Texas-Sized Solid State Storage Performance

Texas Memory Systems (TMS) is debuting a RAM-based solid state disk drive (SSD) for enterprises able to say “price be damned” in exchange for intense performance, fast speed and high storage capacity.

Starting at $140,000, the RamSan-440 quadruples current available RAM-SSD capacity and can handle up to 600,000 inputs/outputs per second (IOPS), according to the vendor. The four-unit rack-mount chassis scales to 512 gigabytes of storage capacity.

“This kind of RAM-based SSD is at the top of the performance pyramid,” said Jeff Janukowicz, an IDC analyst who covers solid state drives & HDD components.

“It’s really about performance,” he said. “There are always applications that require higher-level performance and data centers that are looking to increase the number of transactions.”

The announcement is also another validation point for SSD technology, which has begun to make inroads into high-end enterprise storage, starting with EMC’s (NYSE: EMC) entry in January.

A year ago, an IDC report predicted that SSDs were ready to hit the mainstream and that the technology’s performance and mobility-related requirements will push SSD revenues from $373 million in 2006 to $5.4 billion by 2011.

The new TMS offering is aimed at environments in which downtime or processing lags aren’t tolerated.

“That’s where we expect TMS’ solution to be implemented, as it allows organizations to increase performance and manage high transaction volumes and larger numbers of concurrent users,” said Janukowicz, adding the product is attractive for several markets, including financial, telecom, e-commerce and data warehousing.

The price for such capacity hasn’t thwarted adoption, as the product is already deployed among customers, according to Woody Hutsell, executive vice president at TMS.

“This represents a real breakthrough in the evolution of the RamSan-400 line and answers the challenge we were facing to provide greater capacity,” said Hutsell.

“RAM-based systems have always been more expensive, and while this reflects a higher cost, the customers are not concerned as it’s a needed technology for accelerating most important applications,” Hutsell said.

Per-gigabyte costs with RAM solutions average about $700, while flash-based averages about $150 per gigabyte, according to experts.

The product also provides efficiencies, as enterprises need fewer servers and less power, Janukowicz noted. “That translates into lower cost and administration efforts,” the analyst said.

The RamSan-400, which can be hooked up to a SAN or deployed directly using Fibre Channel ports, uses RAID-protected Flash memory modules for backup of RAM-based data.

It can back up or restore the entire 512GB of data in 6 minutes, according to the vendor, thanks to a new I/O technology the vendor debuted last month. The Instant-On Input-Output (IO²) technology lets enterprises gain instant access to data from RAM-based SSDs once a unit is powered on. Before the innovation, it could take up to two hours to access a half-terabyte of data from SSD memory.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

Judy Mottl
Judy Mottl
Judy Mottl is an experienced technology journalist who has served as a senior editor, reporter, writer, and blogger for InformationWeek, Investors Business Daily, CNET, and Information Security Magazine, as well as other media outlets.
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