|Matthew Dublin is a senior writer at Genome Technology.|
Commercial Flash Storage Offerings Continue to Grow
The latest storage vendor to rollout a flash/disk array that uses dedupe and compression to deliver impressive cost per gigabyte numbers is Tegile. Their new Zebi product is a multi-protocol box that comes equipped with iSCSI, SMB, NFS, Fibre Channel, dedupe, and compression.
The Zebi box has 10 to 90 terabytes of raw storage capacity and with the inline dedupe and compression it can provide up three to five times the raw capacity. The Zebi HA2100EP model has 96 gigabytes of RAM, 1.2 terabytes of flash and 16 terabytes of disk and the A J2100 expansion tray has 800 gigabytes of flash and 28 terabytes of disk capacity.
The company’s main pitch for their system is that roughly 75 percent less capacity is needed for seven times the IOPS.
So for, Tegile’s customer list for their Zebi box includes Washington and Lee University, which has used the box to achieve seven times the IOPS of its previous storage and a 70 percent reduction in virtual desktop infrastructure capacity needs.
Flash as a large-scale storage medium came to the forefront in 2009, when the San Diego Supercomputer Center built the first flash-memory based supercomputer, called Dash. Since then, Appro, Amax, and Nimbus (to name a few) have all started offering flash-based solutions targeting the HPC market.
So why flash? It provides consistently faster data transfer times and improved latency than traditional mechanical hard drives. And because there is no motor to power, flash drives use less energy, thus saving money.
In addition to SDSC, academic researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Intel Labs Pittsburgh have been working with an experimental cluster architecture called FAWN, or Fast Array of Wimpy Nodes. Each node is comprised of an embedded single-core 500 MHz AMD Geode LX processor board and a 4 GB compact flash card.