Texas Memory Systems Announces Densest RamSan Yet

Posted on February 28, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez

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Texas Memory Systems continues to push the limits of its all-flash SAN systems -- and the 1U form factor -- with the release of the RamSan-820.

Billed as the "ultimate application accelerator," the RamSan-820 is available in capacities of 12 TB or 24 TB, resulting in the densest flash storage system offered by Texas Memory Systems. In real-world testing, it has achieved sustained I/O rates of up to 450,000 IOPS for reads or writes.

The RamSan-820 can accommodate double the capacity of its predecessor, the RamSan-720. But that's not the only difference between the two models. Whereas the RamSan-720 is outfitted with fast, durable single-level cell (SLC) flash chips, the RamSan-820 employs an enterprise-grade version of multi-level cell (MLC) technology called eMLC.

MLC is typically used in consumer products. However, Texas Memory Systems claims it has managed to leverage innovations like its proprietary wear-leveling technology for an MLC-based storage system that is "faster, more resilient, and much easier to manage than consumer-grade MLC Flash."

RamSan-820 also boasts system-level RAID 5, which complements module-level RAID 5 technology to safeguard data "both within and across Flash Modules" for an all-encompassing data protection capability that the company calls 2D Flash RAID. Bolstering the system's data integrity features are hot spare support and redundant power subsystems. Network connectivity options include four 8 Gbps Fibre Channel or four 40 Gbps quad data rate (QDR) InfiniBand ports.

RamSan-OS's Green Balancing Act

Texas Systems is taking the opportunity to offer a glimpse at the reasoning that governs the development of its RamSan-OS, and to take a swipe at the competition.

RamSan-OS was designed to run utilizing both CPUs and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The aim is to provide snappy performance and promote energy efficiency by splitting the workload. The lowest levels of the operating system are handled by FPGA chips, which offer low-power, low-latency computing. Complex operations and less performance-critical functionality are handled by the CPU -- a PowerPC processor in this case.

By contrast, other flash storage vendors let general-purpose processors do all the work, driving up power requirements. So confident is Texas Memory Systems in its energy-saving approach -- up to 75 percent less energy intensive, it claims -- that it "includes a Watt-meter with every RamSan system for comparison purposes."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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