hard drives in SSD context
the SSD Bookmarks -
were the big SSD ideas which emerged in 2016?
|HP values Nimble at >
$100K / customer|
Editor:- March 7, 2017 - HP today
it has agreed to acquire Nimble Storage for just
over $1 billion.
acquisitions since Y2K
meet the new future hybrid memory systems
January 24, 2017 - after AFAs what's the next box to be?
Cloud adapted memory systems -
is the answer suggested by a new blog on StorageSearch.com .
way to think about this new product type is as a hybrid - which can combine the
roles of big memory and SSD storage with ratios determined by a software
selector switch. ...read
U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs uses RAID Inc. in 5PB SDS
Editor:- December 7, 2016 - A customer news story from RAID Inc. -
of Veterans Affairs Selects RAID Inc. for Multi-Petabyte Microsoft Storage
- includes the useful ratio metric that "400TB of flash-accelerated
hot tier storage" were used to support 5PB of cold tier data in an
fault tolerant array which supports over 460,000 devices in more than 280
- mentions in StorageSearch.com
Elastifile gets patent for flash-aware adaptive cloud scale data
Editor:- November 3, 2016 - Elastifile today
it has been granted a US patent (No. 9,465,558) for a method of
flash-native, collaborative data storage when running on multiple interconnected
Elastifile's technology (which is integrated in software
solutions) is aimed at the hybrid cloud market.
technology enables efficient, distributed storage across full-mesh clustered
architectures in which all nodes interact with one another across multiple sites
and clouds, in complex or constantly varying network conditions, and/or at a
scale that may encompass thousands of diverse configurations.
of the greatest challenges for private and hybrid cloud data services has been
ensuring consistent performance for distributed data writing, especially due to
noisy and mixed environments," said Ezra Hoch, chief
architect at Elastifile. "Our patented approach adaptively and efficiently
manages how and where data is written, mitigating the constantly changing
conditionsat cloud scale."
does persistent memory pose new new security risks?
August 4, 2016 - 35 years ago I noticed something curious about RAM which
surprised me. But it wasn't important for my work at the time.
new blog on StorageSearch.com
remanence in persistent memory a new risk factor? - I link together some
ideas which pinged across my path 3 times in as many decades. But I think these
have more relevance now in the new context of emerging persistent memory
Infinidat has shipped over 400PB
Editor:- May 10,
2016 - Infinidat
today announced that in Q1 2016 shipments of its
enterprise storage array increased by 300% compared to the year ago period
and now amounts to 422 petabytes worldwide. One of Infinidat's Fortune 500
customers now has over 10PBs of InfiniBox storage spread across multiple
HP offers up front guarantees on usable capacity in flash hybrids
March 10, 2016 - Taking the guesswork out of the costs of flash array
was one of the new pricing trends I wrote about 2 years ago in my article -
the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing.
HP has aligned itself with
this trend in a
updates to its hybrid array family -
Among other things HP says - "The new HPE
Thinner Guarantee program offers a free, up-front workload assessment and a
written assurance of as much as 75% capacity savings that removes guesswork in
migrating from legacy storage onto all-flash HPE 3PAR arrays."
PrimaryIO ships applications aware FT caching
March 8, 2016 - PrimaryIO
its name from CacheBox in
the general availability of its Application Performance Acceleration V1.0 (SSD aware software) for
VMware vSphere 6.
PrimaryIO APA aggregates server-based flash storage
across vSphere clusters as a cluster-wide resource enabling all nodes in the
cluster to leverage the flash caching benefits even though a subset may already
have flash deployed (as in hybrid arrays). Using application awareness,
PrimaryIO APA caches critical, latency-sensitive application IOs in order to
boost overall application performance while enabling optimal utilization of data
center server and networking resources.
Editor's comments:- in
brief (pdf) about their technology - PrimaryIO describes how they use
application awareness to intercept data request streams based on its "relative
value and ability to accelerate workload performance."
says this is more efficient
in its use of flash than traditional approaches and can get good
with a smaller amount of installed SSD capacity than other methods which don't
discriminate so accurately.
Tegile trims fat in Europe
Editor:- February 8,
2016 - Tegile's
headcount and costs in Europe were disproportionately high compared to
revenue - according to a story in SiliconANGLE
slashes global headcount in pre-IPO cost cutting - which discusses layoffs
by the company to improve its business efficiency.
Avere bridges NASA to the cloud
19, 2016 - NASA has selected Avere Systems to
help consolidate legacy storage and migrate research datasets created at the
Ames Research Center
over to the Amazon's
AWS - it was
today. Avere says that cloud related latencies will be mitigated by its
FlashCloud (SSD ASAP) architecture.
Dell buys EMC
Editor:- October 13, 2015 - Dell has
it has agreed to acquire EMC
for approximately $67 billion. ..read more in archived
Nimble's sales growth via US distribution wins "Rising Star"
Editor:- September 28, 2015 - Nimble Storage was
recognized for its outstanding sales growth through US distribution channels -
today by the NPD Group whose sales
tracker research formed the basis of "Rising Star" awards presented
at a recent Global Technology Distribution
Dot Hill acquisition could reposition Seagate as one of the
leading standard platforms in the highly competitive legacy enterprise
hybrid storage appliance market
Editor:- August 18, 2015 - Seagate today
it will acquire Dot
Hill Systems in an all-cash transaction valued at $9.75 per share, or a
total of approximately $694 million.
Editor's comments:- this
is a good strategic move for Seagate which now secures an enterprise market
proven hybrid storage caching and tiering technology which can be used as a
framework for hybrid
appliances and cloud
The enterprise software stack and patent IP assets
from Dot Hill will enable Seagate to credibly position its SSD caching
technologies as second to none in mid range traditional
Dot Hill's marketing had been foundering
around for a few years and the company was seemingly unable to get the kind of
market attention it would have got if it were offering the same technology as a
startup. Part of the problem was that - as an old time company from the
dotcom era -
which had relied on 3rd party companies oeming its products - Dot Hill had
neglected to develop the same kind of marketing charisma and brand identity as
many of the newer companies which it has been competing with.
part of Seagate - Dot Hill 's caching technology could become a viable
alternative platform for integrators who want to compete with newer vendors
NexGen and hybrids from
older vendors like HP and
NexGen decouples from Fusion-io accelerator juice with NVMe
Editor:- June 30, 2015 - As previously signaled - NexGen Storage has
decoupled itself from relying on SanDisk's PCIe SSD
product line in its hybrid storage arrays with the
today that it has introduced NVMe readiness as an update in its software
services. This paves the way for expanding the systems product line with a
wider range of
3rd party internal SSD accelerators having different
what does Tegile's customer survey tell us?
June 25, 2015 - A
published survey conducted among customers of Tegile reveals some
interesting insights into the demographics of Tegile's business but also - just
as interesting - provides a spectrum of weighted answers about why people bought
enterprise flash arrays and the perceived benefits.
Among the many
results - the most interesting for me were:-
- "36% plan to use their Tegile storage to accelerate the
development of new products and services. Customers can create read/write clones
of production databases. This enables them to get new applications into
production faster without consuming a lot of storage space."
comments:- that's a classic enterprise SSD advantage related to a pain point
which I was discussing with users over 10 years ago.
don't have the performance freedom which SSDs deliver - but who struggle even
to keep their legacy platforms running sluggishly - know there must be better
things they can do with their raw business intelligence - but are too scared to
interact with the production data. And designing new systems based on sampling -
doesn't give the full picture.
survey findings which I've commented on above - probably apply to any
leading AFA vendor and not just Tegile.
- Tegile says "51% of customers expect to see an ROI in 12
months or less."
Editor's comments:- that's confirmation of
something I said in my article -
year of the enterprise
"what's driving this confidence is that their
customers have done the pilots- they've done the product tweaks - the biggest
customers have finished their cautious rollouts - and they're coming back asking
for more than more. The user mood is changing from - can I afford to use SSDs?
- to a realization that - I can't afford not to use SSDs." (October 2011)
Tegile's survey confirms is that the same advantages which were first
experienced by early adopters do indeed trickle down and deliver similar
impacts to mainstream users (if the products are
a way which is attractive enough to tempt new customers to experiment.
