click to visit StorageSearch.com home page
leading the way to the new storage frontier .....
pcie  SSDs - click to read article
PCIe SSDs ..
Rackmount SSDs click for news and directory
rackmount SSDs ..
SSD processors
CPUs in SSDs ..
image shows software factory - click to see storage software directory
SSD software ....
SSD news
SSD news ..
.....
Mangstor logo

Mangstor

Founded in March 2012 and heaqdquartered in Austin, TX - Mangstor designs PCIe SSD accelerators for web-scale and large enterprise data centers to provide high-performance, low-latency storage solutions that accelerate application workloads and data storage operations running on traditional and virtualized servers.

See also:- Mangstor - mentions on StorageSearch.com, Mangstor's news page

If you're interested in Mangstor you may also be interested in Excelero, PCIe SSDs and rackmount SSDs.


Can a company with less employees than cores in its SSD controller be significant for the market?

Yes - here's why I rate Mangstor as a future Top SSD Company


by Zsolt Kerekes. editor - StorageSearch.com - September 16, 2015

This month I had a long anticipated 90 minutes conversation with Trevor Smith CEO and co-founder of Mangstor .

Trevor reminded me that we had spoken about the enterprise market over 20 years earlier - when his company Ross Technology was marketing a competitive and faster multi-core alternative to Sun's 32 bit SuperSPARC processor and when I was publishing the industry's buyer's guide called the SPARC Product Directory.

In the intervening period Trevor was VP Engineering at ServerEngines - which among other things in 2005 was one of many companies working on to iSCSI and TCP/IP offload protocol engines and which in 2010 was acquired by Emulex for its FCoE technology.

That background is useful because if you want to understand the essential strength of Mangstor - it helps to understand that when they decided to get into the enterprise SSD market - and take advantage of the opportunities which would emerge from standardization of software stacks around NVMe then 2 of the things which would have deterred less ambitious startups:-
  • writing the code for ultra low latency NVMe over GbE and InfiniBand
are just some of the things they took in their stride without making too much of a fuss about it.

Trevor told me he knew from his readings around the SSD market (which included this site) that one of the keys to low jitter performane was having lots of parallel operations aimed at the flash. In their initial design they found a convenient 100 core 500MHz processor which was being used for drone and military applications - but the current processor design is their own IP.

Likewise when they were looking for a way to run RDMA over NVMe fabrics - they thought they would be able to use some standard code off the shelf. But as longtimers in the enterprise connection market - they weren't deterred by writing their own. It works best with Mellanox adapters - which they chose because Trevor said they have the smallest buffer sizes which guarantees the best latency.

How to quickly summarize Mangstor?

Trevor said the company - which had a headcount of 41 employees when we spoke - and has received $15 million in 2 rounds of funding - sees itself as being at the high end of the spectrum for NVMe PCIe SSD and rackmount flash SSD performance.

There are some interesting comparisons which can be made with previous companies which have dominated the lists of fastest SSDs.

But the key thing today is that most of the companies which used to have leading edge products in this market space (fastest PCIe SSDs and fastest flash SSD boxes) have been acquired - and (for other reasons too) have lost their performance edginess - which has left a space in the market for a newcomer like Mangstor - which can introduce new product iterations at an impressive pace.

One of the reasons is their big controller architecture - 100 core CPU architectural thinking. (Trevor said only about 70 are currently used.)

Where are they heading?

From a flash perspective Trevor told me Mangstor is already on its 2nd memory supplier. The switch was necessitated by market supply problems. But apparently Mangstor had their design up and running with a new supplier - in just a few weeks. Mangstor currently uses eMLC and a high rate of overprovisioning.

Having played an active part in the enterprise processor and network commincations markets for over 2 decades - Trevor has been pro-active in the areas of compatibility testing and benchmarking.

Mangstor has even supplied evaluation products to companies which - if I named them - are more likely to be competitors than customers.

The reality is that no other company is taking the same approach - and so no other company can match their performance metrics.

It's likely that in a few years time - others will see the advantages to be had from such a flexible no-compromize, end to end latency oriented architecture.

But by then Mangstor will either have found a use for those 30% of spare processor cores, or will be using more. Or maybe turning up the clock speed and the number of lanes too.

On an NDA basis I've seen some impressive competitive benchmarks - and even more impressive - a low box to box latency which is delivered by their NVMe over GbE - which is almost unbelievable and which will enable the viability of new applications which until now have required risky new technologies like top of rack PCIe fabrics - from PLX and A3CUBE.

What's the catch?

The world's fastest PCIe flash SSDs are pricey. And the world's fastest NVMe AFA boxes are too.

For the right customers they offer cleaner and easier to deploy solutions than any of the alternatives and from a system perspective they can be cheaper too.

But like all new startups - the reliability of Mangstor's new SSDs are unproven.

And although their inherent low latency will enable simple HA schemes to be developed - without much loss of performance - these aren't part of the proven solution set yet. That may take another few years to sort out.

In August 2015 - Mangstor was awarded Best of Show for "Most Innovative Flash Technology" during the Flash Memory Summit. The Award recognized Mangstor's NX-Series 2U fast rackmount SSD which supports NVMe over Ethernet and InfiniBand fabrics packaged through an RDMA cluster scale-out architecture.


editor's comments:- June 2015 - Much has changed re information from Mangstor in the 4 months since my earlier notes about the company.

