The 10 Top SSD And Flash Storage Products Of 2018 (So Far)

All-flash All The Time

Flash storage is the storage media of choice for applications requiring the highest performance. And new high-performance NVMe technology and the up-and-coming server-class memory, combined with improved software increasing flash reliability, availability, and density, flash storage is filtering to an ever-wider range of IT and industrial applications.

As a result, the all-flash array market is booming. Analyst firm IDC estimated that first quarter 2018 all-flash array storage revenue reached $2.1 billion, up 54.7 percent over the first quarter of 2017. That means all-flash storage sales accounts for about one-third of the entire worldwide external enterprise storage systems market.

CRN has been watching the developments carefully. Turn the page, and take a look at some of the coolest of those developments so far in 2018.

(For more on the biggest news of 2018, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review.").

AIC Just A Bunch Of Flash

The new J2024-04 fabric-attached JBOF (just a bunch of flash) from AIC is a new 2U dual-controller all-flash NVMe appliance targeting high-performance applications including massive databases with scale-out storage and real-time analytics for cloud and large-scale data centers.

The J2024-04 is equipped with 24 dual-port U.2 NVMe SSD drives, dual CRPS (Intel Common Redundant Power Supplies) standard power supplies, and four PCIe x16 slots connecting to 4 BCM58800 NetXtreme S-Series PCIe storage adapters. The City of Industry, Calif.-based said the appliance offers over 10 million IOPS of sustained fabric performance.

Dell EMC PowerMax

Dell EMC's new PowerMax all-flash array, formerly known as the VMAX, was built from the ground-up with the latest storage media technologies including NVMe flash storage and future server-class memory. The entry version scales to up to 1 petabyte of effective capacity across two "PowerBricks" after in-line deduplication and compression, with up to 1.7 million IOPs of performance. The PowerMax 8000 scales to up to 4 petabytes across eight PowerBricks, with up to 10 million IOPs.

The PowerMax represents Dell EMC's first entry in the implementation of machine learning. Its new PowerMaxOS storage operating system leverages years of performance and maintenance data collected from the VMAX installed base and real-time data within the array itself to make decisions about such things as what data or block goes on what tier of storage to free up high-performance tiers.

HPE Nimble Storage

Hewlett Packard Enterprise in May expanded its HPE Nimble Storage platform. The latest version, designed to take advantage of both NVMe flash storage and storage-class memory, is backed by an HPE guarantee to deliver the best storage efficiency of any all-flash array and a guarantee to meet the storage efficiency of an all-flash competitor or HPE will provide the storage capacity for free.

The new HPE Nimble Storage all-flash arrays include a 99.9999-percent guaranteed availability along with the company's InfoSight predictive analytics. They allow hybrid and secondary flash technology in a single array, and support inline variable deduplication.

Hitachi Vantara VSP F-series

Hitachi Vantara introduced new versions of its VSP F-series all-flash arrays. The new arrays feature increased hardware capabilities as well as a new version of Hitachi Vantara's Storage Virtualization OS that, when combined, increase performance by up to three times that of their predecessors, according to the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company. All are bundled with the company's Foundation software package including infrastructure analytics and copy data management applications.

Included in the new arrays is the all-flash VSP F350 which, with the Foundation software package, has a starting list price of $70,480. The F350, at that price, includes 7.6 TB of raw flash storage capacity, a 36-month standard maintenance contract, Hitachi Storage Advisor for management, Hitachi Data Instance Director for data protection and copy management, and the Hitachi Infrastructure Analytics Advisor.

iXsystems TrueNAS M-series

Enterprise open source servers and software-defined storage developer iXsystems started shipping the TrueNAS M40 and M50 hybrid unified storage product line earlier this year. The San Jose-based company's TrueNAS M-Series combines NVMe and NVDIMM technology with Intel Xeon Scalable processors with support for 100-Gbit Ethernet and 32-Gbit Fibre Channel networking. The TrueNAS M-Series delivers up to 10 petabytes of highly-available and flash-powered network attached storage, and can be used as a unified file, block, and object sharing solution with SMB, NFS, AFP, iSCSI, Fibre Channel, and S3 protocol support. It also supports replication to the Amazon S3, BackBlaze B2, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure cloud platforms.

Micron Quad-Level Cell NAND SSD

Micron Technology recently started shipping what the Boise, Idaho-based semiconductor company called the industry’s first SSD built on quad-level cell (QLC) NAND technology. The Micron 5210 ION SSD offers a 33-percent increase in bit density compared to triple-level cell (TLC) NAND.

The Micron 5210 ION SSD, with its high-density 64-layer 3D NAND structure, is targeted at read-intensive, performance-sensitive cloud storage workloads in artificial intelligence, big data, business intelligence, content delivery, and database systems. By this fall, it will be available in a 2.5-inch form factor in capacities ranging from 1.92 Tbytes to 7.68 Tbytes.

NetApp AFF A800

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NetApp called its new AFF A800 the world's first NVMe end-to-end array. The AFF A800 features a latency of under 200 microseconds, with data transfer of up to 300 Gbytes per second and performance of up to 11.4 million IOPS in a 24-node cluster. It comes ready to attach to high-speed 16-Gbps and 32-Gbps Fibre Channel networks, and is ready for upcoming 100-Gbps Ethernet networks.

The AFF A800 has an enhanced version of NetApp's Active IQ web-based analytics software that provides predictive analytics for technical support based on information from the 3.5 billion data points collected from the field each day. The new version of Active IQ adds predictive analysis of future performance expectations, automatically detects unprotected data volumes, and makes recommendations about what workloads would benefit from all-flash storage.

Nimbus Data 100-Tbybe ExaDrive SSDs

Nimbus Data in March introduced a new model of its ExaDrive SSD family which the Irvine, Calif.-based company claimed as the world's highest-capacity SSD. The new ExaDrive SSDs feature a raw capacity of 100 Tbytes, or about three-times that of other larger-capacity SSDs, the company said. The new SSDs offer up to 100,000 read/write IOPS, and come with an unlimited write guarantee of five years.

Pure Storage FlashArray//X

Pure Storage used its Pure//Accelerate conference this Spring to introduce the FlashArray//X family of arrays based on end-to-end NVMe shared storage. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company's all-NVMe FlashArray//X family features five configurations, from the NVMe-ready //X10 for small application deployments to the all-NVMe //X90 with up to 3 petabytes of effective capacity in a 2U footprint with a latency of as low as 250 microseconds and the ability to unite SAN and DAS into a single, consolidated, and shared data-centric architecture.

Pure Storage also updated its Purity Operating Environment, with version 5.1 available as a non-disruptive upgrade for all FlashArray//M and FlashArray//X customers to increase data reduction by up to 20 percent. And, like all Pure Storage FlashArray//X arrays, it is built on the company's Evergreen Storage architecture for non-disruptive upgrades over time.

Samsung Small Form Factor 8-Tbyte NVMe SSD

Korea-based Samsung recently introduced what the company called the industry’s highest capacity NVMe solid state drive based on the next-generation small form factor. The new F1 NVMe SSDs feature 8 Tbytes of capacity. Up to 72 of the 8-Tbyte NF1 SSDs can be combined to bring what Samsung termed the world’s highest storage density of 576 Tbytes in a 2U server. The new SSDs have been optimized for data-intensive analytics and virtualization applications in next-generation data centers and enterprise server systems.