Here are some interesting
results which are specific to Tegile's business.
- Re the importance of offering "unified" connectivity (FC+IP) - "over
half (53%) were using more than one storage protocol with their Tegile
Editor's comments:- that's a higher proportion than I had
assumed. Which also is consistent with the broad spectrum of traditional storage
suppliers that Tegile has been displacing (another aspect shown in the survey).
the article - Why do people use Tegile Flash Storage?
- Re customer satisfaction? - 92% of responders said that they'd
Editor's comments:- that's a good story for a company
whose business model has been so reliant on
external funding to
sustain its growth.
But how sticky is brand loyalty in the enterprise
flash market? Especially when we're entering a period where I predict that over
of enterprise SSD brands will disappear?
Let's just say that high
customer satisfaction is an excellent achievement but that a customer who has
switched once because they saw a good reason to do so - is a customer who could
easily switch again. While Tegile has some sticky service and software
solutions in its product delivery - don't be beguiled by statements like the
above - if and when you consider the IPO.
And - on the
of extrapolating inferences from surveys - 96 users - the customers who
took part in the survey - aren't the whole market.
Coho adds all flash SSD nodes to its hybrid population mix
Editor:- May 20, 2015 - Coho
it has closed $30 million in Series C funding, bringing its total funding to
nearly $67 million.
The round was led by March Capital Partners, with
additional participation from HP Ventures and Intel Capital as well as existing
investors Andreessen Horowitz and Ignition Partners.
Coho Data also
announced the general availability of its first all-flash storage node, the
2000f a 2U server based system which uses
2.5" NVMe SSDs
and conventional SATA
Coho says that using a judicious mix of its variously
(which includes micro-tiered
hybrid systems as
well as the new pure SSD nodes) "empowera customers to efficiently support
any application at any scale, all from a "single pane of glass"
management interface, and all at less than $0.10/GB usable per month."
|NetApp has stopped suing
Editor:- March 31, 2015 - Nimble Storage
it recently entered into a written settlement agreement with NetApp re alledged
misuse of trade secrets etc dating back to
The terms of the settlement are confidential and are not material to Nimble's
SanDisk spins off NexGen
Editor:- January 8, 2015 -
clarified that "Hybrid systems incorporating hard-disk drives are not part
of SanDisk's strategic focus."
This strategy direction statement
by Sumit Sadana,
executive VP and chief strategy officer, SanDisk was part of an
today that SanDisk has completed the spin-out of Fusion-io's
ioControl (hybrid SSD systems) business as a separate company called NexGen Storage.
has agreed to be a supplier of
PCIe flash storage
technology to NexGen but will not maintain an ownership interest.
will be led by John
Spiers who was co-founder and CEO of the original NexGen company before
by Fusion-io in April
2013 (for $119 million).
Editor's comments:- In
retrospect Fusion-io's acquisition of NexGen was a mistake.
didn't have enough cash or people resources to invest in bootstrapping 2
entirely new systems businesses (one in the fast SSD rackmount market, and the
other (based on NexGen) in the
hybrid SSD appliance
market) at a time when both markets were already becoming much more
Can NexGen succeed as a standalone company?
Hundreds of other companies are also competing in the hybrid market
- so you can ask them. Most likely NexGen will get acquired again.
|now ready - Enmotus's
Editor:- November 4, 2014 - Micro-tiering
within the server box - between the lowest possible latency persistent memory
flash backed DRAM
DIMMs from Viking),
then up a level to SATA
SSDs and finally to hard
drives - gives users materially different performance and cost
characteristics to merely caching between those devices when they are used in
a hybrid storage
That's the message behind the
about the general availability of the company's
server (SSD software)
for Windows and Linux - in which (unlike simple server based cache based
solutions) - FuzeDrive treats the SSD as primary storage and so "all
reads and writes to the hot data occur at full SSD speeds".
SSDs are becoming
in some cases" said Marshall
Lee, CTO and co-founder of Enmotus. "As a result, newer classes of
storage devices continue to appear that can take advantage of higher performance
busses inside servers, NVDIMMs
being a great example."
Samsung acquires Proximal
Editor:- November 3, 2014
announced today it has acquired Proximal Data.
comments:- Why did Samsung need to
SSD ASAP / caching
Samsung's earlier purchase -
NVELO (acquired in
December 2012) -
operated in the consumer
market - whereas Proximal's caching technology was designed to work with
enterprise PCIe SSDs -
a market in which Samsung is a relative newcomer - and in which Samsung
stood out from other leading
competitors in having no caching software it could call its own.
And the best buy SSDs shall be the worst (if you change your
Editor:- August 2, 2014 - An applications optimized
SSD system can be the cheapest buy - if you always use it for the original
purpose - but it can be a poor choice if you throw the wrong type of
applications at it. Enter - the good ole general purpose fast SSD array.
conflicts are examined in a new blog -
Flash Storage Systems multi-task! written by Woody Hutsell,
IBM who among
other things says - "It just so happens that flash appliances with
built-in deduplication are the worst choices for database acceleration."
The idea that an SSD which is best for one type
of use may have the worst characteristics for another - was also examined from
an architectural point of view in my classic article -
how fast can your
SSD run backwards?
say hello to CacheIO
Editor:- June 10, 2014 - CacheIO today
announced results of a
benchmark which is
described by their collaborator Orange
Silicon Valley (a telco) as - "One of the top tpm benchmark results
accelerating low cost iSCSI SATA storage."
CacheIO says that the 2
million tpm benchmark on CacheIO accelerated commodity servers and storage
shows that users can deploy its flash cache to accelerate their database
performance without replacing or disrupting their existing servers and storage.
Editor's comments:- The only reason I mention this otherwise
me-too sounding benchmark is because although I've known about CacheIO and
what they've been doing with various organizations in the broadcast and telco
markets for over a year - I didn't list them on StorageSearch.com before.
was partly because they didn't want me to name the customers they were working
with at that time - but also because with
SSD caching companies
becoming almost as numerous as tv stations on a satellite dish - I wanted to
wait and see if they would be worth a repeat viewing. (And now I think they
surge of interest in hybrid SSD arrays
2, 2014 - Hybrid SSD
arrays - which includes auto-tiering / caching and other SSD accelerated
pools of storage - became 1 of the top 3 product classifications viewed by
StorageSearch.com readers in May. (It's only taken 5 years to get this much
VMware enters the SSD ASAP market
March 6, 2014 -
With the launch of its
Virtual SAN - VMware has at last
joined the crowding SSD
software ecosystem as a lead SSD player rather than (as before) in a
subordinate role (as the
dancing partner - a bit like dancing with your uncle or aunt at the wedding
disco) which was the case before in
of acceleration compatibility stories narrated by other SSD companies.
version 1.0 is an SSD
ASAP (hybrid virtualizing appliance) - which supports 3-8 server nodes. The
company says that "support for more than 8 will come later." ...read the
Editor's comments:- first impressions? It's
late and doesn't look great (in features). But it will probably be deemed
adequate for many users starting down this road.
Before dismissing it
entirely (as some commentators and competitors have already done) let's
remember that when LSI
entered the SSD market in
January 2010 -
it was the "163rd company to enter the SSD market". And look
where they are now.
late to market doesn't count as a mortal sin in the SSD marketing lexicon
right now because
mover advantage (pdf) assumptions aren't valid in this phase of the
more comments re VSAN
customers who had the opportunity to participate in the VSAN beta told us that
in most cases, (our) Maxta MxSP performs better" - said competitor Yoram Novick,
founder Maxta in his blog
Storage the Devil is in the Details
proud of how the team has outperformed expectations. Today we're announcing GA
support for 32 nodes. That means that Virtual SAN can now scale from a
modest 3 node remote office, to a multi-petabyte, mega-IOPS monster just
by adding more server resources... and ...VSAN isn't bolted on, it's built in."
