Skyera: SSD Arrays for All

Posted on August 15, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez

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San Jose, Calif.-based Skyera is unveiling new, all-SSD arrays ahead of the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara next week.

Called Skyhawk, the arrays will help speed the uptake of flash storage in the enterprise, according to the company. Skyhawk storage hardware, informs Tony Barbagallo, vice president of marketing for Skyera, is an "all flash enterprise storage array that is at a price point for mainstream enterprise adoption."

"At the price point we're hitting, our competitors are the entrenched spinning disk guys," said Barbagallo.

Skyhawk arrays provide up to 44 terabytes of raw capacity in a half-depth 1U form factor. At a price of just under $3 per gigabyte, Skyhawk's value proposition drops to $0.99 with deduplication and compression. All told, Skyhawk can deliver up to 3.6 GB per second up to 1 million IOPs, according to the company’s estimates.

Skyhawk uses SSDs based on multi-level cell (MLC) flash instead of hardier, enterprise-grade high-end single-level (SLC) technology. To bridge the durability gap between the two, Skyera "built the system from the bottom up," says Barbagallo, complete with "our own flash controller."

The main challenge in using MLC-based SSDs for data center workloads, said Barbagallo, revolves around how many writes the flash chips can endure. While most MLC SSDs can comfortably tolerate 1,000 to 2,000 write cycles and "vendors that have gotten eMLC to 100,000 writes," he says Skyera has managed to get MLC "into that 100K write vicinity" thanks to its home-spun tech and a talent pool that includes flash designers.

Additionally, the company employs adaptive error-correcting code (ECC) and proprietary algorithms that tune partitions throughout the flash chips' lifetime that extend the life of the MLC SSDs to five years under enterprise workloads.

On the networking side, the company is out to squeeze the most bandwidth out the Skyhawk with a proprietary bus. It offers 40, 1-gigabit Ethernet and three, 10-gigabit ports that the company says simplifies connectivity and eliminates data path bottlenecks.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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