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Enterprise flash arrays pack in more storage with denser media

Stephen Lawson | Aug. 13, 2013
Sub-20nm flash can hold more data in the same space but challenges loom for next generations.

The company has also added more enterprise features, including Fibre Channel interfaces and redundancy for high availability. It's the type of complete system that Skyera envisioned when it was formed in 2010, Barbagallo said. The skyHawk was a similar product that the company was able to bring out quickly for use in certain settings, including military applications. It will remain available.

The skyEagle's greater density, combined with general cost declines from the evolution of flash, allowed Skyera to drop the list price for the skyEagle to US$1.99 per gigabyte. Counting compression and deduplication, it will cost just $0.49 per gigabyte, Barbagallo said.

To make MLC flash resilient enough for enterprises, Skyera applies its own controller and other technologies. The new, more dense media made the company go even further, Barbagallo said. Skyera is now working with flash media vendors to optimize their products for the skyEagle, Barbagallo said. "What we could get away with in 20-nanometer land, we can't get away with in 16-nanometer land," he said.

Violin Memory is introducing the Violin 6264 Flash Memory Array, which has twice the capacity of its current 6232 array in the same 3U form factor. Power consumption per gigabyte is half what it was in the 6232, said Narayan Venkat, vice president of product management.

Because the 6264 array has more capacity in the same size box, it reaches a rough price parity with fast HDD platforms, even before compression or deduplication, Venkat said. The 6232, though faster than those drives, costs about one-and-a-half times to two times as much per gigabyte as HDDs.

Growing cost competitiveness has helped Violin to expand its market, Venkat said. Its traditional customers have been enterprises that need high speed for databases and online transaction processing, but uses have expanded to include applications such as Microsoft SharePoint and SAP, he said. The 6264 array, which has begun shipping to customers, is priced starting at about $750,000.

Also on Tuesday, Violin is introducing Symphony, its first software platform for monitoring and managing all the Violin gear in an enterprise from the same screen. Symphony will let administrators do predictive health checks and set alerts to keep tabs on the condition of Violin flash storage, Venkat said. Because it uses a Web-based interface, it will work on smartphones and tablets for remote management. Each manager will be able to set up a unique view of the Symphony interface so that application, storage and database administrators each can see the most relevant information for their roles.

Nimbus is introducing its fourth-generation Gemini flash arrays, which will also be made with sub-20nm flash. The denser media can replace hybrid systems that use a small amount of flash along with HDDs.


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