The theme for the 2012 Storage Visions Conference is 'Heavy Storage for Thin Clients'. Cloud storage is all the buzz in both the enterprise and consumer markets, and this year's Storage Visions is focused on bringing future solutions to market. With an expected 800 attendees and 34 booths on the conference floor, the eleventh annual Storage Visions Conference is sure to be a busy one and here are a few of the things LR found.
Intel has been rumored to be working on a high-end solid-state drive (SSD) for the client market with a SandForce controller for many months now. This upcoming drive has been kept quiet for the most part, but it appears to have surfaced at Storage Visions in a speed demo at the Intel booth. Intel confirmed that this is an upcoming drive that will be out shortly that uses a third party controller. This confirms rumors that we heard at this show last year and that Intel really is bringing a SandForce Driven processor by LSI into their flagship SSD. This drive will be called the Intel SSD 520 'Cherryville' and will be made available this quarter from what we are hearing. This drive has been delayed a number of times, but believe that the delay has to do with Intel working through some bugs or coding in SandForce's firmware that they didn't feel comfortable with. Intel can take all the time they want if they are making it better! It looks like the Intel SSD 520 with the SandForce controller will replace the Intel SSD 510 series with the Marvell controller. Rumored capacities at available at launch will be 60 GB, 120 GB, 180 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB. Intel wouldn't disclose any performance numbers for us here at the show, but online rumors suggest that it will have 550 MB/s reads, 520 MB/s writes, 70,000 IOPS 4K random write throughput, and overprovisioned capacities consistent with most SandForce-driven SATA 6 Gb/s SSDs in the market.
Intel went on to say that it took a rather long period of time to bring the Intel SSD 520 to market as they had to validate it and make sure it was perfected. The drive will have an Intel written firmware that blends together reliability, functionality and performance. This means you get the longer than the industry average 5-year warranty, access to Intel Toolbox utility and other utilities to make life with an SSD easy.
Intel had a side-by-side demo of their next generation SSD up against a 10,000 RPM hard drive. The demo was a CAD rendering using Autodesk 3ds Max. By starting the demos at the same time, Intel simply wanted to remind us again of how far SSDs have come and why you should get one if you are still running your system with a HDD.
The Micron booth at Storage Visions has several technologies on display. Some of it is the existing products on the market. At the back of the booth we can see products from their current product stack. Including the C400 and Crucial M400 as well as the C400 Self-Encrypting SSD. The C400 Self-Encrypting SSD is available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The C400 and Crucial M400 are available in the same sizes with the addition of a smaller 64GB version. Below these we have the enterprise drives, P400e, P300, and the P320h HHHL form factor PCIe x8 SSD.
Micron was also showing off the various NAND chips from the recent years. In 2006 it took eight 50nm chips to create 16GB of storage. In 2011, the technology has improved to allow a single 20nm NAND for the same amount of storage.
We had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time with Crucial while we were wandering around Storage Visions 2012. While there we were able to look at a few of the products that are in the works. One of the items that caught our eye was a mSATA SSD.
The Crucial mSATA SSD will be available in a variety of flavors ranging from 32Gb which is ideal for SSD Caching all the way up to 256Gb which can be used as a primary drive. Like the Crucial M4 the mSATA drive uses a marvell 88SS9174-BLD2 which supports higher IOPS and 25nm NAND memory. The small size of the mSATA SSD from crucial makes it perfect for the new Ultrabooks. When questioned about the performance and price we were told that it would be comparable to to the Crucial M4. The biggest difference between the two drives is the size.
Crucial just recently announced the Crucial Adrenaline Solid State Cache Solution for enhanced PC performance and we got some hands on time with the drive at Storage Visions. Basically, this is regular 64GB Crucial m4 SSD that has over-provisioning enabled, so the available space for caching is 50GB. Crucial wasn't discussing the prices, but the Crucial M4 64GB SSD costs $104.99, so we expect this solution to be around the same price. The Crucial Adrenaline drive includes a 3.5” adapter bracket and the necessary software to run it, but lacks a SATA cable that might be needed for mainstream users. Crucial said that the Adrenaline plugs into an available SATA power and data port and once the software installed it intelligently places, or “caches,” the most frequently needed files on the SSD and keeps less frequently used files on the hard drive. They believe this solution is the best way to go as it isn't limited by motherboard chipsets like some rival solutions.
