rackmount SSD vendors?|
|Editor:- are you
searching for rackmount SSD companies? When the number of companies marketing
rackmount SSDs started heading into the 100+ region I removed the long
dangly vendor list which used to be on this page - because it was becoming
unusable. Instead I suggest using the siet search below - and insert the words "rackmount
SSD" along with another criterion which matters to you - such as iSCSI, FC
SAN, fastest etc.|
The product shown below, from
(which is no longer in business) is an example of a
accelerated SAN router which was
featured here on StorageSearch.com in
|rackmount SSD news|
|Skyera unifies 19/20 nm
MLC flash arrays with 100x life |
Editor:- May 21, 2013 - Skyera today
it has added unified storage operation (concurrent NAS and SAN) to its
pre-existing SSD box.
comments:- this was already anticipated and factored in by potential
systems competitors that I've spoken to in the past several quarters.
interesting for me - is the "100x MLC life amplification" figure
recent blog by Skyera's CEO.
When you're asking what's possible
from combining controller
with software efficiencies
(don't do things which are unnecessary to access the true app data - as opposed
to emulating every just-in-case-we-need-it lookahead or spurious hard drive
traffic request) the 100x figure is a useful competitive metric.
all about being at the leading edge of the system
SSD price curve.
See also:- MLC
Seniors live longer in my SSD care home
...Next on the SSD world domination agenda - create better value
in the cost sensitive iSCSI market
Editor:- April 23, 2013 - The iSCSI market hasn't been a
fertile business development ground for SSD sales - a factor which I ascribe
to the mood prevailing at its birth.
At the start of 2001 - when
the idea of iSCSI first attracted interest on the web - the
storage market was still in
a recession which would continue for another 2 years. Users could buy new
or little used servers and storage recycled from the spending spree of failed
dotcom companies for next to nothing. There was already a proven fast way of
doing fast network storage - fibre-channel
which had been around since
1994 (but it was complex to set up). Those various factors meant that iSCSI
evolved - by necessity - into a cheap, simple to set up and maintain storage
ecosystem for frugal applications which needed data.
was nothing hard wired into the technology which prevented it from being scaled
up - most of the early attempts by vendors to nudge iSCSI into the fast lane
with dedicated hardware accelerators failed. There was no real customer
appetite in the iSCSI base to encourage vendors to push for fast random IOPS
or low latency. iSCSI was the frugal way of doing complicated network
That's another reason why - prior to 2013 - none of the top
10 enterprise pure SSD array companies started in iSCSI. There wasn't enough
market demand for the kind of low latency and fast IOPS which could open enough
doors for SSDs in storage cabinets to make it worthwhile. Instead, most of the
iSCSI arrays which have been in the market until recently were originally
developed around technology optimized for FC SAN or were simply iSCSI HDD
arrays with some SSDs thrown into some of the bays. When you saw "iSCSI"
on the datasheet of a fast SSD you knew it had most likely been added
to a model which had already been optimized for another market.
could say that iSCSI has been a safe haven for enterprise
hard drives - because
whenever there has been a tension in the feature set between the cost of
incremental capacity versus the value of incremental performance - it was cost
- and getting the cost down as low as possible - which usually won.
explained in my Petabyte
SSD roadmap article a few years ago why one day - even the mantle of low
cost per raw terabyte wouldn't be enough to protect delinquently slow and
ineffcient hard drives from being evicted from enterprise network storage
racks. And this culture shock will be knocking at the door of the iSCSI market
from various different vendor directions in the coming year - with increasing
I was pondering these factors last week when I was waiting to
Rosenthal, Senior VP Marketing Astute Networks who
wanted to talk about the
of new models in their ViSX family of fast-enough iSCSI rackmount SSDs -
which have upto 45TB of raw SSD storage in a 2U rack which with
can deliver $2,000 / TB and even with dedupe switched off - comes in at about
$5,000 / TB while being able to offer more than double the IOPS of much higher
priced competing SSD systems.
