There are fast storage devices, like 7200 RPM mechanical hard drives with 64MB of cache and built on a SATA 6Gbps interface; really fast storage devices, like high-end solid state drives with snappy controllers; and then there are ridiculously fast (and uber expensive) hardware like the new ioDrive2 and ioDrive2 Duo from Fusion-io.
Fusion-io is a Utah-based firm specializing in (among other things) high speed storage, like the ioDrive and insanely fast ioDrive Duo (1.5GB/s read/write speeds, 250,000+ IOPS). Nvidia's bread and butter is graphics chips. These two tech giants are teaming up, along with Tweak Software and Thinkbox Software, to collaborate on entertainment production and are showing off their joint talents at Siggraph 2011 by demonstrating full resolution, real-time digital content creation.
Solid State Drives (SSDs) have the potential to break the mold for data storage, but so far their development has been focused on portable computing. If the market’s going to expand, there’s going to have to be a suitable desktop option. One possibility, which takes advantage of a desktop’s better throughput, is a SSD on a PCIe card, such as Fusion-io’s ioDrive. An announced partnership between Seagate and LSI suggests more of the same is on its way.
PCIe has the advantage of being a bit quicker and easier to integrate into the enterprise computing environment. According to the announcement: “LSI is expected to deliver board-level products that integrate LSI™ SAS and PCIe technology with Seagate solid-state drive (SSD) technology.”
Jeff Janukowicz, a research manager for the market research firm IDC, says, “Solid-state drives remain in the spotlight as a technology and an area of growth in the storage market.” According to IDC, SSD revenues in enterprise computing will reach $2 billion by 2013, with PCIe-based solutions responsible for a significant chunk.
Unfortunately, the announcement only revealed the collaboration of LSI and Seagate. There was no mention of any particular products, when them might be available, or what they might cost.
Engineers working together from Fusion-io and Hewlett Packard were able to achieve about 1 million IOPS (input/output per second) and 8GB/s sustained throughput in a custom-built HP ProLiant DL785 G5 server with four quad-core AMD Opteron processors. To reach the high level of IOPS, the server included five 320GB ioDrive Duos and six 160GB ioDrives.
"The ioDrive and ioDrive Duo are to supply the extreme storage performance (for data centers) at a fraction of the power, cooling, and per unit-of-processing-power price compared to traditional solutions," said David Flynn, chief technology officer of Fusion-io, in a statement.
The ioDrive and ioDrive Duos used consist of single level cell (SLC) flash memory and come rated for 48 years with the company's wear leveling algorithm. Both drives also utilize the PCI-E interface.
Fusion-io, also known as the company that Steve Wozniak just joined as Chief Scientist, has just revealed the world’s fastest SSD – touting a mind-boggling 1.5GB sustained read and 1.4GB sustained write speeds.
The blazing fast drive will come in four sizes, 160GB, 320GB, 640GB and 1.28TB. Three of these versions will be available in April, while you’ll have to wait until the second half of this year to get the 1.28TB flavor.
Chances are good that these cards will be absurdly expensive (reportedly in the tens of thousands of dollars), so chances are good that folks like you and I won’t be plugging these into our machines anytime soon.