The 10 Coolest Flash Storage And SSD Products Of 2015

All-Flash Storage Industry In 2015 Matures: Performance Skyrockets, Prices Plummet

While the years up to and including 2014 saw the rise of the flash storage industry led by a growing number of startups in the market that nimbly danced around the mature legacy storage vendors, 2015 saw those legacy storage vendors roar back with a vengeance with solutions that could compete in performance and price.

The result was an explosion in the adoption of high-performance all-flash storage arrays featuring prices that made them competitive with disk-based storage in all but a dwindling number of workloads, with renewed competition between the legacy storage vendors and the nimble startups getting serious.

CRN has collected 10 interesting and unique ways storage vendors have applied flash technology. Check out how to get mind-boggling performance in the data center.

If you missed it, be sure to take a look back at the rest of the best of 2015 with CRN.

Dell Intros TLC 3D NAND Flash, Brings All-Flash To $1.66/GB Raw

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell in June unveiled what it called the first all-flash storage array to feature TLC 3D NAND technology, which the company said brings the cost of all-flash storage solutions to as low as $1.66 per raw GB of capacity.

Dell added the new TLC 3D NAND memory from Samsung in its SC4020 all-flash storage arrays and hybrid storage array, as well as in its SC8000 family. Dell said the new flash technology fits in with Dell's multitier storage architecture as a tier where data is read from but seldom written to because TLC 3D NAND memory wears out faster with multiple data writes but is not affected by data reads.

New HP 3Par Brings All-Flash Storage To About $19,000, Offers Enhanced Software

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in August expanded its 3Par all-flash storage array line with a complete refresh of its midrange systems and the addition of a new lower-cost model and a new starter bundle for its higher-end versions.

The midrange 3Par 8000 series from Palo Alto, Calif.-based HPE, which at the time was known as Hewlett-Packard, offered a significant performance boost over its older 7000 series. The four models of the 3Par 8000 series allow capacity to scale to up to 5.5 PB of flash storage capacity with list prices starting at about $1.50 per GB. This includes the entry-level 3PAR 8200, a new all-flash storage array that features a starting net street price of $19,497 with dual controllers and 6 TB of usable capacity.

HDS Unveils Its First All-Flash Array Family, With Focus On Performance And Cost

Hitachi Data Systems in November unveiled its first all-flash storage array family. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company based its new VSP F family of all-flash arrays on its new self-designed FMD DC2 flash modules. Those modules, combined with built-in automatic data compression and the company's own storage controllers, brings the cost-per-GB to as low as less than $2.

HDS introduced three models in the new VSP F family. All three offer raw flash capacity from 14.4 TB to 256 TB, or post-compression capacity of up to 448 TB. They differ primarily in the performance, which ranges up to 1.4 million IOPS and less than 1 millisecond of latency.

IBM FlashSystem 900/V9000

IBM early this year launched two new FlashSystem all-flash arrays, the FlashSystem 900 designed as premier Tier 0 high-performance storage, and the FlashSystem V9000 Tier 1 enterprise storage platform. They are built around IBM FlashCore technology that integrates Micron MLC flash components to improve data protection and reliability. Real-time compression technology can provide up to 5:1 compression.

The all-flash arrays can be configured for Tier 0 or all-flash Tier 1 solutions as part of an IBM hybrid storage architecture, as part of a virtualized infrastructure with heterogeneous storage, or as cross-geography block, file, and object workloads that integrate tape.

Kaminario Brings All-Flash Storage To Less Than $1 Per Usable GB

The new K2 v5.5 all-flash storage array from Kaminario, released to the channel in August, brings the lowest price point in flash storage to less than $1 per usable GB, or 50 percent of the price of its competitors, the Newton, Mass.-based vendor said.

The K2 v5.5 takes advantage of low-cost 3-D TLC flash technology with support for 3-D TLC drives, giving enterprise customers the ability to boost effective capacity to more than 360 TB per K-block module and scale a single K2 array to multi-petabytes. The array also includes native array-based asynchronous replication for ease in deploying disaster recovery solutions. Its Perpetual Array feature also lets customers seamlessly update hardware without downtime or forklift upgrades.

NetApp Shows Off New Sub-$25K All-Flash Array

NetApp, Sunnyvale, Calif., in June showed off its new All Flash FAS (AFF) 8000 array series, which leverages the company's NetApp Data ONTAP storage operating system to ensure compatibility with its entire FAS solution line.

There are four models in the new AFF8000 family, all of which have a maximum raw capacity of up to 4.6 PB in an all-NAS configuration, or 1.5 PB in an all-SAN configuration. The primary difference is the amount of memory and the maximum number of 10-Gbit Ethernet ports and PCIe slots available.

The AFF8000 is available with a starting street price of $25,000, which includes dual controllers, 5 TB of raw capacity, and the same software included with all NetApp arrays.

OCZ Storage Solutions Intros Host Managed SSD Technology

San Jose, Calif.-based OCZ Storage Solutions, part of Toshiba's storage business, in October introduced its new Host Managed SSD (HMS) technology as part of its new Saber 1000 Series SSDs. HMS technology enables host controls over internal SSD background processing tasks that were previously not exposed to host-level software. By controlling such background processing tasks at a system level, the company claims a significant boost in performance along with consistent and predictable latency across a large pool of SSDs.

The HMS-enabled Saber 1000 SSDs are managed by software APIs. OCZ provides a reference design and demonstration platform. The Saber 1000 SATA Series offers usable capacities of 480 GB and 960 GB in a 2.5-inch form factor.

Pure Storage Unveils First Custom-Built Hardware For Its All-Flash Arrays

All-flash storage array specialist Pure Storage in June said it has for the first time designed the hardware for the latest in its line of flash arrays in a move to improve storage performance and density by moving away from a dependence on industry-standard hardware.

New to the Mountain View, Calif.-based Pure Storage lineup is the FlashArray//m, the first model featuring a hardware platform designed by the vendor specifically for use as a flash storage array vs. the commodity hardware the company previously used.

The Pure Storage FlashArray//m fits 120 TB of usable flash storage in a 3U enclosure using only 1 kWh of power. This provides up to 300,000 IOPS using 32-Kb blocks.

SolidFire: Element X Software For Industry-standard Servers

The SolidFire Element X from Boulder, Colo.-based SolidFire is a software solution based on SolidFire's Element operating system, which can be used to turn an industry-standard server into an all-flash storage array.

SolidFire Element X is delivered as software to potential customers who deal with tens of petabytes of capacity per year and for whom IT is a profit center. The software has already been officially validated by SolidFire for use with Dell R630 and Cisco UCS servers, and the company expects to qualify additional platforms as well.

Tegile Systems Intros Hyper-Scale Flash Storage Platform

Tegile Systems, Newark, Calif., in August unveiled its IntelliFlash HD flash storage platform, which it said targets enterprise data centers with the kind of performance and economics seen in hyper-scale data centers. The IntelliFlash HD solution, aimed at Fortune 1000 enterprises looking to consolidate data centers, offers up to 5 million IOPS and 10 PB of effective capacity in a single rack at less than 50 cents per effective GB.

The IntelliFlash HD features a multicontroller scale-up and scale-out architecture to provide up to 512 TB of capacity in a 3U form factor. It also provides unified storage with Fibre Channel, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS and SMB3 access to data. Data services include snapshots, clones, thin provisioning, inline deduplication and compression.