- says Ben Fathi,
VMware - in his blog -
SAN: Powerfully Simple and Simply Powerful
Coho Data now shipping 2U MicroArray hybrids
March 6, 2014 - Coho
general availability of its first product - a 2U SSD ASAP called the
(an SSDserver 4/E box) - which
integrates PCIe SSDs,
hard drives and a
server into a web scale expandable unit (using an internal 52 port 10GbE fabric
switch) to implement what the company refers to as a "MicroArray"
designed with the philosophy of
Tiering Upside Down (pdf)" to deliver a base building block unit of
Editor's comments:- you can judge the lofty
scale of Coho Data's
ambitions by this market
soothsayer quote which they integrated in the launch press release - ""By
2017, Web-scale IT will be an architectural approach found operating in 50% of
Global 2000 enterprises."
SSD empowered cloud,
SSD hybrid arrays,
the enterprise SSD
software event horizon
Atlantis enters SSD ASAP market
Editor:- February 11,
2014 - Atlantis
the new "In-Memory Storage Technology" release of its storage
virtualization software - called
Atlantis ILIO USX -
which can significantly increase enterprise utilization by enabling users to
deploy up to 5x more VMs on their existing storage. See also:-
USX faqs (pdf)
10,000 sites use DataCore
Editor:- December 16, 2013
that over 10,000 customer sites have used its software.
stance re enterprise
SSD architecture is that most users can (for the time being) resist the
siren calls of SSD makers towards
all flash enterprise
storage - because "only 5% of workloads require top tier performance.
And businesses have turned to
software to make sure applications are sharing flash and spinning disk,
based on the need to optimize performance and investment."
new blog by PernixData describes the intermediate states of play
for its HA clustered write acceleration SSD cache
November 5, 2013 - In a clustered,
SSD ASAP VM
environment which supports both read and write acceleration it's essential to
know the detailed policies of any products you're considering - to see if the
consequences - on data vulnerability and performance comply with strategies
which are acceptable for your own intended uses.
In a new blog -
Tolerant Write Acceleration by Frank Denneman
Technology Evangelist at PernixData
describes in a rarely seen level of detail the various states which his
company's FVP goes through when it recognizes that a fault has occured in
either server or flash. And the blog describes the temporary consequences - such
as loss of acceleration - which occur until replacement hardware is pulled in
and configured automatically by the system software.
Stating the design
principles of this product - Frank Denneman says - "Data loss needs to be
avoided at all times, therefore the FVP platform is designed from the ground up
to provide data consistency and availability. By replicating write data to
neighboring flash devices data loss caused by host or component failure is
prevented. Due to the clustered nature of the platform FVP is capable to keep
the state between the write data on the source and replica hosts consistent and
reduce the required space to a minimum without taxing the network connection too
more tiers reduce waste - says Chris M Evans
October 2, 2013 - The wastefulness of conventional storage tiering is
discussed in a blog -
On From Storage Tiering - by Chris M Evans, publisher
of Architecting IT - who advocates the
concept of having an infinite number of tiers so that - "each server will
be closer to receiving the performance level they need."
on to say - "If we can deliver that, move the data between tiers
dynamically and fix the wasted capacity issue within each tier, then we have our
ultimate storage device." ...read
Editor's comments:- The problem with
implementing this is that the most economical way to design storage systems is
still dependent on the likely speed and capacity characteristics.
buy products and they have to understand the differences between the products
they see in the market. (That job of segmentation is just as important for
marketers to implement precisely as the
easier bits they
spend more time and money on.)
When I analyzed all the different
types of SSDs you need in the datacenter - from the architecture and use cases
point of view - I got to about 7 different types - which are distinctly
different - as described in my
SSD silos model -
which covers the spectrum from ultrafast RAM to archive solid state storage.
SSD product which has been optimized for any one of these distinct uses will
be uneconomic or less competitive for the other uses.
think infinite tiers - as proposed in Chris M Evans's blog - can exist OK as
logical concepts in software
- but these infinite tiers will still have to map onto a distinct set of no
more than maybe 3 to 4 different physical SSD tiers in most customer sites.
Otherwise they will be wasteful and too expensive.
In the currently
forseeable state of semiconductor memories - the physics and the
architecture favor designs in which you know in advance what kind of use the
memory cell population in each part of your SSD is being optimized for.
for a sprint requires a different care conditioning regime to training for a
marathon. Although you can switch streams and repurpose cells dynamically -
which is what adaptive
R/W is all about - this is done within the context of knowing which kind of
race the SSD is in from the outset. Running half a marathon fast and then dying
due to dehydration
is not an attractive product option.
Proximal Data announces AutoCache version 2
August 26, 2013 - Proximal
the release of version 2.0 of
AutoCache (SSD ASAP
starts at $999 per host for flash caches less than 500GB.
has been demonstrating the new version working with
PCIe SSDs from
Micron at VMworld.
Tegile says its sales exceed its VC funding
August 13, 2013 - Tegile
the closing of its $35 million Round C funding led by late-stage venture firm
Meritech Capital Partners with
additional investment by original stakeholder
August Capital and strategic partners
Editor's comments:- Tegile says that unlike some other
VC funded companies
in this market space which have lived mostly on investments Tegile has
generated more customer revenue than it has taken in outside financing.
OCZ ships PCIe SSD based SQL accelerator
July 23, 2013 - OCZ
the general availability of its
Accelerator - an SSD
ASAP appliance - delivered as a PCIe SSD (600GB, 800GB or 1.6TB) and
bundled software - which optimizes caching of SQL Server data in Windows
environments - and can provide upto 25x faster database performance.
comments:- One of the differentiators in SSD caching products is the
sophistication of their behavior when viewed from a time basis. This is 1 of the
11 key SSD
symmetries - which I call "age symmetry".
In this respect
- a key feature of ZD-XL SQL Accelerator is its business-rule pre-warming
cache engine and cache warm-up analyzer that monitors SQL Server workloads and
automatically pre-loads the cache in advance of critical, demanding or important
SQL Server jobs. It achieves this by identifying repeated access patterns that
enable DBAs to set periodic time schedules to pre-load the cache.
product won Best of Show Award at an event called Interop in
WD catches VeloBit
Editor:- July 10, 2013 - For the
past 15 years from what I've seen - the ultimate business aim of most storage
software companies has been - to get
been even more true in the SSD
software market - wherein frankly - most companies don't even pretend to
invest in sustainable business models.
In the past 2 years - an SSD
software company has been
acquired every 2
months (on average) and the latest company sustaining that trend is VeloBit which has been
acquired by WD
for deployment by its subsidiary HGST - it was announced
In case you've forgotten why this trend started - software
makes it easier to sell more SSDs and the ROI from a vendor's point of view is
better than doubling the sales force. That's why valuations (not disclosed in
this case yet) have been so disconnected from the financial outlook of the ISV's
Editor:- June 19, 2013 - SanDisk recently
a new version - 3.2 - of its
FlashSoft (SSD caching software)
for Windows Server ($3,000), and Linux ($3,500). New in this release is
support with low latency SSD mirroring for "safe write-back"
caching. Improvements include:- larger cache sizes upto 2TB per cache and upto
8TB cache per server. Also the number of volumes supported by a single cache has
increased from 255 to 2048.
Editor's comments:- Many
enterprise SSD users - who wouldn't dream of approaching SanDisk to use its raw
SSDs in their enterprise projects - are more than willing to use their
enterprise SSD software and share their ideas about their enterprise SSD
problems and their experiences.
really software to transform itself into an enterprise SSD heavyweight?
Stec's profiler removes guesswork in sizing SSD caches for
hybrid storage pools
Editor:- May 21, 2013 - Stec today
that it's offering a free profiling tool -
Profiler - which can enable users to determine how much benefit they would
get from using its
(SSD caching software) - before they even install any SSDs.
company says that the "non-disruptive installation" can save hours of
administrative trial and error by recommending the optimal block size, and the
capacity and type of SSDs to be used for maximum performance gain. See
SSDs end bottlenecks - and cure all my server speed worries?
Intels oems LSI's RAID caching SSD technology
April 8, 2013 - Intel
- which already uses LSI's
SandForce controllers in some SSDs - will oem LSI's dual-core RAID-on-Chip
flash caching technology it was announced today.
