SSD adoption rises

Vendors such as Fusion-IO, Compellent and LSI support newest Tier 0 storage devices.

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Adoption of solid state drives (SSD) is hot property this week as vendors such as Fusion-IO, Compellent and LSI announced support for the newest Tier 0 storage devices.

Fusion-IO, known for its add-in PCIe-based SSD adapter and because Steve Wozniak is its chief scientist, launched a multi-level cell (MLC) alternative to its single-level cell-based ioDrive. MLC is normally thought of as disposable flash such as that in USB flash drives, but now because of technologies from vendors such as SandForce and Fusion-IO may be considered for use with enterprise-level applications. Most vendors still rely on SLC-based SSDs from vendors such as STEC and Intel.

Anyway, Fusion-IO's new SSD drive uses what the company calls single mode level cell (SMLC), which allows a cost-effective SSD product with the endurance and performance of SLC. Talking to David Flynn, CTO for Fusion-IO, the new SMLC-based device is overprovisioned by approximately 80%, while its SLC ioDrive is overprovisioned by 20%. The company is expected to ship both ioDrive and ioDrive Duo product lines supporting 160GB and 320GB capacity this quarter.

Compellent, one of the first vendors to announce support for SSDs, says it is now shipping SSD-enabled Storage Center arrays. The arrays, which come with software called Data Progression that migrates data into and out of Tier 0 automatically based on the age and frequent access of files.

Further, LSI rolled out new firmware for its 3Ware RAID controllers that supports Intel's SLC-based SSDs. The 3ware 9650SE RAID controllers are PCI Express to Serial ATA RAID controllers. RAID this week also launched a dual-controller version of its Razor SSD. The new redundant version supports both Fibre Channel and SAS-based SSD's and performs at 130,000 IOPs and 1.4GBpc throughput. It is available in 32G or 64GB capacities.

Finally, a start-up called WhipTail Technologies introduced SSD appliances, which are available in 1.5T, 3T and 6TB capacities. Available in a 2U rack-mount configuration, the WhipTail SSD appliances offer a 90% energy savings and a reduced data center footprint of 90%, according to company claims. The appliances, interestingly enough have two Gigabit or two 10G Ethernet interfaces, and perform at 100,000 IOPs and 1.7GBps. A 1.5TB WhipTail appliance starts at $46,000.

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