SanDisk Launches Company's First All-Flash Arrays, InfiniFlash

By Pedro Hernandez

Add SanDisk to the list of companies that are leveraging flash storage arrays to tackle big data.

The Milpitas, Calif.-based provider of flash chips and solid-state drives (SSDs), announced this week the launch of InfiniFlash, the company's first storage arrays. Three models make up the product line, the IF100, IF500 and IF700.

InfiniFlash is squarely aimed at the growing market for big data analytics solutions, particularly Hadoop, MongoDB and Cassandra workloads. The company also hopes the arrays find homes in media streaming companies and content repositories with high-performance data access requirements.

The modular arrays provide up to 512 terabytes (TB) of flash in a 3U enclosure. According to the company's performance figures, the arrays can hit the 1 million input/output operations per second (IOPS) benchmark at 1 millisecond latency.

SanDisk is banking on another factor: pricing.

The systems provide enterprise data storage and services at under $1 per gigabyte (GB) or under $2 per GB before data reduction kicks in. In a statement, SanDisk's Sumit Sadana, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, said his company was "very excited to bring our first all flash array storage system to market in the form of a category-defining product that we expect will drive flash into big-data workloads at massive scale."

"By offering InfiniFlash below $2/GB before compression and de-duplication, we are changing the industry dynamics in favor of dramatically broader flash adoption in new hyperscale and enterprise workloads," he continued.

IDC research director Eric Burgener said in prepared remarks that SanDisk's new hardware stands to give traditional high-end arrays a run for their money. "Big Data Flash solutions consistently deliver sub-millisecond latencies, scale to hundreds of PBs, exhibit enterprise class reliability, availability, and serviceability, and bring the secondary economic benefits of flash deployment at scale to big data applications – all at a $/GB price point comparable to that of 15K RPM HDD systems," he stated.

Instead of off-the-shelf SSDs, InfiniFlash arrays are loaded with hot-swappable "cards" – up to 64 – each offering 8 TB of flash storage. Eight serial-attached SCSI (SAS) 2.0 ports provide server connectivity.

SanDisk ION Accelerator software, from Fusion-io, provides block storage acceleration for business applications. SanDisk snapped up Fusion-io last year for $1.1 billion. Scalable block and object data services are based on Ceph, the open-source, flash-enabled distributed storage software foundation.

SanDisk has already lined up at least one major partner in bringing InfiniFlash to market. Hinting that the tech will show up in his company's wares and citing increased demand for high-performance storage systems for customer big data initiatives, Dell's Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager of engineered solutions for the company said in a statement that the "appliance innovations such as InfiniFlash not only address these critical customer success metrics but also deliver on the promise that big data insights can drive differentiated business results."

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

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on March 05, 2015