Over the last couple of years, we've tested a lot of PCIe RAID SSD products. Like All-in-One CPU liquid cooling systems, these All-in-One RAID SSDs consist of multiple components that have been pieced together to provide a simple solution to what may normally be a complex configuration.
There can be a number of issues with products like these, and most are avoidable. Ever since Fusion-io released the ioDrive, every company wanted a PCIe based SSD; even if it meant cutting corners to get there. Fusion-io and other owners of true PCIe SSDs, built native PCIe to flash controllers, but such an undertaking is expensive; to the tune of $100 million or more per one report. That number is just for a simple 8-channel SATA III to flash controller, and not a full on PCIe to flash controller that can have many more channels, so manufacturing costs skyrocket.
The other problem revolving around AIO RAID products is much simpler: marketing. Since power users and gamers make up a large portion of those who purchase first to market products, many new products are steered in those directions. When it comes to storage products, gamers aren't much different than typical Facebook surfing soccer moms, aside from the need for large storage capacity, and typical SATA III SSD performance. Games are just not optimized to take advantage of exotic SSD performance that transcends SATA III levels.
The good news is that the TRIM issue was resolved with Windows 8, and Server 2012, as long as the PCIe RAID controller API supports SCSI Unmap. This allows the AIO SSDs to keep performance higher than what we associate with enterprise steady states.
So far, we've talked about who would not benefit from SSD RAID products like the Comay BladeDrive G24, but not who would benefit. The group with the largest impact is the prosumer market. Audio, video, and large resolution picture professionals can see very large performance increases from the BladeDrive G24. Then there are corner case uses, like keeping read intensive database, or other heavy I/O workstation or entry-level server activity.
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