Nimbus Data Unveils High-Performance Gemini Flash Arrays With 10-Year Warranty

Nimbus Data Systems on Monday unveiled a new line of flash memory arrays with a 10-year warranty and new ways to manage flash memory the company claims provides future-proof flash storage.

The new Gemini array, the third generation of Nimbus Data's all-flash S-class array family, uses a new controller that actively manages the device's MLC flash memory to provide long-term performance, said Thomas Isakovich, CEO and founder of the South San Francisco-based storage vendor.

The Gemini also includes dual controllers to eliminate any single points of failure, and it supports non-disruptive software updates and servicing, Isakovich said. "We can deliver better than 99.999 percent availability," he said.

[Related: Nimbus Data Adds Flash To eBay, Intros New Flash-based Primary Storage ]

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Central to Gemini's 10-year warranty is a new technology Nimbus Data developed to augment flash memory for writes to the flash drives, which the company develops for its own use, Isakovich said.

"Flash storage writes are typically slower than reads," he said. "Most companies add DRAM in the controller to increase write performance. But, that requires mirroring for high availability. We add DRAM to each flash drive in the array, which lets the controller access the DRAM in multiple devices. There's no need for battery backup in the Nimbus system."

Having a 10-year warranty is an important statement for a flash storage-based array vendor to make, said Amir Fouladgar, major accounts manager at InterVision Systems, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based solution provider and Nimbus Data partner.

"It says, 'We believe in our technology,'" Fouladgar said. "But, we know no one will run technology for 10 years. Will a customer pay for 10 years of support for technology? Probably not. But, it's an important statement for our customers. And, we'll be vetting the technology carefully."

Nimbus Data's controller also includes flash lifecycle management technology, which identifies particular MLC flash memory cells with higher endurance than others and then uses those high-endurance cells more extensively, Isakovich said. As a result, customers can achieve up to 1 petabyte of data movement a week with the device, he said.

The Gemini's HALO software stack provides such features as thin provisioning, auto reclamation of unused space, inline deduplication, and unified SAN and NAS capability, all at no additional charge.

NEXT: Future Proofing Flash Storage

A full rack of Gemini arrays can provide up to 1 petabyte of flash storage capability. Isakovich compared that to standard disk-based arrays, which might require up to eight racks of 15,000-rpm drives to provide the same capacity. The Gemini can reach up to 12 GB per second and over 1 million IOPS performance, Nimbus' Isakovich said.

The new array also includes the ability to switch connectivity between Ethernet and InfiniBand on one model or between Ethernet and Fibre Channel on the other model, depending on how customers' requirements change, Isakovich said.

"It's future-proof," he said. "No matter how customers' protocol needs evolve, the Gemini will be ready for it."

Nimbus Data is a highly technical company, and its products are not something typical solution providers can handle, InterVision's Fouladgar said.

However, for InterVision customers with high-performance Web, media and entertainment applications, it has been a great product line, he said.

"We've gotten Thomas (Isakovich) in front of customers, and we have several POCs [proofs of concept] on-going," he said. "We expect success with the product line, especially once the Gemini is released in the fourth quarter. We've found Nimbus to offer best-of-breed products for our customer base."