LSI says their
caching technology can double the number of VDI sessions supported in the same
sever and flash environment.
"Intel's selection of
Nytro MegaRAID technology is another significant validation of our strategic
focus and investments in flash-based server acceleration technology," said
senior VP and GM, Accelerated Solutions, LSI.
QLogic launches FabricCache PCIe SSD
22, 2013 - QLogic
yesterday entered the
enterprise SSD market
(in the PCI SSD and
SSD ASAPs segments)
its first product - the
10000 Series adapter (pdf) - which provides transparent sharable and
clusterable caching for FC SANs.
The 2 card set (upto 400GB flash,
and 2x 8Gbps FC ports) can deliver upto 310,000 initiator IOPS and
supports upto 2,048 concurrent logins.
for a lot more about this - see
another $24 million funding for Nexenta
February 27, 2013 - Nexenta
it has secured $24 million in Series D financing.
SSD ASAP software -
- currently supports SSDs from the following companies:-
STEC - according to
hardware support list (pdf).
Software - the new reason to reconsider Intel's server SSDs
February 13, 2013 - Intel
that in the next 30 days it will ship a Linux version of the SSD caching
software - based on IP from its acquisition of
NEVEX last August. The
products have been rebranded as
CAS (Cache Acceleration Software).
Editor's comments:- I
would categorize Intel's current generation of enterprise SSD solutions
(which includes the same old indifferent SSDs working with the new CAS software)
as being in the medium to fast-enough performance range.
customers might be end users who have never used SSD acceleration before - or
users with apps which don't need the higher speeds offered by competing SSD
bundled drive / module packages from
OCZ - and customers who
don't want to do their caching via dedicated rackmount based products from
the dozens of other vendors listed in the
SSD ASAPs directory.
market segment addressed by these new Intel products is the early
majority of enterprise SSD adopters - who will be reassured by the
perceived safety of buying into the dangerous world of solid state storage
acceleration from a value based brand.
I spoke about the new CAS
software to Intel product manager Andrew Flint
who cofounded NEVEX and I
learned some useful things about the product.
The first question I
asked was - how many PCIe SSDs can the CAS product support in a single server?
And were there any graphs showing how performance drops off or is maintained
when you do that.
The answer was - this info isn't publicly available
right now. Although it may be in the future.
That's when I concluded
that Intel CAS (married to current generation Intel SSDs) isn't a fast
product - and is not in the kind of performance league where a user would
seriously worry about this type of
Intel's ideal end-user customers right now for CAS are
people who have been using no SSD acceleration at all coupled with hard drive
arrays. That performance
silo could change - with faster Intel SSDs in the future - and isn't due
to limiting characteristics in the software.
I asked - Does it support
3rd party SSDs?
I was told - the standard release only supports Intel
SSDs. But there's nothing in principle to prevent it being used with other SSDs
using the open source release of the software.
The product is a read
cache. I was told that it makes very good use of whatever RAM is in the server
to optimize both read and write performance. However, my view is that as Intel
SSDs aren't fast - this is somewhat academic.
I asked about the time
constants which are analyzed by the caching software - and learned that -
depending on the app - the data usage period which is analyzed goes up to days.
(Generally in this type of product longer is better - and when you go up from
milli-seconds and seconds to minutes, hours and days - you have the potential to
get better caching results.)
I learned that Intel CAS isn't written
around the data structure or interface - and is hardware agnostic. Users can
tell the software which apps they want to cache - via a control panel. This is
very useful in environments where a single server is running a mix of apps -
some of which are critical (in performance needs) while others are not.
asked - does the CAS have to have advance knowledge of the app? - Is it
optimized for a preset list of apps?
I was told - No. It will work
just as well for - what I called - dark matter software- which might be a
proprietary app which no one else knew about.
I asked if Intel collects
stats from the general population of installed servers which use the software? -
in order to improve tuning algorithms...
I was told - No. The
optimizations (data eviction probability rates) are done based on what is
learned on the customer's own server and private data - and the factory shipped
software. There isn't a wider intelligence learning or gathering or snooping
I learned that a special feature of this Intel CAS release
is the ability to share cache resources with a remote SSD. The data stays hot
and doesn't have to be recreated when different virtual machines are accessing
this type of resource.
Overall I came away with a good impression of
the CAS software and how well the NEVEX technology idea has been assimilated
into Intel's SSD business.
It will undoubtedly help Intel sell more
SSDs to people who have never used enterprise SSDs before - and maybe also to
people with low end apps who have used SSD acceleration before but whose
first choice of SSDs wouldn't otherwise have been Intel.
Proximal Data - case study
Editor:- January 28, 2013
- Proximal Data
details of a
case study (pdf) re the use of its
SSD ASAP software (AutoCache ) to
trim 30 hours off the monthly SAS analytics report for a financial customer
which used to take 36.5 hours.
SSD software companies
start talking about real customers - the
press releases follow not long behind based on
recent SSD history.
Violin acquires GridIron
Editor:- January 21, 2013 -
it has acquired GridIron
Editor's comments:- in
October 2012 I
listed GridIron as 1 of the 3 main contenders to
Fusion-io in the
enterprise SSD software
stakes -with the qualifying comment...
"GridIron - probably has
the most sophisticated SSD
ASAP software in the industry. But it's a shame it has been tied (until
recently) to their hardware - an SSD HDD hybrid box."
announcement - which adds to the growing list of
acquisitions in the modern era of the SSD market - will enable Violin to
strengthen its already established authority in the enterprise SSD rack market.
Imation acquires Nexsan
Editor:- January 2, 2013 -
it has acquired Nexsan
(which among other things is in the
SSD ASAPs market) for
OCZ starts beta testing SSD cached Linux accelerator
December 17, 2012 - OCZ
has begun a
beta test program for its Linux Acceleration (LXL) cache software which the
company says can intelligently reduce external traffic by upto 90%. LXL -
which supports the company's own enterprise SSDs across a range of interfaces
- splits the caching policy engine between the core mechanism running in the
Linux kernel and an advanced statistical out-of-band analysis module that
optimally determines which data needs to be placed in the local SSD cache.
General availability is anticipated to be Q2 next year.
SSD HDD ratios in big data? - blog by Panasas
December 11, 2012 - "An important piece of our research involved
determining how much SSD capacity customers would need...
whether it would make a big enough difference in system performance to be worth
the incremental cost of including SSD storage in the system. To do this, we
extracted key data from production file systems in the field..." - says
Sr. Director of Product Marketing at Panasas in his recent
and parallel storage (part 3) - in which he also says that in HPC
workloads users can get good enough results by using as little as 1.5%
ratio of SSD to HDD - compared to (read his blog if you want to see the exact
ratio) needed for financial and other markets.
comments:- Although I was told about the earlier episodes in this blog
series - which includes an
to SSDs - I didn't mention them before - because I assume if you
don't already have a good idea of
what's an SSD?
before you get to these pages - then you won't linger here very long.
reason for my earlier reticence about these Panasas blogs - is I think that
a description of SSDs written from the viewpoint of an
SSD ASAP company
whose boxes average over 90% hard drives - may be subtly tilted to a
perspective which I consider to be a sideline along the
enterprise SSD adoption
road rather than the straightest way to the final destination.
- to give credit where it's due - some of the other past blogs I've seen from
Panasas have included valuable insights which are storage media agnostic.
I've said to a couple of readers recently (including a Panasas
customer) - that if I had to make a list of the last 5 companies on this planet
which I thought would still be shipping hard drives in arrays into the
enterprise - then Panasas would be one of them. That's because a small group of
companies have invested enough talent into new ways of managing large HDD
populations in a more effective and efficient way than the small controller
architecture of classical RAID
It will be lonely for the HDD array sales guys when that
happens - just as it has become quiet in the
tape library industry
Enmotus demonstrates its automated MicroTiering SSD technology
Editor:- November 27, 2012 - Enmotus is
demonstrating its auto-tiering software for the first time in public this week
at the Server Design Summit.
