CoreRise, and their SSD-wing Comay, have made significant inroads into the SSD arena in a relatively short time span. In fact, pumping out 60,000 SSDs per month may make Comay the largest SSD supplier many people aren't familiar with. Wading into the PCIe SSD realm is an obvious progression from their roots in commercial, industrial, enterprise, and OEM markets.
Comay certainly didn't make a shy entrance; their 3,200GB behemoth is designed to provide maximum flash density for cloud computing, database, web hosting, video on demand, and other enterprise storage applications. Being a relative unknown in the PCIe space puts the responsibility on Comay to deliver reliability and trust in their products.
The BladeDrive E28 utilizes the proven SF-2581 controllers, and RAISE protects against page or block failure for each individual SSD on the device. The BladeDrive utilizes RAID 0 to maximize performance and capacity of all 8 drives, but we would like to see an option to utilize RAID 5 for more protection from data loss. Scaling of multiple devices is optimal, so RAID 1 configurations with multiple PCIe SSDs remain an option. Unfortunately, for many deployments, that wouldn't be a financially viable solution.
The new Comay SBC208 RAID controller is a great first entrant from Comay. It handles performance and keeps latency during most workloads within expectations. Many of the performance trends we noted are familiar hallmarks of LSI SandForce controllers. The Comay SBC208 handles demanding workloads well. Our test suite is demanding by design, and we executed it numerous times over several months. The BladeDrive performed well and had no compatibility issues on our platforms. The SBC208 seems to be a polished product already, but there will surely be more enhanced versions in the future.
In our testing, the BladeDrive E28 was surprisingly resilient in heavy write workloads. We tested with 50 percent compressible data, which is a tradeoff designed to pander to both ends of the compressibility spectrum. The nature of LSI SandForce controllers provides more performance with compressible data, so there is a possibility of higher performance with many inherently compressible workloads.
We didn't pull any punches and tested the BladeDrive against two heavyweight contenders. The Micron P420m and P320h are top-class solutions. The P320h defines the upper limit of performance from a PCIe SSD from its SLC NAND, and the P420m utilizes more economical MLC NAND for a value alternative. The BladeDrive lagged behind the Micron SSDs in random read performance, but provided faster random write performance, albeit with some variability.
The BladeDrive E28 excels in heavy write workloads, with much of our percentage testing revealing great write performance. The Micron SSDs provided better performance in our transactional server workloads, but the BladeDrive provided outstanding sequential performance. Sequential read and write topped the charts with heavy workloads. Video-on-demand and other sequential workloads would benefit from this type of solution.
The primary reason to deploy flash is for increased performance density and economic power consumption. The CoreRise Comay BladeDrive E28 PCIe SSD delivers on both counts, and if priced aggressively, it can generate quite a bit of traction, particularly in the exploding APAC datacenter segment. Pricing will be important to compete with the foundries, but not all NAND fabricators are shipping PCIe SSDs in volume. The focus from Comay on software management software also highlights their commitment to providing an easy-to-use solution. Some PCIe SSD manufacturers have more rudimentary interfaces.
Overall, this is a great first step from CoreRise into the PCIe SSD market, and for its management software and high capacity point, we award the BladeDrive E28 the TweakTown Best Features Award.