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Computex 2014 They say necessity is the mother of all invention, and never was that more apparent than in the release of Tyans new FT68-B7910 server. The low pricing of many new SSDs, and the advent of TLC SSDs that are lowering prices even more dramatically, means we are likely to start witnessing more large scale deployments of flash into the server. Making this flash easily accessible is a challenge, many of the currnet high-density server designs load HDDs and SSD vertically in the rear of the chassis. TYAN has chosen a divergent approach and came up with a more efficient means of easily-accesible storage.
Here we can see an apparently normal 4U chassis with 32 2.5" drive bays. While this is an impressive amount of storage, removing the drive sleds illuminates the real innovation of this design.
At the rear of the drive channel we observe the SAS connectors offset in a dense alignment. These allow for two 7.5mm SSDs to be installed into each drive sled, effectively doubling he capacity of each 2.5" 15mm slot. Another advantage of this design is the ability to use standard 15mm HDDs as well. This opens the door for having several high-performance spinners and pairing theem with several bays of SSDs used for tiering and caching implementations. The great functionality behind the new Storage Spaces features in Windows Server 2012 could also deliver big advantages for this type of deployment.
Computex 2014 Tyan unveiled several of their latest servers specifically designed to address the HPC market. These servers leverage GPUs as co-processors to deliver astounding performance in a number of different chassis sizes.
This 4U high density platform utilizes a more traditional design but allows for 8 PCIe 3.0 slots to cram as many GPUs into a single chassis as possible. Dual onboard 10GbE also provides plenty of native communication throughput for most applications.
Moving to slimmer form factor we can see the two separate GPU bays in this slim 2U server chassis. The rear left and forward right compartments actually hold two GPUs each, which are mounted horizontally to provide the maximum amount of GPU power in a small space.
Computex 2014 SanDisk had the revolutionary new ULLtraDIMM on display in the Supermicro booth at Computex 2014. The key to enabling such a radically new take on storage technology is the rapid uptake of an ecosystem of partners to quickly expand into wide market acceptance. The emergence of new platforms that are readily available from partners such as Supermicro is a big step forward for the ULLtraDIMM initiative.
The MCS (Memory Channel Storage) system, provided by Diablo, allows the NAND-based ULLtraDIMM storage device to communicate over the memory channels. This eliminates much of the bus contention and inefficiencies of the PCIe bus. Providing a direct connection to the CPU via the memory slot delivers game-changing performance, but unfortunately isn't a plug-and-play solution. Here we can see 4 ULLtraDIMM's working inside the Supermicro SuperServer 6027AX-72RF-HFT3. This server has an enhanced BIOS that allows for full utilization of the standard DDR channels for system storage.
Of course we would like to see some benchmarks running on the device live, but this was merely a static demo. SanDisk is forwarding us preliminary performance results in several application workloads, so look for preliminary performance benchmarks here at TweakTown soon.
Computex 2014 SanDisk had the massive 4TB Optimus MAX SSD on display in their booth today, and we just had to take a look inside. The SanDisk Optimus still holds the performance crown for 6Gb/s SAS SSDs on the market, and the expansion to 4TB of capacity provides even more density.
Cramming 4TB of NAND goodness into a 2.5" 15mm form factor requires the use of several PCBs. SanDisk utilizes a ribbon-type connection between three PCBs, which then fold into each other to fit inside the chassis. SanDisk employs the same Marvell controller as previous Optimus SSDs, but the real secret sauce lies in their custom firmware, which enables Guardian Technology, a full suite of flash enhancements that extends NAND longevity.
The Optimus MAX uses a familiar 6Gb/s dual-port SAS connection, which allows speeds of up to 1 GB/s from one SSD.
As the economy continues to recover, and companies are hiring new workers, an increasing number of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) expect to see their spending habits also rise. Around 57 percent of businesses plan to make a tech purchase sometime in the next 12 months a 4 percent increase over the previous quarter, according to the NPD Group.
Meanwhile, tech companies are pushing PCs, tablets, and laptops in the SMB sector, at a time when vendors are offering extremely competitive pricing. Companies purchasing PCs are finding a great buyer's market, in which PCs are affordable - and last longer - as OEMs continue to struggle to entice many customers to upgrade.
Here is what Stephen Baker, NPD VP of industry analysis, said in a statement: "Small and medium businesses of all sizes expressed their intent to increase spending in both the short and long-term. As is typical, a businesses' normal tendency is to limit spending in the short term, yet be more optimistic about their spending plans over a 12-month period. With continued robust sales growth in NPD's Distributor and Commercial channel tracking services where we saw revenue increase 9 percent in the first quarter, it is clear that intention and action are not always in sync."
Pure Storage, an all-flash enterprise storage company based in Mountain View, Ca, introduced both a new entry-level and high-capacity array to its portfolio, in addition to announcing June availability for its next generation software, Purity 4.0. The new software features FlashRecover - a set of fully integrated replication, snapshot and policy management services.
The new FA-405 and FA-450 arrays bookend the existing offering - the FA-420 - adding an entry-level price point as well as a higher capacity. The FA-405, dubbed "Small and Mighty", has two high availability controllers and supports up to 40TB of capacity. The new FA-450, playfully named "Consolidation King", raises the maximum capacity up to 250TB. Both of the new products are generally available now through channel partners.
