There is so much innovation going on in the Enterprise SSD space – too much, in fact, to adequately summarize here. So let this serve as a sampling of some of the best enterprise SSD product developments in recent months. If we’ve missed out anything spectacular, note it in the comments box below and we’ll take it up in a follow up article.
NetApp became the first all-flash array provider to offer 15 TB SSDs in a 2.5” form factor. This makes them 50 percent larger than the biggest hard disk drives (HDDs) around. NetApp ONTAP 9 software is also optimized for flash to provide improved performance and capacity utilization. Inline data compaction enables more data to fit in a smaller footprint and brings down the cost of flash.
“With our built in storage efficiencies, users can fit over a 1 PB of capacity onto a single 2U shelf,” said Adam Fore, Director of Solutions and Product Marketing at NetApp. He added that NetApp enterprise SSDs can take as little as 10 minutes to set up. Enterprises can also use ONTAP to centrally manage performance, capacity and data protection across their IT environment. It offers common data services across general purpose server hardware deployments.
If they were going to get bigger in terms of capacity, it makes sense that they should also get slimmer. Accordingly, the SanDisk X400 SSD is said to be the world's thinnest 1 TB SSD. It makes use of the M.2 form factor, which is essentially the size of a stick of gum. At a height of only 1.5mm, it is designed for fast start-up and application launch, as well as having extended battery life.
Violin Memory has unveiled a raft of Disaster Recovery (DR), Business Continuity (BC) and data protection features in arrays such as the Violin 7250, 7600 and 7700. Many of these arrays offer remote asynchronous and synchronous replication, zero return point objective (RPO) and return time objective (RTO) for stretch clusters, automated DR management and WAN optimized replication. On the data protection front, they come with snapshots, transparent LUN mirroring, integration with backup apps, and has low latency even with demanding applications.
The convergence and hyperconvergence crowd really like flash. They are incorporating it into almost all of the latest wave of offerings. Case in point, Rubrik has developed a joint solution consisting of the Rubrik’s r300/r500 Series data management appliance and the Pure Storage FlashArray//m Family. These appliances provide automated backup, instant recovery, unlimited replication and data archiving at scale. Users are said to be experiencing faster time-to-value, reductions in time spent managing storage and backup, lowered data center footprints, reduced latency, smaller RPOs and RTOs, and throughput levels in excess of 250 TB/hour per Rubrik Brik.
Tegile’s website touts “one flash platform, any workload.” As such, its software and hardware flash platform can consolidate mixed application workloads with various SLAs onto an appliance that supports hybrid, all-flash and flash/hybrid deployments. It has mainly been using enterprise-grade high-performance NAND flash. But it has also introduced high-density NAND flash with 8 TB flash modules in a system that is capable of supporting 512 TB of raw flash (with 4TB and 16TB coming). This density helps consolidate onto a single flash platform to reduce overall TCO.
“Tegile’s design has the goal of optimizing highly randomized workloads by isolating metadata and logs into their own containers,” said Chris Tsilipounidakis, Manager of Product Marketing at Tegile. “We achieve this with a patented metadata acceleration technique that isolates and aggregates metadata away from user and application data onto dedicated logical flash devices with optimized I/O paths.”
This technique further boosts performance as I/O is no longer gated by interspersing data with metadata. Additionally, this facilitates inline deduplication without a performance impact as the dedupe table resides on dedicated logical flash devices.
Cisco has eased out of the production of its own SSDs over the past couple of years. Most recently, it dropped its Invicta all-flash product line, which had been utilized in its Unified Compute Systems (UCS) servers. It made sense, therefore, for it to team up with a flash specialist to provide it with a reliable supply of enterprise SSDs. Accordingly, it has struck up a partnership with Tegile Systems.
As part of the deal, Tegile IntelliStack software will integrate with Cisco UCS Director. This enables better orchestration and automation of a converged infrastructure, which is built around UCS elements. This is said to improve consistency, efficiency and speed when managing infrastructure elements such as compute, networking, virtualization and storage (including public clouds such as Amazon and Azure). For instance, this makes it possible to replace manual provisioning of private and public cloud resources with automated workflows.
“Extending our partnership with Cisco provides flexibility and power for our enterprise customer base to increase their efficiency and leverage public cloud providers,” said Rob Commins, Vice President of Marketing at Tegile.
With the popularity of enterprise SSD, it’s no surprise that more and more hardware products are turning to flash for an extra boost. EMC, for example, is shipping a range of all-flash VxRail appliances. Configurations available vary from 3.8 TB to 76 TB of flash. In addition, these appliances are integrated, preconfigured, and pre-tested for VMware environments.
According to Chad Sakac, President, VCE (the Converged Platforms Division of EMC), the mass adoption of flash is driven by the desire to run an increasing number of virtual workloads on fewer physical machines combined with the new economics of flash storage. It is possible to combine these to create a 64-node all-flash cluster that delivers 1,792 cores and 1,216 TB of raw storage.
Zadara Storage has unveiled a packaged storage as a service (STaaS) solution known as Zadara Cube. It is sold through the AWS 1-Click program at the AWS Marketplace. It is based on Zadara’s VPSA Storage Array. Although delivered in the public cloud, it offers the same performance, reliability and data management features as Zadara Storage VPSA arrays. It also gives simplified provisioning, and fast ordering via the Amazon Web Services (AWS) interface. There are five NAS (file) and all-SSD (block) configurations from 1.6 TB to 30 TB.
The PernixData Architect 1.1 and FVP version 3.5 platforms for infrastructure analytics and server-side storage acceleration are now available. Based on analysis of data collected from PernixData’s installed base of more than 500,000 VMs, the latest features improve deployment, usability and reporting. This includes a virtual appliance-based management server which eliminates the need to purchase, deploy and manage separate Windows and Microsoft SQL Server instances. A new performance-reporting tool helps quantify the benefits of analytics and acceleration software.
Kaminario K2 is hardware agnostic, and is designed to scale up as well as out. It favors a mesh active/active design. K2 enables organizations to start small at 7 TB to 200TB in 4U of rack space. But it can grow up to 1.44 PB in 26U.