New Flash Memory, SSD Devices Drive Storage, Application Performance

Performance Solutions When SSD Just Isn't Enough

More sophisticated Flash-based memory technology including PCIe-based storage accelerators and new bundles featuring Flash memory and management software are making it possible to take storage performance to new heights.

Add-on SSDs for arrays, PCIe-based Flash memory modules for servers, SSD-based cache devices sitting between servers and storage, and even all-SSD or all-Flash arrays are now available to help customers increase the performance of their applications far beyond what they could get with spinning disk.

CRN has brought together information on nine new products introduced in the first quarter of 2012 that illustrate the diversity of solutions for improving storage performance. Continue on and starting thinking about what might work for your customers.

Drobo: First Time Support For SSDs

SMB storage vendor Drobo in March introduced its B1200i iSCSI SAN array for business customers, the first the company has offered that supports SSDs. The B1200i features automated data-aware tiering which allows it to access the SSDs for applications requiring high-speed access to data. Drobo is using Talos SAS SSDs from OCZ for the B1200i.

EMC: "Project Lightning" Becomes VFCache

EMC's new VFCache, formerly known as "Project Lightning," was formally unveiled as the company's first PCIe Flash-based storage solution that sits in servers and works with external arrays to increase storage performance across multiple tiers from the server to the cloud.

VFCache plugs into a standard PCIe slot inside a customer's server to provide a high-speed cache where data can be accessed at low-latency speeds. EMC said it improves performance via a 300-percent throughput boost and a 60-percent latency decrease in Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle environments when using the VFCache with the company's VMAX, VMAXe, VNX, and VNXe arrays.

Intel: New Higher-Performance SSD

Intel introduced the Intel SSD 520, a new model featuring a 6-Gbps SATA interface developed using the company's 25-nanometer (nm) NAND memory process technology.

The Intel SSD 520 uses an LSI SandForce Flash storage processor, and delivers up to 80,000 maximum 4K random write IOPS (IOs per second) and up to 50,000 4K random read IOPS, as well as sequential read performance of up to 550 MBps and sequential write performance of up to 520 MBps. Capacities range from 60GB to 480GB. For security, the drives include AES 256-bit encryption.

Kaminario: Enhancing All-Flash Storage Data Protection

Kaminario, a Newton, Mass.-based provider of high performance, all solid-state Flash and DRAM SAN storage solutions, introduced DataProtect, a new enterprise high availability and data protection software for its K2 line of all solid-state SAN storage system.

DataProtect provides the Kaminario K2 arrays such data protection features as striping and mirroring of data across multiple nodes, automatic reconfiguration of a running system in case of a failure that might otherwise disrupt operations, over 8,000 high-speed snapshots, and asynchronous replication for high performance disaster recovery and remote backup.

Nimbus Data: New Partner Program

Nimbus Data Systems, a South San Francisco, Calif.-based developer of all-Flash-based storage systems, recently introduced its new FlashPoint Partner Program for solution providers

Nimbus' FlashPoint program includes a favorable discount schedule and a substantial deal registration bonus for partners.

OCZ: New PCIe Flash Storage Solution

San Jose, Calif.-based SSD maker OCZ Technologyrecently introduced its new Z-Drive R4 CloudServ PCIe Flash storage solution, which it is using to target the acceleration of cloud computing applications.

OCZ's Z-Drive R4 CloudServ can transfer multiple gigabytes per second, and delivers up to 1.4 million IOPS (I/Os per second). It can be employed as a high-performing host-based Flash cache that works in conjunction with the company's VXL virtual acceleration caching software to dynamically allocate flash resources to accelerate all virtual machines running on a host server to maximize the performance of critical applications. Capacity ranges from 300 GBs to 16 TBs.

SanDisk: Performance In A Small Package

SanDisk, Milpitas, Calif., recently introduced the SanDisk X100 SSD. The 2.5-inch form factor X100 is based on MLC (multi-level cell) technology, and is available in capacities up to 512GB. It features a 6-Gbps SATA interface, multi-streaming features, and tiered caching technology. The X100 offers up to 500 MBps sequential read and 420 MBps sequential write speeds.

Tegile: Startup Using SSD, Flash Memory To Speed App Performance

Tegile Systems, a Newark, Calif.-based storage startup, last month came out of stealth mode with its first product, the Zebi hybrid storage arrays. The Zebi arrays feature both SSDs and high-capacity spinning hard drives, and use the SSDs in combination with a large Flash memory cache to accelerate application performance in both SAN and NAS environments. The Zebi arrays also feature deduplication, compression, replication, and snapshot capabilities.

Texas Memory Systems: New PCIe Flash Bundle With NEVEX

TMS this month introduced the RamSan-80, a 450-GB eMLC Flash-based PCIe board integrated with CacheWorks software from Toronto-based NEVEX Virtual Technologies aimed at accelerating IO-intense applications and alleviating latency in virtualized applications.

The RamSan-80 plugs into a server's PCIe connector to provide a fast, direct connection to memory resources in order to minimize latency issues caused by disk or RAID controllers, network protocols, switches, as other hardware and software in NAS and SAN topologies. NEVEX CacheWorks optimizes virtual application performance and leverages the Windows memory cache to make better use of existing storage capacity. The bundle is now shipping.