The first thing I asked about was the
company's iSCSI accelerator chip - which is one of the two technology factors
which give them an edge in iSCSI. I had heard about it many years ago - but the
company doesn't say much about it now. Len told me they were now on the 3rd
generation of their iSCSI accelerator chip. The 1st generation had been
designed for a US Navy project to enable fast access to embedded storage
located around a ship while using COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) servers and
In Astute's current ViSX systems I think you can view the
iSCSI accelerator as being the technology which buys the time (in latency cost)
which can then be spent on dependable real-time dedupe.
me that although Astute have always known this gives them a theoretical
performance advantage compared to competitors who use similar types of flash -
it's only when he engaged Demartek
to do some comparative testing recently and gave them a free hand to explore
the differences - that they realized just how good their systems were. (I've
seen summaries of these benchmarks - and they do confirm the advantages of the
Astute's new systems do now seem to offer a hard to
beat SSD package for users in the mainstream iSCSI market. Len described
this as "making flash affordable for the mid market."
earlier generations of iSCSI flash were too expensive for most users. But the
current generation - not only offers attractive pricing - but comes with proven
technologies - and cost effective replication - by what the company calls
availability groups" (pdf)- which enables users to choose which
systems provide failover clustering - and whether that's local or remote. In
addition to providing data continuity when things fail - this scheme can also
provide load balancing and imporved performance in the normal (unfailed)
One of the things which came across clearly from talking to Len
is that Astute Networks is totally focused on the iSCSI SSD market. They
know the market, they know the apps - and they aim to be one of the leading
suppliers in this niche. For them iSCSI isn't something on the tick list - it's
the whole list.
Kaminario drops PCIe and turns to SAS to get costs down in new
Editor:- April 18, 2013 - "You don't have to be
an investment bank like JP Morgan to afford our style of fast, scalable high
availability SSD systems any more" - was the key message I got talking to
VP Business Development at Kaminario earlier
this week when discussing with me aspects of the company's newest series of
FC SAN compatible SSD
arrays - the
K2 v4 (6TB usable per U at a cost of $10K to $15K per TB) which was
Phil was referring to the expectation that their products -
which in the first generation were entirely
RAM based SSDs - and
then moved onto RAM / flash hybrids and then mostly pure flash (the flash
components being implemented in the previous generation of K2's by
Fusion-io's PCIe SSDs
- a relationship direction which I suggested in a much earlier briefing
conversation with Kaminario's CEO few years ago BTW ) - had acquired a
reputation of being out of reach pricewise - and not just in a class of their
own for resilience and
of the ways that Kaminario has pulled off the affordability trick is to drop
PCIe SSDs as the internal flash components and use instead
said before that in the enterprise arrays space - "SAS is the new SATA"
- because there are so many companies which have moved into this segment
that there's stiff competition. Unlike the PCIe SSD market -which is mostly sold
on high performance - the SAS market includes a number of vendors who have been
R/W ECC to enable them to use cheap flash to build reliable
Because Kaminario still has a lot of
RAM cache in
its server based architecture - it doesn't need the raw
and performance of
FIO's ioMemory to deliver multi-gigabyte throughput at the rack level. And
another factor is that Fusion-io itself is on course to become a significant
supplier of rackmount SSDs (although not aimed at the same kind of customers.)
Kaminario didn't want to say which SAS product they're using. They
might say later. But it doesn't really matter.
The K2 v4 also
demonstrates that the key IP component in Kaminario's box is SSD software.
When I suggested that future boxes could equally well discard SAS SSDs if
2.5" PCIe SSDs
offered a better set of characteristics - Phil agreed that the company wasn't
tied to any particular internal SSD drive form factor or interface.
has paid Taneja Group
to do some new testing on the performance aspects of simulated hard faults.
These will be very useful for customers - and take the uncertainty out of the
picture - giving hard numbers for various scenarios.
For example - when
running at just under 200K
5GB/s throughput - an entire node (controller) was removed to simulate a fault.
I/O resumed after 23 seconds and performance dropped by less than 15% for 2
minutes before recovering fully.
Nimbus brings flash SMART plus stats to SSD rackmounts
March 25, 2013 - Nimbus
Data Systems today
new software APIs which support its proprietary
HALO OS based family
of rackmount SSDs
- and report on hundreds of real-time and historical metrics such as:-
flash endurance, capacity utilization, latency, power consumption, deduplication
rates, and overall system health. Another new feature is that sys admins can
monitor their Nimbus
SSD arrays via new apps on Android / Apple phones and tablets.
CEO and founder of Nimbus Data said the new software framework would enable
cloud architects and enterprise customers to gain greater insight into their
flash storage by viewing internal aspects of their flash storage which
mattered to them - rather than simply relying on benchmark indicators which
have been cherry picked by vendors or reviewers
EMC samples XtremIO flash arrays
Editor:- March 5,
2013 - EMC today
new models of PCIe
SSDs which the company claims offer nearly 60% better
TCO than (unnamed
competitors) due to new levels of
half - height, half - length PCIe SSDs are currently available in
2.2TB, while SLC models upto 1.4TB will ship in the 2nd quarter.
also said it's sampling flash
arrays which are designed and
using the big
SSD controller architecture based on leveraging IP from its acquisition
comments:- the industry has been anticipating flash SSDs which use
XtremIO's RAID busting
Details are sketchy right now - but the
from throwing away the old drive array design rulebook and starting again with
a flash foundation while at the same time having control of the complete
SSD software stack can
be impressive - as I learned last year talking to Rado Danilak
CEO of another leading company taking this approach -
we expect EMC's array pricing to come down to Skyera levels?
never happen - because EMC's business carries the legacy burden of too many
hard drives and too many old suits.