SSDs and boats and planes
Editor:- October 11, 2012
- a recent blog by Pure
Storage asks -
the risk of over promising and under delivering with hybrid storage arrays?
this blog talks about
meaning - in this context - is flash and HDD hybrid boxes - not flash and
PCM or some other combination of faster and slower SSDs.
things - the article says "...now imagine if you showed up to board your
international flight, and they put you on a ship instead?" ...read
QLogic signals intention to enter SSD ASAP market
September 7, 2012 -
its intention to enter the
SSD ASAP market.
The company says its so called
Rainier technology will support industry standard
PCIe SSDs and
SAS SSDs - and will
connect via the company's HBAs and drivers.
The 1st product in this
family will connect via traditional Fibre Channel HBA. Details released so
far are too vague to make an assessment of how useful or competitive this
product will be when it sees the light of day.
FlashMAX is FlashSoft compatible
Editor:- August 27,
2012 - Virident's
PCIe SSDs are
supported by SanDisk's
- it was
The companies say this collaboration includes sales, joint
testing and validation programs, and support and services assistance.
comments:- the thinking behind SanDisk's strategic decision to support
competing SSD hardware with its software was one of the things which I learned
in a recent interview
with the company.
An Analyst Perspective on SSD Caching vs. Tiering
August 23, 2012 - Here's a short note from -
paper - SSD Caching vs. SSD Tiering Which Is Better? (pdf) -
presented today at the Flash
"Both caching and tiering are effective at
improving enterprise workload performance. Caching is easier to manage - but
there are both cache-friendly and cache-unfriendly workloads. Some vendors who
started with one are offering the other." ...read
the article (pdf)
Nimble expands on scalability
Editor:- August 6, 2012
- "Scalability" - in SSDs and storage - means different things to
different people - and this is one of the themes discussed in my
So I was curious to see what Nimble Storage meant by
the word "scale" - as it's used more than 30 times in a
release from the company about a new range of rackmount SSD ASAPs.
blog by Nimble's CEO,
Suresh Vasudevan yesterday gives a more precise explanation of what
they mean - which is in effect - you can scale capacity by adding hard drives or
scale performance by adding SSDs - or do a bit of both - "without ever
Nimble's systems span a much narrower
range of performance scalability than you would see across the
- so I'm not sure if scalability is the word I would have chosen to describe
what they do. "Flexibility and convenient management within a useful
application footprint" is probably more accurate - but doesn't sound so
Another $25 million funding for Tintri
24, 2012 - hybrid NAS rackmount
SSD ASAP maker Tintri today
it has closed a $25 million funding round which brings the company's total
capital raised to over $60 million.
AutoCache for PCIe SSDs
Editor:- July 23, 2012 -
immediate availability of its first product - a
SSD ASAP - designed
to work with PCIe SSDs - in particular - products from
for cache sizes less than 500GB) reduces bottlenecks in virtualized servers to
increase VM density, efficiency and performance. The company says it can
increase VM density upto 3x with absolutely no impact on IT operations.
Editor's comments:- here are some questions I asked about the
new product - and the answers I got from Rich Pappas,
Proximal's VP of sales and business development.
Editor:- How long
does it take for the algorithms to reach peak efficiency?
Pappas:- It varies by workload, but typically it takes about 15
minutes for the cache to warm to reach peak efficiency.
the caching only on reads, or is it effective on writes too?
AutoCache will only cache reads, but by virtue of relieving the backend
datastore from read traffic, we have actually seen overall write performance
improvements as well. This effect is also dependent on the workload.
Overland enters SSD ASAP market
Editor:- July 11,
2012 - Overland
today made its long overdue début into
history with the
that it uses SSD
auto acceleration in its
FC SAN) hybrid storage
racks to get upto 8x faster file performance.
STEC releases SSD cache software for any make of SSD
June 6, 2012 - STEC
the general availability of the company's
EnhanceIO SSD Cache
Software for Linux and Windows environments with pricing starting from $295
and $495 (per server) for a 1 year subscription.
STEC says its SSD
cache software can used with any vendor's
In addition, a Linux version of EnhanceIO SSD Cache Software, based on
caching module, will be made available under a general public license
"As one of the original architects of Flashcache, I'm extremely
pleased to see this technology being enhanced and supported by STEC in their
EnhanceIO software," said Mohan Srinivasan, software engineer at
Facebook. "Flashcache has proven to be an invaluable tool for accelerating
application performance at Facebook."
Users can choose from a selection of caching schemes and block sizes
to suit their preference and SSD's capabilities. STEC stores the metadata for
the cache in system DRAM rather than in the SSD. The DRAM required for the
cache is 0.1% of the cache size so a terabyte of SSD cache requires about
1GB of DRAM support. Product support tools include a profiler which can collect
user data and suggest the best policy option parameters for the cache setup.
comments:- irrespective of the technical strengths and weaknesses (and
pricing model) of the this new product compared to other competing
SSD ASAP / caching
offerings - one question which immediately springs to mind is this.
serious is STEC about making this software work as a standalone product? And if
it becomes successful will the company be tempted to bundle it free with its
NEVEX offers free trial of $5K value Linux caching software
May 29, 2012 -
NEVEX says it's
offering the 1st 30 people who trial its
SSD ASAP / caching
software for Linux - the option to keep the production version free.
spoke a few minutes ago to Nigel Miller,
VP Business Development, NEVEX - to test if his phone number is correct -
because that's the response mechanism.
I asked how much can some one
save by taking up the offer?
He said the regular price will be $5,000
per cached terabyte.
I also said it was unusual in the web industry to
have nothing on their web site about this - and he said they wanted a quick and
easy way to talk to people. He also said that if you are one of the early
responders you will get good access to their technical support people. As time
is of the essence here's the number if you're interested:- +1 647-393-2200
60 seconds to make your SSDs accelerate even faster
May 8, 2012 - VeloBit
1.1 of its SSD caching software for Linux called HyperCache. (VMware and
Windows versions are in Beta.
Editor's comments:- I spoke to
VeloBit's CEO, Duncan
McCallum about the company and the new product.
Like many other
SSD ASAP software packages HyperCache ducks the problem of how to manage
environments by effectively only caching host reads and bypassing the caching
SSD when doing host writes.
Duncan said the software is efficient in
its use of host resources. It takes up less than 3% of host server CPU cycles
and about 2% of RAM (compared to the capacity of the attached SSD cache).
is VeloBit's caching software different?
In use - the company says its
content locality caching
uses the signatures of the data patterns which already are used
frequently and have lots of references in order to predict and prioritize the
caching of similar looking data. In that respect - the cache manager is
learning something which is unique to that apps environment rather than simply
caching blocks based on where they are address-wise relative to the current hot
In its business model - Duncan said he wanted to make VeloBit's
software easy to adopt and install via web marketing. A design goal was to make
HyperCache capable of being installed in under 10 minutes. He said the new
launch version typically installs in under 60 seconds!
tested their software with SSDs in various form factors from leading companies
commented that when it came to
PCIe SSDs - they found
their software produced the best results with Virident - which he said
produced the fastest SSD caching results of any SSD they had yet tested.
aspects of VeloBit's offering (to me) look similar to many other previous SSD
software products:- internal compression, write attenuation, real-time dedupe
and pricing on a per CPU basis.
With so many companies vying for the
same customer share of mind the thing which stands out for me is the 60 seconds
install time. Even allowing for a degree of future software bloat - the slowest
part about acquiring new SSD ASAP software could soon become typing in your
credit card details.
still waiting to learn more about GridIron's SSDs?
April 24, 2012 - GridIron
that it is approaching
FC SAN SSD capability
with its OneAppliance auto-tiering
product family which will be shipping next month.
- FlashCube (1 million IOPS, 10GB/s R/W, upto 100TB)
- iNode (40 core TB RAM with 100TB flash)
Editor's comments:- I took the
step (for me) of registering with GridIron's website so I could read the
product details. I had asked the company last December to remove this
anti-informational inquiry process - but the barrier is still in place. Today
it took far too many many minutes for their web site to come back with a
message saying that I could now be allowed to read their datasheets. But by
then I had used up my time budget.
