the growing big picture of the SSD market canvass - StorageSearch will help you along the way. Many SSD company CEOs read our site too - and say they value our thought leading SSD content - even when we say something that's not always comfortable to hear. I hope you'll find it it useful too.
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Kove mentions in SSD market history

In November 2010 - Kove demonstrated a 4U InfiniBand & FC compatible RAM SSD product line called Xpress Disk - which can sustain 20GB/s throughput via 6x InfiniBand ports.

In June 2011 - Kove announced that its XPD2 4U 2TB RAM SSD had achieved the following performance:- 11.7 Million IOPS in a single addressable space, 28.5GB/s bandwidth, along with round trip latency of 6 microseconds for read and 8 microseconds for writes.

"The next generation Kove Xpress Memory Disk is a continuation of our leadership in high performance storage for those customers who need the absolute fastest storage system available," states John Overton, Kove CEO. "The XPD2 connects directly to storage fabrics via standard Fibre Channel and InfiniBand interconnects, while increasing performance density way beyond any other similar storage alternatives."

In October 2011 - Kove's XPD2 was 12x faster than the previous fastest system - in the Market Snapshot benchmark audited by STAC.

In May 2012 - Kove published some new record latency numbers for its fast RAM SSD - the XPD L2 - which has achieved continuous and sustained 5 microsecond random storage read and write when connected via 40Gb/s InfiniBand adapters from Mellanox .

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"Bottlenecks in the pure SSD datacenter will be much more serious than in the HDD world - because responding slowly will be equivalent to transaction failure."
Editor:- from an article about SSD bottlenecks.
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sharpen your SSD R/W grid latency to 5µS
Editor:- May 9, 2012 - Kove has published some new record latency numbers for its fast RAM SSD - the XPD L2 - which has achieved continuous and sustained 5 microsecond random storage read and write when connected via 40Gb/s InfiniBand adapters from Mellanox .

Kove's system has good R/W symmetry which the company says - is not subject to periodic performance jitter or "periodicity". Even under constantly changing disk utilization, it delivers uniform, predictable, and deterministic performance.

"The Kove XPD L2... allows high performance applications to use storage as a weapon rather than accept it as a handicap," said Kove's CEO, John Overton. "We are pleased to set a new bar height for storage latency."
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SSD ad - click for more info
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"In February 2003 - 2 competing SSD companies:- Texas Memory Systems and Imperial Technology simultaneously announced the world's first terabyte class SSD systems. The Tera-RamSan, from TMS, provided 2 million IOPS, a 1024 gigabyte capacity, and 128 2-Gbit Fibre Channel links. It required 2 racks and 5 kilowatts."
...from:- SSD Market History
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now consider this...

90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive.
AFA market consolidation - why? how? when?

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