But what we could see
instead - is EMC's flash arrays coming down to a price point where the
customer pain is low enough to delay many of them from switching away to
other flash. Which means EMC could still have a future in the
Nimbus ships petabyte SSDs / month
22, 2013 -
Nimbus Data Systems
it has been shipping at the rate of over 1
petabyte of SSD
storage / month.
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.
SanDisk invests in WhipTail
Editor:- December 13,
2012 - WhipTail
it has secured $31 million series C funding from a group of investors which
include SanDisk, an
unnamed "Silicon Valley industry titan" and some named private
equity companies and VCs.
Oracle users evenly split between server and SAN when it comes
to SSD speedup
Editor:- October 11, 2012 - Among other
in a survey of 400 attendees (pdf) which was run by Kaminario at the
recent Oracle OpenWorld
event - it was found that among the 30% of those who had already used flash
SSD acceleration - the use of internal (server based) and external (SAN rack
based) SSDs was split nearly evenly - 48% and 52% respectively.
are we now with SSD software?,
capacities in the server and SAN
Texas Memory Systems to be acquired by IBM
August 16, 2012 - IBM
announced it will
acquire Texas Memory
The deal is expected to close later this year.
Following acquisition close, IBM plans to invest in and support the TMS product
portfolio, and will look to integrate over time TMS technologies into a variety
...read more in SSD news
Pure Storage announces $1 million funding per system shipped
August 15, 2012 - Pure
Storage recently cranked up the heat on its funding to $95 million
with a new
million Series D funding round - which will help expand its
international presence towards Europe.
The company says it has
shipped more than 100 of its production
FlashArrays to customers
since emerging from stealth a year ago.
Fusion-io does a few new things
Editor:- August 2,
2012 - the performance and strategic importance of
SSD software was
reinforced in 2 recent announcements by Fusion-io.
its new ION software
- which is a toolkit for bulding your own network compatible
SSD rack by
adding some Fusion-io SSD cards and their new software to any leading server.
The concept isn't entirely new - because oems have been doing this
with various different brands of
PCIe SSDs for years
and this is a well
established alternative market segment for PCIe SSDs. What is new - is
that it makes the whole thing much easier.
Fusion-io says this new
software product "delivers breakthrough performance over
iSCSI using standard
protocols." (1 million random IOPs (4kB), 6GB/s throughput and 60
microseconds latency in a 1U rack.)
Earlier this week FIO
it was collaborating on getting interoperability in server-side flash and
with NetApp. It's
easier now to write a list of major storage systems oems who aren't doing
something significant with FIO.
Going back to SSD software...
Microsystems created and leveraged the phrase -
Network is the Computer.
I have long thought an apt
reinterpretation of that in this decade is "the SSD is the computer"
- or maybe the "SSD software is the computer" - because the ultimate
characteristics of fast computers are determined more by the SSD architecture
which is installed - than by the same old CPU chips.GridIron's SSDs can
serve hundreds of concurrent databases effectively
30, 2012 - GridIron
Systems describes the setup required to exceed 1 million (4kB) IOPS in
a 40x MySQL environment with mirroring - all in a single cabinet (including
servers) using its
SSD systems (upto 80TB in this configuration), and some 10GbE and 16GbFC
fabric switches in a new
"In large-scale MySQL environments it's not uncommon to see
hundreds or even thousands of database servers," said Dennis Martin,
President of Demartek
(which tested this configuration). "This reference architecture opens a
new, more efficient architectural approach for serving increasing numbers of
users and database queries per cabinet."
Pure Storage says what you can do with those hard drive arrays
May 16, 2012 - Pure
Storage today published a new
video on YouTube which
pokes fun at the idea of hanging onto
hard drive arrays and
suggests what you can do with them. The 142 second video packs a lot of humor
into its tour of why their way of doing
flash is cheaper and better. And it includes
a new generation of fast-enough
(100K write IOPS)
HA/FT SSD arrays
today - with upto 100TB compressed capacity - which are clustered around
not great fan of SSD videos - because they mostly waste time - but this one
will be added to my favorites
list later today - because it's amusing and speaks for the SSD industry.