- RackPack (40 server system with 4 million IOPS, 40GB/s bandwidth and 250TB
blogs suggest that because their
systems are so fast - you'll get better results using their racks for
big data analytics instead of other SSDs - and in particular
PCIe SSDs like those
going to wait 5 minutes or more on their web site to get information which you
should be able to see immediately so you can decide how credible is their claim
that they can save you time and money with their proprietary solution?
should tell their VCs that this company is still in stealth mode when it comes
to web based communications.
SSD racks versus PCIe
SSDs is a flawed analysis anyway. Most enterprises will need and use
April 28, 2012 - GridIron's CTO, Som Sikdar responded to my
criticism above and said the company
sorry and will review and improve the information accessibility on its
website. And a few days later - the log-in wall was removed.
Diverse views emerge on SSD caching / tiering video
April 26, 2012 - In a 50 minutes panel discussion YouTube
is SSD simply a big cache
or a real storage tier? - moderated by Chris Evans, editor of
the Storage Architect.
in this discussion on
SSD ASAPs were
representatives from EMC,
discussion ranged from - where's the best place to put SSDs? and which agency
should determine where to put the hot data? The app or the storage system?
Here are just some of the ideas expressed in the talk.
Caching is best
because it's simple to deploy and scale - and you don't have to bet your
career or your business future
if it goes wrong -
(and discover new
which you didn't know about before).
Caching is a short term fix. SSD
is a tier.
You need both caching and tiering.
SSDs provide new
possibilities which means maybe the SSD shouldn't be hidden by caching - but
remain visible to SSD specific APIs.
You don't see any of the big HDD
storage box makers in the biggest customer data centers like Amazon, Google and
FaceBook. The HDD isn't a datacenter device anymore - hard drives just live in
See also:- the
VeloBit readies for SSD ASAP software launch
April 9, 2012 - in the run up to to launching its
product line (SSD
ASAP software) -
announced the appointment of Mike LaPeters
as VP of Sales.
"SSD adoption in the enterprise has been stalled
by the cost and complexity of deploying SSD" said Mike LaPeters. "VeloBit
offers a non-disruptive, cost-effective means to scale IT performance. I look
forward to using my experience from working with thousands of storage customers
to help companies quickly, easily and inexpensively deploy SSD."
Dataram monetizes SSD ASAP IP while retaining XcelaSAN
April 4, 2012 - Dataram
it has sold its patents portfolio related to solid state storage and
SSD ASAPs for
$5 million to Phan Tia Group.
Dataram retains a license to
continue to use the patents in current and future Dataram products including
XcelaSAN with limited
rights to transfer its license. ipCapital Group
assisted in patent valuation, and supported Dataram on the negotiation and
successful close of this transaction.
"This transaction represents
an exceptional opportunity to fund new growth initiatives while at the same time
it protects our current product portfolio" said John Freeman,
Dataram President and CEO. "The license granted to Dataram under this
Agreement will also allow us to market, develop and sell XcelaSAN as well as
other existing and new Dataram products that incorporate the technology based on
these patents. They are all protected under the Patent Purchase Agreement."
comments:- this is a good deal for Dataram. This way they retain their stake
in the high
availability FC SAN
RAM end of the
SSD ASAP market -
and get some cash to pursue growth ideas.
The XcelaSAN has been
aimed at niche segments in the
enterprise SSD market
- but could take off in new directions with the appopriate marketing
Dataram probably understands what they have to do to get
business there better than anyone else - because they've been working hard to
learn what the early adopters in this market want for over 2 years and have
been applying that feedback into product tweaks and clearer customer messages.
many readers the sum of money mentioned in this news story sounds small -
compared to the tens and hundreds of million dollar sums often bandied about in
SSD VC stories. But
Dataram is a very conservatively managed company and they get a lot done for
what seems to other SSD oems like loose change.
Texas Memory Systems introduces fast-enough PCIe SSD in ASAP
Editor:- March 27, 2012 - Texas Memory Systems
has introduced a new
fast-enough MLC PCIe
SSD into its product line as part of an
SSD ASAP /
bundle which includes software from NEVEX
eMLC PCIe SSD provides 450GB usable capacity, 700 MB/s throughput and 80K / 170K
Editor's comments:- this new product from TMS is
aimed at a different market to those which the company traditionally focused on
with its "world's fastest storage". The company's new eMLC PCIe SSD -
which is only available as part of this new SSD ASAP bundle - enables TMS to
reach down to price points which are significantly lower than anything it has
ever done before - with a product that's easy for users to deploy to get apps
speedups in Windows SAN
and NAS environments.
Drobo's new SSD ASAP uses SAS SSDs from OCZ
March 8, 2012 - OCZ
announced that its
Talos SSDs (3.5"
SAS SSDs) will be
used in Drobo's
range of iSCSI
auto-tiering systems (SSD
This is Drobo's first product to leverage the benefits
"Just like larger organisations, SMEs should be able to
afford and enjoy the benefits of SSD technology and performance," said Tom Buiocchi,
CEO of Drobo. "For the best capacity and performance, our unique
data-aware tiering allows customers to easily and affordably add SSDs to the
same Drobo environment that already has high-capacity traditional disk drives."
SanDisk acquires FlashSoft
Editor:- February 15,
2012 - SanDisk
it has acquired FlashSoft
- one of the leading independent software vendors in the
SSD ASAPs market.
Tegile enters the SSD ASAP market
14, 2012 - Tegile
announced general availability of its
storage arrays - which are rackmount
SSD ASAPs with
internal hard drives and integrated
compression and snapshot.
NEVEX CacheWorks supports RamSan flash
February 8, 2012 - NEVEX
that its CacheWorks
for Windows Server has been tested and optimized for performance with the
new generation of flash SSDs from Texas Memory Systems
- in particular the RamSan-70
(a PCIe SSD) and the
RamSan-810 (a 1U
wrote about the sometimes
stretch of "RamSan" - as even back then 70% of the SSDs that TMS
sold were flash
rather RAM - and PCIe was a sizable chunk of the product line mix too.
This software support from NEVEX fills a key functional gap (SSD ASAP) in the TMS
route to market.
It's important for NEVEX too.
been selling enterprise
SSDs longer than any other company. But unlike some competing PCIe
SSD companies (Fusion-io,
Micron) which have all
acquired their own SSD software IP in the past year (thereby obsoleting
most 3rd party caching/tiering development investments) - Texas Memory
Systems is still focused
on hardware design. Nevertheless - while I'm confident that acquiring an
ISV isn't on TMS's wish list - the company itself recently announced it
would look positively on a suitable potential acquirer. So nothing is as
certain as it seems.
will rental break through the
uncertainty barrier for SSD ASAPs?
Editor:- January 26, 2012 -
One of the business development obstacles facing
enterprise SSD ASAP
/ caching vendors in the past few years has been that users have mostly
thought of them as being HDD array accelerators.
And even if a user is
interested right now - and even if they are happy with their try before you buy
results - they often hold off making a purchase - because they think (after
reading web sites like this one) that one day they'll be ripping out their
rotating RAID systems and
replacing them with SSDs - so it might be silly to buy an SSD cache applaince
Now in reality - most users won't replace their entire HDD
storage as quickly as they might like to think - and ASAPs do have a permanent
role in the pure SSD datacenter too. Some vendors' marketing materials talk
about that - while others are still
about hard disks and the "superiority" of SSD - even when their
technology roadmap works just as well for SSD.
through the user indecision barrier - Dataram today
published a customer story about their
long term commitment" - Acceleration on Demand - leasing program. It
sounds like a good idea - but I don't know the exact terms and conditions
OCZ acquires SANRAD
Editor:- January 10, 2012 -
has acquired SANRAD
for $15 million.
"SANRAD's software is a wonderful complement to
OCZ's Flash technology," said Oded
Ilan, CEO of SANRAD Inc. "We are excited with the opportunity
created by this unique combination between storage virtualization, caching and
PCIe Flash storage."
Editor's comments:- this makes the
4th SSD IP or company acquisition that OCZ has done that I've written about on
these pages. 3 out of the 4 have aimed squarely at the enterprise SSD market.
