Avere adds SSDs to tiered NAS appliances

By Dave Simpson

-- Avere Systems this week added solid-state disk (SSD) drives to its "tiered NAS" appliances, which also have DRAM and NVRAM storage tiers. The appliances are designed to accelerate performance and minimize latency in NAS environments by automatically migrating data to the most appropriate tier based on access patterns and workload type. The tiered NAS appliances sit between CIFS/NFS clients/servers and a standard NFS NAS appliance.

When the startup entered the market last October, its appliances (the FXT 2300 and FXT 2500) had DRAM, NVRAM and 15,000rpm SAS hard drive tiers (see "Avere introduces 'tiered NAS'"). The lowest tier in an Avere environment is a NAS appliance, typically configured with SATA or Fibre Channel drives.

The appliance introduced today, the FXT 2700, can be configured with up to eight 64GB X25-e SSD drives from Intel, for a total SSD capacity of 512GB per appliance. The SSD drives are based on single-level cell (SLC) technology, as opposed to lower-cost multi-level cell (MLC) flash technology.

"We considered using MLC SSDs, but there is clearly a perception among our customers that SLC is more enterprise-ready," says Ron Bianchini, Avere's president and CEO.

To address the endurance issues associated with flash SSD drives, Avere relies on Intel's wear-leveling technology in conjunction with the FXT 2700's ability to concatenate and aggregate writes in NVRAM before the writes are committed to the SSDs.

A 2U FXT 2700 includes 64GB of DRAM, 1GB of NVRAM and 512GB of SSD capacity. Connection options include ten 1GbE ports or a combination of two 10GbE and two 1GbE ports. List pricing starts at $82,500 per appliance.

The systems can be clustered with up to 25 nodes for maximum capacities of 1.6TB of DRAM and 13TB of SSD.

Depending on the size of the working set, the FXT 2700 can provide up to a 10X performance improvement over the FXT 2300/2500.

Related articles:
Avere introduces "tiered NAS"
Startup Gridstore addresses 'NAS sprawl'
It's not your father's NAS anymore

This article was originally published on January 26, 2010