With a datasheet of the company's product now visible we can see the essential features of their MX6300 PCIe SSD cards are as follows:-
  • form factor - FHHL
  • type of flash - eMLC - capacity upto 2.7TB
  • connectivity - PCIe Gen3 x8 (8GT/s)
  • random R/W IOPS (70/30) - 700K IOPS (4KB)
  • endurance - 7 DWPD
  • R/W latency (4KB block) is 90 / 15 µS
  • power consumption is 45W at 70/30 R/W
Unusual and noteworthy characteristics of this product are:-
  • Its controller includes a 100 core CPU.
  • And - as predictable from an announcement in August 2014 by one of its memory suppliers - Everspin - Mangstor's SSD doesn't require supercaps for power loss protection as it uses ST-MRAM as its random on board cache.
Mangstor also markets an InfiniBand attached storage array - the NMX6320 - which can be used as a convenient box for large scale deployments of its raw NVMe SSD technology.

In a press release (May 2015) Mangstor provided more details.

The arrays are based on Mangstor's Software Configurable MX6300-Series SSDs in combination with Mangstor's TITAN storage stack. NVMe over RDMA read and write access to the array provides servers with data at nearly identical latencies as if they were accessing local PCIe SSDs. This allows compute clusters to realize the low latency application benefits of PCIe SSDs without having to put an SSD in every server. Typical configurations deliver millions of IOPS and throughput starting at 14GB/S, with near linear scaling as arrays grow.

The idea of using PCIe SSDs as the internal flash blocks inside fast SSD boxes isn't new. Earlier pioneers in this technical approach were:- NextIO, Dolphin, Fusion-io and Virident (the latter as a reference architecture rather than a product). But those earlier boxes were either delivering a fast PCIe connected storage box (with a proprietary software interface) or legacy SAN FC SAN or IB connectivity. Mangstor's products hope to leverage the software standardization of NVMe to reach a new market which traditional styles of fault tolerance but coupled with a new type of SSDcentric software stack.

Many vendors are working on this concept.

For an architecture perspective see also:- NVM Express Over Fabrics (pdf) by Intel (March 2015).


who's who in SSD? - Mangstor

by Zsolt Kerekes. editor - StorageSearch.com - February 2015

Although they had made an announcement about Everspin's ST-MRAM in the lead up to the 2014 Flash Memory Summit - I somehow missed that one. So Mangstor is a new - to me - SSD company.

Mangstor contacted me recently because Trevor Smith, Mangstor's CEO had been discussing the SSD market with some colleagues and StorageSearch.com and my name came up. Is this the same Zsolt Kerekes who published the SPARC Product Directory? Yes it is.

I had collaborated with Trevor Smith's company ROSS Technology in the early 1990s when ROSS was developing the market for its independently designed 32 bit SPARC processor chip - called hyperSPARC. Trevor Smith was VP of Engineering at ROSS at the time.

So when I first looked at the Mangstor's web site in early February 2015 - in response to that "blast from the past" email it's not surprising I got the impression that CPU cores, controllers and application performance seemed to be at the heart of what the company was working on - but otherwise it still lacked detail and had the air of a company still partly in stealth.

I'll be learning more soon and will publish an update when Mangstor is ready to say more.

I'd say it's worth keeping Mangstor on your watchlist if low latency PCIe SSDs are in your zone of interest.
.
after AFAs - what's next?
11 Key Symmetries in SSD design
Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing
Decloaking hidden and missing segments for enterprise flash
90% of enterprise SSD companies have no good reasons to survive
..
..

storage search banner

..
Mangstor and the Top SSD Companies

1st time in the list:- Q3 2016

recently:- #22 in Q1 2017
....
SSD ad - click for more info

..
what were the big SSD ideas which emerged in 2016?
"From Mangstor's perspective, we are heavily invested in NVMe over Fabric (NVMf) technology for which our NX-Series Storage Arrays are based.

With the ratification of the NVMf specification this past June, flash devices such as SSDs and storage arrays can now communicate over RDMA networks (such as RoCE or InfiniBand), delivering the same high performance, low latency benefits as local attached NVMe.

Storage arrays based on NVMf, such as our award-winning NX6320, avoid the lower level SCSI transport layer, which results in faster data throughput and accelerated data access making NVMf solutions ideal for compute-intensive HPC and database applications."

Scott Harlin, Director of MarComms - Mangstor
..
Mangstor gets another $5 million funding
Editor:- July 15, 2016 - Mangstor has raised another $5 million in funding according to a report in the Austin Business Journal.
..
SSD ad - click for more info
..
Mangstor gets $10 million series B funding
for fastest NVMe flash SSDs
Editor:- September 17, 2015 - Mangstor today announced it has closed $10 million in Series B funding which will be used to fuel growth in sales and engineering and business development.

image shows mouse at the one armed bandit - click to see VC funds in storage
VCs in SSDs
"This investment confirms our leadership in NVMe over fabrics technology which delivers an order of magnitude higher performance at the lowest latency verses legacy iSCSI and Fiber Channel" said Trevor Smith CEO and co-founder of Mangstor.



..
now consider this...

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



..
New segmentation models are needed because the enterprise SSD market is moving into uncharted territories and use cases where a considerable proportion of the customer needs which affect buying behavior are still formally unrecognized as being significant (in market research data).
Decloaking hidden and missing segments in the analysis and identification of market opportunities for enterprise rackmount flash



..

here below - for comparison are 2 latency metrics from Mangstor plotted for a single SSD with different queue depths

Mangstor latency local SSD

..
Mangstor latency - in remote box

at first glance - they look almost the same

and you think - so what?

then you realize that the lower graph is NVMe over fabric

that was my - Aha! moment





..
how many processors are used in real SSDs?
aspects of SSD design



..
Competitive pressures from the market play a big a part in the DWPD numbers you see being published in the enterprise. It's a fashion statement tied in closely to design wins.
endurance in industry leading enterprise SSDs