Anobit Claims Enterprise SSD Performance from MLC

Anobit today unveiled new MLC-based solid state drives (SSDs) that the company claims are every bit as reliable as pricier SLC drives.

The four-year-old Israeli firm says its Memory Signal Processing (MSP) technology and controller improve MLC reliability by a factor of 16, with a write endurance rating of 50,000 cycles, comparable to SLC.

“We are going to reshape the industry,” said Anobit marketing vice president Dror Salee.

Salee said Anobit’s MSP technology adds little to the price of MLC NAND, which costs about 75 percent less than SLC NAND.

Anobit’s Genesis SSDs drives offer 30,000 read IOPS and 20,000 write IOPS performance and end-to-end data protection. The performance is half that of enterprise SSD leader STEC’s (NASDAQ: STEC) ZeusIOPS drives, but presumably the difference in price is even greater.

“We are being evaluated by all the big vendors in the industry,” said Salee, including a “close collaboration” with a “very large” storage OEM. EMC (NYSE: EMC) has been the early leader in enterprise SSD adoption, thanks to its partnership with STEC.

Anobit isn’t saying much about its technology other than it is using a “mathematic method to combat physical limitations,” said Salee. The company’s press release calls the technology “proprietary algorithms that compensate for the physical limitations of NAND Flash.”

Unlike other MLC-based technology like SandForce, “We don’t compress data — we solve it at the physical level,” Salee said.

Salee said Anobit bests Micron’s (NASDAQ: MU) EMLC technology on both price and reliability.

SSD analyst Jim Handy of Objective Analysis told Enterprise Storage Forum that “it’s a little hard to tell how much of a breakthrough this is since SSD companies with proprietary controllers and SSD controller makers reveal so little about their designs.”

Nonetheless, Handy noted a number of interesting features about Anobit’s technology.

“This is the first controller I know of that takes into account the particular NAND chip design the controller is being teamed with,” he said, noting that it will, for example, correct errors differently for a Samsung chip than for a Toshiba chip.

“One interesting fact is that Anobit has been in the ECC business for a long time, selling error correction algorithms to other controller makers, giving them a good bit of insight into each NAND design’s idiosyncrasies,” Handy said.

“The company has also done a lot of extra characterization work that is not disclosed by NAND chip makers’ specifications,” said Handy. “Few SSD makers go that extra mile. The only others who have told me they did that are Fusion-io and SandForce.”

Anobit Genesis SSDs are available for OEM qualification in 200GB and 400GB capacities, with SATA interfaces for the first generation and SAS planned for the second. SAS and Fibre Channel can be supported via external bridging.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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