SSD software will be
a powerful sales and business growth accelerator for
PCIe SSD companies in
2012 - as it will open
up new market opportunities much faster than previously possible with human
engineering assets. Put simply - it's let the software solve the problem of
integrating the SSD. It's more than simply
auto-tiering - but
that's an important enabling tool as well.
SANRAD was also the 1st
company to ship front loadable PCIe SSD modules BTW.
the New Business Case for SSD ASAPs
December 6, 2011 - StorageSearch.com
today published a new article -
the New Business
Case for SSD ASAPs .
What's an SSD ASAP? - When I use this term it
It's going to be a huge market. SSD
ASAPs are 1 of the 6 main SSD product types that will be around in the pure
solid state storage datacenter of the future in the
- auto-tiering SSD appliances
- SSD cache - the automatic kind
- SSD acceleration As Soon As Possible
- Auto-tuning SSD Accelerated Pools of storage
- combinations of the above
The word "new" in the title is deliberate. It
replaces an article I wrote about SSD ASAPs when the market started in 2009.
Since then - my thinking - and that of key players in the market has
developed. This should no longer just be regarded as a tactical market to bring
the advantages of SSD acceleration to legacy hard drive arrays. ASAPs are an
essential interface between different levels of SSD storage. ...read the article
analyzer suite could speed up auto-tiering SSD evaluations
November 29, 2011 - hyperI/O
availability of its Disk I/O Ranger software analysis tool for Windows
The company says this will help users diagnose and
understand disk storage access performance problems and to to verify that QoS
levels are being met at the application/file/device level. It could also
simplify the evaluation of
appliances by collecting real-time metrics.
I asked Tom West, President of hyperI/O what he was seeing of the SSD
market from his perspective of selling storage analysis tools. He said -"One
of the major users of the hIOmon software is listed within the top 10 of your
Top 20 SSD Companies."
NexGen enters iSCSI auto-tiering SSD ASAP market
November 8, 2011 - NexGen
emerged from stealth mode and
general availability of its first product - the
n5 - a 3U
real-time compression appliance - which internally leverages 48GB
1.3TB PCIe SSD and
32TB raw SAS
HDD capacity to deliver
120TB RAID protected
usable fast virtual storage with adjustable performance QoS for every volume.
Satisfying apps speedup hunger without expensive SSD write
Editor:- October 19, 2011 - Read caching can lift the glass
ceiling on write caching - as much as
3x. That's one of the unexpected twists revealed in a
blog by Gary
Orenstein VP of Products at Fusion-io.
are the practical applications of this? - Gary gives several examples - like
greatly simplified data replication / protection. But that's not the only
trick in the SSD toolkit. To demonstrate how this can be leveraged Gary
shows readers a graph which shows a 10x write speedup obtained when
using FIO's PCIe SSDs as read caches - managed by their
SSD ASAP software -
in a server attached to a storage array from
comments:- providing fail safe
data replication within the
low latency of an SSD acceleration environment is a non trivial problem -
discussed in an earlier
blog by Woody Hutsell (who now
works for Gary - see SSD news).
complexity is why you pay more for SSD solutions which include write
Huawei Symantec and
Dataram) - the extra
cost appearing in both the invoice and accrued latency.
blog by Gary Orenstein says - in effect - that you don't have to go all the way
to full à la cartre R/W SSD caching to get a satisfying meal of the day
apps speedup. ...read
NEVEX launches SSD ASAP software for Windows Server
October 11, 2011 - NEVEX
its first product - an auto-tiering
/ SSD ASAP software cache for Windows Server, VMware, Hyper-V priced at
$2,495 per physical server .
CacheWorks' selective cache optimization
technology empowers administrators by providing flexible control to accelerate
specific data by application, file type, and location to deliver typical
speedups of 3x - according to customer quotes in their
press release (pdf).
GridIron's fat flash stirs ASAP caffeine sooner to beat weekly
Editor:- September 29, 2011 - GridIron Systems
general availability of its
- an FC SAN
SSD ASAP / auto-tiering
cache - which has low latency (tens of microseconds) and is intended to be
used in what the company calls "Big data" installations.
comments:- Although conceptually similar to
Dataram's 2 year old
XcelaSAN - GridIron's
product is scaled to work with much bigger storage capacities - and includes
more dedicated silicon.
Also - unlike most other caches - GridIron
says its hot data stores and recognizes peaking data patterns over many days -
and not just short term real-time data spikes. That makes it better able to
react more quickly to cyclical business demands - such as time of day, day
of the week, start/end of month etc - without having to relearn them. So the
acceleration will kick in faster.
This is an example of good "age
symmetry". See also:-
how fast can your
SSD run backwards? 11 Key Symmetries in SSD design
Dell will distribute Dataram's auto tiering SSD
September 22, 2011 - Dataram
OEM Solutions will manufacture, provide hardware customization,
distribute and support Dataram's
FC SAN compatible
auto-tiering / SSD ASAP
- the XcelaSAN from
Editor's comments:- Since Dataram launched the
XcelaSAN 2 years ago
it has fixed perceived gaps in its failover characteristics and established
some impressive customer reference sites. But sales have been slow.
of the problem has been that this product is aimed at users who don't have
the technical resources within their workgroups to
tune vanilla SSD
accelerators in SANs because of the
many complex data
architecture decisions which then arise. That's why they need
But without internal safety nets these ideal
potential customers have to be absolutely confident that it works and will
be supported. This deal with Dell goes a long way to doing that - and will tip
the balance for many who liked the idea but needed the reassurance that a 3rd
party heavyweight company has looked at the design and is prepared to support
SANRAD enters the SSD ASAP market
20, 2011 - SANRAD
has entered the
auto-tiering SSD / SSD
ASAPs market with the launch of its new VXL software which supports its
family of FC and GbE
unified storage network
"Many organizations are adding flash resources to
their virtual server environments but aren't able to use them efficiently,"
says Dr Allon Cohen,
SANRAD's VP Marketing. "By combining our software with their
infrastructure, they instantly have faster access, more secure data, and
Editor's comments:- the thinking behind
SANRAD's acceleration architecture is described in this white paper -
to put your flash SSD accelerators - for best enterprise results (pdf)
will OCZ's new hybrid PCIe SSD be a market game changer?
September 1, 2011 - OCZ
hybrid PCIe SSD - the
RevoDrive Hybrid - which integrates 100GB SSD capacity along with an onboard
terabyte HDD and
SSD ASAP / auto hot spot
cache tuning controller capable of 910MB/s peak throughput and upto 120,000
random write IOPS (4K) - all for an MSRP under $500.
RevoDrive Hybrid leverages the best attributes of both solid state drives and
traditional hard drive technology to deliver dynamic data-tiering on a single
easy to deploy PCIe storage drive," said Ryan
Petersen, CEO of OCZ.
Editor's comments:- although
many oems have tried to make a success of
all in one SSD-HDD
hybrid drives - the hybrids which have come to market in the past 6 years
have mostly been failures ...read
more analysis on main SSD news page
FlashSoft launches software to unleash the power of enterprise
Editor:- June 28, 2011 -
today announced it has
$3 million Series A funding and has launched its first product -
software which enables enterprise flash to be used as a cost-effective,
server-tier computing resource (ASAP functionality in
software) which is available for free evaluation through a 30-day "Try
Before You Buy" program.
Editor's comments:- FlashSoft says its
software (which runs on Windows Server - Linux is in beta) works with any
flash SSDs upto 1TB, and takes approx 5% CPU utilization and 100MB of core RAM.
How many physical SSDs does the software support?
The number of SSDs is not limited, as long as they can be represented
as a single logical volume, eg. through a RAID.
Is the 1TB limit shown on your site the limit for the setof SSDs or just for
The 1TB limit is the current logical limit for the
SSD used for caching. The data set is typically 5x greater (or more) than the
cache. The size restriction is an artifact of early development, and in a
near-future release, there will be no restriction on the size of the SSD
In the case of
loss what are the steps taken to protect the state of the cached data
and update the external storage?
FlashSoft employs a method called multi-level metadata
management, which stores some cache metadata in RAM, but most of it on the SSD
itself (and employs a balanced tree design for optimal efficiency). There are
two benefits to this design: first, it minimizes utilization of server memory.
