On Monday, Sanbolic will launch Latency Target Allocator (LTA), a Melio SoftSAN software module that brings solid-state drives (SSDs), server-side flash storage — in the form of PCIe caching cards — and traditional hard drives (HDD) under one storage management umbrella.

In much the same way the Watertown, Mass.-based company cracks open Windows Server storage silos and provides scaling and management enhancements for its ShareCenter product, SoftSAN LTA is aimed at extending many of the same benefits for mixed SSD-HDD environments. SoftSAN LTA was developed to address the shortcomings of the flash frenzy that’s gripping the storage market, says Sanbolic CEO and founder Momchil Michailov.

Flash Storage Roadblocks

In discussing how storage vendors are incorporating flash into their offerings, particularly PCIe flash cards, Michailov says that the industry is falling back into its old, proprietary and siloed ways. Despite the many “benefits of flash storage,” he says, most flash storage solutions “have a complete of lack of clustering and HA [high availability].” Often, a PCIe flash card or SSD represents a “single point of failure,” he adds.

What’s more, IT managers just aren’t getting the biggest bang for their flash storage buck.

Take, for instance, “server side flash storage — the problem is that they are inefficient” and operate at a low “30 percent capacity,” claims Michailov. Additionally, constant “mapping and remapping of data of placed on the card” can lower both the card’s performance and durability.

Sanbolic’s answer is the server, storage and hypervisor agnostic Melio SoftSAN LTA platform.

SSD, Server-Side Flash Unleashed

The storage management software presents flash storage — PCIe flash cards and SSDs — and HDD capacity into a volume or volume sets, which in turn are presented as logical drives. “We weave it together, present the user with a single drive letter,” remarks Michailov.

To boost app responsiveness, LTA sends randomly accessed data to flash and sequential data to HDDs. The company’s configurable software RAID (0, 1, 10, 5 and 6) wraps the entire mixed storage environment into a data protection wrapper, assuring high availability.

Melio SoftSAN LTA thereby allows storage administrators to centralize data management across hybrid SSD-HDD storage environments that encompass both flash server-side storage and external arrays. It also signals that the industry is exploring ways to exploit pricey server-side flash beyond application acceleration. Earlier this month, QLogic took the wraps off Mt. Rainier, new host bus adapter (HBA) tech that establishes a shared SSD caching model across several flash-enabled servers and SANs.

Melio SoftSAN LTA solution also offers live storage migration capabilities and an opportunity for IT managers to give legacy storage systems a new lease on life, according to the company.

Sanbolic Melio software with LTA costs $9,600 USD and will be available on October 1st.