Purity 4.0, available in June 2014, expands on disaster recovery and data protection by providing native and fully integrated replication, snapshot and a policy management service. These new features are aimed at data center customers looking to get the best possible capacity/performance to cost ratios.
EMC World 2014 begins today in Las Vegas with a flurry of announcements from the storage giant. The most interesting announcement today is EMC's quickly expanding entrance into the software-defined storage market with the release of the EMC ECS (Elastic Cloud Storage) Appliance. For a company that has very deep roots in selling big iron, this is another strong indicator that EMC is taking the SDS market very seriously.
The ECS Appliance allows customers to create hyper-scale cloud capabilities and capacities in either private or hybrid cloud environments. The new solution combines the best features of public and private clouds at a price point between 9%-28% lower total cost of ownership (in object storage implementations) than leading public cloud offerings from Amazon or Google. The appliance is a modular, scale-out solution built on commodity hardware with up to 2.9 petabytes in a single rack, but can be clustered to exabytes.
EMC is basing many of their announcements, including the ECS Appliance, around the term "3rd Platform". This term refers to the convergence of technologies such as smartphones and mobile devices, cloud computing, social media, big data analytics, and similar technologies that are redefining workloads in modern data centers. These new applications present unique challenges in regards to security, availability, and scale. Software-defined storage solutions built on commodity hardware, such as the EMC ECS Appliance, are built to provide a solution that addresses all the technical challenges associated with the 3rd platform, but at a price point and flexibility never before offered by EMC.
EMC Corporation just announced a new addition to the VNXe product line, an entry-level VNXe3200 storage array that starts out under $12,000. Available in Q2 of 2014, the new VNXe3200 is touted to be three times the performance of the previous VNXe models. It is designed to take advantage of new flash technology via the EMC FAST (Fully-Automated Storage Tiering) software which makes it well suited for virtual applications. Each VNXe has a maximum capacity of 200TB and is capable of both NAS and SAN. Several pre-configured bundles are available on the EMC online store and the entry-level bundle appears to be configured for 3.6TB of raw capacity.
The new VNXe features include:
- Support for 3 times more virtual machines, virtual desktops, Microsoft SQL transactions, and Exchange mailboxes.
- Ease of management and setup: deploying either NAS or SAN can be done in under 15 minutes. There is also a new "get help anywhere" support feature and a "set it and forget it" functionality through automated tiering with FAST.
- More power in a small and efficient 2U footprint. It reduces capacity requirements by up to 50% with thin provisioning and file deduplication, and leverages space-efficient snapshot technology.
In addition to the new VNXe product, EMC also announced an upcoming security feature enhancement for the VNXe family, Data-At-Rest-Encryption for VNX (VNX D@RE). Using controller-based encryption, it is designed to help customers eliminate data access from unauthorized drive removal and supports any drive type, speed and capacity. The new encryption feature is expected to be available on the new VNX Series as a non-disruptive software upgrade in the third quarter of 2014.
Red Hat, Inc., a leading provider of open source software solutions, announced today that it will acquire Inktank, the developer of Ceph, a leading software-defined storage platform for object, file, and block storage that runs on off the shelf hardware. Inktank had secured several early adopter customers who have deployed their solution to run both public and private clouds including Cisco and Deutsche Telekom, as well as established a partnership with Dell to deliver the solution to a broader market.
The software-defined storage market is still a very nascent one, but it has quickly been gaining steam over the past two years. According to a recent IDC report, "Software-defined platforms will continue to grow faster than any other market segment in the file- and object-based storage market." To capitalize on this growth, Red Hat's acquisition of Inktank's Ceph platform is a perfect addition to their existing GlusterFS-based storage offering.
SanDisk Corporation, a leading manufacturer of flash storage solutions, announced not one, but two new product lines today. Both are born out of their $307M acquisition of SMART Storage Systems last year. First, the Lightning Generation II 12Gb/s SAS SSDs built to address enterprise requirements of maximum uptime and intense throughput performance. And for customers more interested in high capacity, SanDisk has also announced the industry's first 4TB SSD, the Optimus MAX.
The new Lightning SSDs are two times the speed over previously available 6Gb/s SSDs, now providing the highest performance possible for web-scale data center application workloads. According to John Scaramuzzo, senior vice president and general manager of enterprise storage solutions at SanDisk, "Business data needs are becoming so performance-intensive that even applications that are already using SSDs need an additional boost." To address these ever increasing performance requirements from enterprise customers, SanDisk's new Lightning drives are capable of delivering up to 190k/100K IOPS of random read/write performance and sequential read/write speeds of up to 1000/600 MB/s for write-intensive application workloads.
For customers that require less performance but the maximum capacity, SanDisk also announced the first 4TB SSD, the Optimus MAX. According to Scaramuzzo, enterprise IT customers are "looking for a way to transition their data centers from HDDs to NAND flash, but have been forced to decide between cost and performance. The Optimus MAX eliminates the need for compromises." The new 4TB drives are now on par with what is available in the HDD space, at least in the high performance enterprise drive market. In the past, companies have relied on 15K rpm SAS spinning disks for mission-critical applications because they provided relatively high performance at a low cost. Now, with high-density SSDs that have higher performance like the Optimus MAX, enterprises are free to replace slower HDDs without paying a huge premium.