Only the hottest metadata runs in server memory. The rest is cached in SSD.
Also, the application regularly creates snapshots of the metadata on the SSD, so
that in the event of a server crash, the cache metadata can be re-created from
the snapshots + most recent metadata almost immediately. Typical recovery is
less than a second. (Keep in mind, our team's background is at Veritas, Oracle,
Symantec, etc. so data recovery is a top priority for the product design.)
virtual server acceleration mistakes
21. 2011 -
5 Mistakes to
Avoid when trying to solve I/O Bottlenecks in Virtualized Servers is a new
article by IO Turbine
published on StorageSearch.com.
to say most of the discussion in here revolves around the best use of SSDs.
Among other things - IO Turbine says "While many enterprise-class storage
providers offer automatic tiering with data migration to and from the SSD
storage, these solutions typically take place well after the need for the I/O
acceleration has passed." ...read the
Dataram delivers 24x speedup for telco
5, 2011 - Dataram
has started to say more about the
ratios that customers are seeing with its
XcelaSAN (the industry's
first SSD ASAP).
One of my
11 SSD predictions
for 2011 was that SSD marketers would start to talk the language of xN
speedups for common apps or customer groups rather than simply tossing
around native IOPS and throughput numbers.
"We knew from the
outset that XcelaSAN would deliver unbeatable value and performance to our
customers, and we are now seeing proof of the many financial and business
benefits that all our users are receiving." said John Freeman, President
and CEO of Dataram. "We are very pleased to find that our customers can now
do more at lower CapEx and OpEx, while extending the usable life of their
equipment in a wide range of business environments."
Marvell flies a kite for DragonFly accelerator
April 4, 2011 - Marvell
today unveiled a PCIe
compatible SSD ASAP.
Marvell claims 10x speedups can be realized using its new
Virtual Storage Accelerator - which is designed to reduce
to external storage arrays and acts as an OS agnostic multiprotocol storage
cache for NAS,
DAS storage arrays.
The product - is expected to sample in Q3.
more than 20 companies have launched similarly impressive sounding accelerators
in the past 2 years in form factors ranging from cards to racks. Based on the
track record of the SSD industry in this particular segment I think it would be
realistic for users to think about a timescale which is more like another
year than another quarter before application software issues are resolved
in this new product - and the speedup ratio quoted may or may not be sustainable
Xiotech enters ASAP market
Editor:- January 31, 2011
- Xiotech is
the latest company to join the crowding
SSD ASAP market with
of its Hybrid ISE - a
3U FC rack with
14TB of capacity and 60,000
performance which internally uses a mixture of
2.5" SSDs and
to many other ASAP vendors - Xiotech claims its systems has "fully
automated set-and-forget simplicity". The company says that using ROI
calculations from weighted I/O counts, automated tiering begins within 1 minute
of I/O and continues to manage the performance requirements of applications in
ASAPs will still be needed after hard drives have gone
January 21, 2011 - today a reader asked a good question about the
SSD ASAP market -
effectively asking if I thought some vendors might have missed an opportunity
here - because of
how long it
was taking to get customers to accept them.
When the first ASAPs
came to market in 2009
- I commented that the clock was ticking - because I didn't see the need for
this type of product once enterprises transitioned to a pure SSD environment in
I was glad to get the email because I have revised my
thoughts about this. Here's the text below from the reply I sent this morning.
been revising and updating my long range SSD market model recently - some parts
of which appeared in
this article last year.
Something which comes out of filling in
the details is that I was wrong to say that SSD ASAPs will have a limited market
life. When the datacenter transitions to a 100% solid state storage in the
2015 to 2019 period - there will be an even bigger need for automatic
tiering technology between the 3 levels of SSDs in the new storage
architecture described in the petabyte SSD article.
That's because the
difference in latency between the fastest SSDs and the slowest (bulk storage
SSDs) will be bigger than the ratio between hard drives and cartridges in a
tape library. That means
the best performing ASAPs will still find a place in the market - long after I
I initially thought the need would disappear in
an environment which was 100% solid state storage. In some apps that will be
true. But in bigger enterprises complexity and economic realities mean that
tiering - between different classes of SSD storage - will still be necessary.
Alacritech enters SSD ASAP market
11, 2011 - Alacritech
1500 ($70,000 base price) - a 2U
SSD ASAP optimized
for the NAS market - which
the company claims can deliver 120,000 NFS OPS when configured with 48GB of
DRAM and up to 4TB flash SSD.
Demartek tests LSI's CacheCade
Editor:- November 2,
2010 - Demartek
has published a sponsored
report (pdf) which compares the performance of
HDDs in a simulated
web server environment when managed by LSI's
software - which provides
Editor's commnents:- The report shows that
throughput and access times were improved by at least 3x using a single
SSD cache compared to the HDD only situation.
However - it's
disappointing that the sizing of the test was not best chosen to draw
meaningful conclusions. Because the web content was only 25% larger than
the SSD capacity! It would have been more helpful to design a simulated case in
which there was at least a 10x or 100x size difference. Because if you
can fit all the web content onto an SSD then you don't need the burden of the
"cache" software at all - and might get better results by switching it
There are case studies going back nearly 10 years which show that
SSDs can provide big speedups in web servers. The exact speedup depends on how
fast the SSD is. This test report doesn't answer the question - is LSI's
CacheCade useful in a realistically scaled environment?
Nimble Storage enters the ASAP market
15, 2010 - Nimble
Storage announced the release of the
an iSCSI compatible
SSD ASAP which has
been optimized for backup and compression performance.
CS240 has 18TB of primary storage and 216TB backup. At launch pricing was
under $3/GB (usable) for primary storage and $0.25/GB for backup storage.
Nexenta streams online tv
Editor:- May 20, 2010 -
that its products (which include
SSD ASAP features)
are being used by the Dutch Public
Broadcasting Agency NPO for storing and delivering online tv in a
configuration which includes 192TB of
hard disk drives and a
1.9TB SSD read cache.
broadcaster's website has approximately 80TB of video available to online
users who want to watch previously broadcasted television programs. During an
average evening, between 10 and 20,000 people stream data, adding up to 25GB in
capacity. The customer (who evaluated multiple vendors ) says that important
selection criteria were:- performance, price, support and power
PMC-Sierra acquires Adaptec's SSD ASAP and RAID business
May 10, 2010 - PMC-Sierra
agreement to acquire Adaptec's channel
storage business for approximately $34 million in cash.
includes Adaptec's RAID storage product line, its global VAR customer base,
board logistics capabilities, and
SSD cache performance
Editor's comments:- I had heard that
Adaptec's storage business was up for sale a few months ago.
storage market outlook
2010 to 2015 article - published last year - I explained why I thought that
the RAID controller
market couldn't stay as it was.
These companies have to get into
offering complete SSD
solutions in the long term. In the short term PMC-Sierra may be able to do a
better job aggregating a bigger percentage of whatever remains of the untied
RAID controller business.
I expect the RAID business (for
hard disks) will
eventually become a consumer / SMB market - while the enterprise storage array
part of this market will morph through an
SSD ASAP phase -
while users struggle to redefine
architectures for the datacenter.
GreenBytes unveils 1U dedupe ASAP
Editor:- March 29,
2010 - GreenBytes
the GB-1000 (under $10,000)
a 1U 4TB SSD accelerated
which supports simultaneous SAN
and NAS deployments.
and restore performance is stated as 0.54TB/hr.
Adaptec's SSD seed corn came from Microsoft
March 25, 2010 - in yet another simulated benchmark
today related to Adaptec's
SSD ASAP caching
technology - which they leverage in their
MaxIQ SSD product - I
learned that the underlying technology was originally developed by
(surprise! surprise!) - Microsoft.
our datacenter team came up with some innovative ideas around using solid state
devices as read caching devices, we determined it made good sense to license
these advances to Adaptec because Microsoft itself doesn't sell these types of
products," said David Kaefer, GM of Intellectual Property Licensing at
Microsoft. "By collaborating through licensing, Adaptec customers benefit
from a product that delivers impressive performance and cost savings over
alternatives in the market."