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Startup Skyera says it can beat hard-disk storage prices with flash array

Stephen Lawson | Aug. 15, 2012
Skyera, a Silicon Valley startup, says it can make high-speed flash storage for enterprises cheaper than hard disks by using the low-grade chip technology found in thumb drives.

In addition to building its own controller, Skyera developed its own RAID technology to be able to rebuild the stored data if any bits are lost. It can perform the equivalent of a typical RAID 6 system with only one-third as many writes, further reducing the amount of wear on the flash, Barbagallo said. For high performance, Skyera also performs compression and deduplication in hardware, Barbagallo said.

The built-in Ethernet switch has 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports and three 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, so enterprises can connect it directly to servers or to a data center network. Inside the unit, the switch communicates with the flash components via a proprietary interface that can carry data fast enough to feed the Ethernet ports, Barbagallo said.

The Skyhawk is built in a 1U form factor, filling one standard unit of data-center rack space. It can store 44TB of data without compression or deduplication, for a price of $131,000, Barbagallo said. Compression and deduplication will cost about 20 percent more, he said.

Skyera is based in San Jose, California, and has about 50 employees, including key players who came from flash controller pioneer SandForce. It will show off the Skyhawk platform at the Flash Memory Summit next week in Santa Clara, California, and expects to finish early-access testing and make the product generally available early next year.


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