HGST Intros FlashMAX III PCIe SSDs and ServerCache Software

By Pedro Hernandez

HGST, a subsidiary of hard drive maker Western Digital, today took the wraps off its new FlashMAX III line of PCIe solid-state drives (SSDs) for cloud and application servers ahead of the industry's Flash Storage Summit in Santa Clara, Calif., which kicks off tomorrow.

Available later this quarter in capacities of 1,100 GB, 1,650GB and 2,200 GB, FlashMAX III drives are half-height, half-length PCIe 3.0 SSDs aimed at SQL servers, big data processing and other enterprise applications that benefit to speedy access to storage. Packed multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash chips, the server add-on cards offer up to 549,000 read IOPS (random 4K) and up to 200,000 mixed sustained random IOPS at a 70:30 ratio of read and writes, respectively.

The 1,100 GB and 2,200 GB models can achieve read throughput rates of up to 2,700 MB per second, while the 1,650 GB version tops out at 2,000 MB per second. The drives can soak up writes at up to 1,400 MB per second (1,000 MB per second for the 1,650 GB SSD).

In terms of drive endurance, FlashMAX III can sustain up to two full drive wipes per day. All models ship with a 5 year warranty.

Joining the drives is HGST's new automated flash storage management software, ServerCache. The software places frequently used data on any SSD to yield an up to a 10x performance improvement over conventional storage, according to the company's estimates.

ServerCache requires "no changes to existing storage infrastructure, applications and backup systems," according to the company, and enables organizations to capitalize on the performance enhancing attributes of flash-based storage using the fewest amount of SSDs.

The software extends those benefits to "any server application hosted on either a Storage Area Network (SAN) or Direct Attached Storage (DAS) system running Windows Server or Linux," said HGST. ServerCache is available now and costs $995 per physical server.

Even if hard disk drives (HDDs) continue to dominate the enterprise storage market, flash is making major inroads, according to Ulrich Hansen, vice president of SSD product marketing at HGST. Arguing that enterprises "are actively looking to add flash into their storage infrastructure," he said in a statement.

Whether all-SSD or hybrid implementations, HGST -- and by extension, Western Digital -- is poised to meet this increased demand. His company's "new hardware and software solutions help strike that balance among performance, complexity and cost," he said.

Finally, the company's research arm announced that it will be demonstrating the "world's fastest SSD" at the Flash Memory Summit (booth 316).

Based on non-volatile Phase Change Memory (PCM) and leveraging low-latency interface protocols, the SSD can deliver a staggering "three million random read IOs per second of 512 Bytes each when operating in a queued environment and a random read access latency of 1.5 microseconds (us) in non-queued settings," boasted HGST in a statement. HGST's CTO Steve Campbell signaled that his company is pushing toward commercialization, remarking that the tech "creates exciting opportunities for new software and system architectures that HGST is exploring with our customers and industry partners."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on August 04, 2014