OCZ and Marvell have teamed up and are showing off the Z-Drive R5 for
the very first time at Storage Visions. The OCZ Z-Drive R5 is the
industries fastest PCI Express (PCIe) storage device. The reason that
Z-Drive R5 features a jointly developed "Kilimanjaro" OCZ and Marvell
native PCIe to NAND flash controller platform, allowing for completely
scalable performance and redundancy while eliminating the need for a
separate storage controller, thus reducing the cost to deploy high
performance solid state storage systems in the data center. It uses a PCI-Express Gen3 x8 slot to get up to 1.6M IOPS!
But you don't have to take our word for it! Here is Daryl Lang, VP of Product Management at OCZ Technologies, telling our readers a little about the new OCZ Z-Drive R5.
The card on display at the show was 8TB in capacity and featured SLC NAND. OCZ will have a MLC, SLC, eMLC versions available at the time of launch. The card is fully PCI Express Gen 3.0 x16 compliant and will be available up to 12TB. OCZ is not talking about prices, but you can imagine that a solution like this will be costly.
We mentioned that the Kilimanjaro platform was a joint project between OCZ and Marvell and here is a picture of the new 88NV9145 controller chip with both companies names on the chip.
The OCZ Lightfoot is designed for mobile applications and will be available up to 1TB in capacities. OCZ informed us that it will also be available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities. The OCZ Lightfoot is rated for read speeds of up to 750MB/s and can transfer a HD movie in about 30 seconds.
Here is a closer look at the Thunderbolt connector. The OCZ Lightfoot is about 4-5 months away from being on the retail market.
OCZ was also showing off the OCZ Z-Drive R4 CloudServ RM1616 storage
device and in case you are wondering the name means that it uses x16
PCIe slot and is 16TB. The performance of this bad boy is up to ~1
million IOPS. This has two super scale accelerators and has complete
power fault protection.
This drive uses the full sized PCIe Gen 3 x16 slot.
As you can see this is a dual-slot storage card with four printed circuit boards, but that will vary depending on the capacity.
The back of the card was bare, but there are plenty of solder points for something.
OCZ was showing off an unreleased product called Chiron. This product is staged to be the densest SSD for 4U servers. This 3.5" drive is 4TB to allow for a total of 96TB in 4U of rack space. Given the density of the drive, the air holes were required to keep the chips cool enough during operation.
The Chiron uses an Indilinx Everex controller and can produce 560 MB/Sec and is capable of just over 100,000 IOPS/Sec. While there is no pricing on Chiron yet, we were told it is about four to five months away.
OCZ also shocked us by showing off what they are calling the Aeon (æon)
Drive. This drive uses DRAM as NV memory and is available in capacities
of up to 64GB. The drive has up to 140,000 4K IOPS and >500,000 512
byte IOPS. This drive financial and derivatives trading platforms, and
write intensive applications. The drive has a SATA III 6Gbps interface
and is still in development.
The unit pictured is only 32GB capacity and had a build date on it of this past week. Here we see some unknown connectors on the back of the card.
The Aeon Drive uses the SATA III 6Gbps interface and claims that this drive will basically saturate the capabilities of
SATA III motherboards.
While wandering around the Storage Visions show floor, one of the companies that we came across with an interesting product to show was ioSafe. ioSafe has a few solutions for protecting against data loss during catastrophic scenarios. They build external hard drives that are fireproof and waterproof. The new Solo G3 adds a silent airflow design and a USB 3.0 interface.
Here is half of the shell that surrounds the hard drive. The grooves around the hard drive are part of the silent airflow design. The drive is standing mostly upright in side the external case, and the grooves provide airflow from the bottom and heat is exhausted through the top. During a fire, water vapor being expelled through the vents will protect the drive from being incinerated. This inner shell also provides the bulk of the weigh to the external enclosure.
The vacuum-sealed bag is what makes the drive waterproof. The bag itself is also a heat conductor to make sure the heat from the drive is expelled during normal operating conditions. ioSafe has informed us that they will be doing a destruction demo of their Solo external enclosure during CES 2012, so keep your eye out for that in the days to come!
Storage Visions 2012 was another successful event and we look forward providing coverage at CES Unveiled later tonight!