IT/Datacenter & Super Computing News - Page 9

The latest and most important IT/Datacenter & Super Computing news - Page 9.

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Avago announces new 12Gb/s SAS 16-port 9300 HBA Series

Paul Alcorn | Dec 10, 2014 11:45 AM CST

Avago has announced the expansion of their successful 9300 HBA series to include two new 12Gb/s SAS 16-port models. The ever-changing datacenter has necessitated high port-count solutions to address DAS and external configurations. The 9300-16i and 9300-16e address these requirements with 16 native ports in internal and external flavors. Avago has accomplished this feat by merging two SAS 3008 controllers onto the same device. Each of these controllers, in tandem with the Fusion MPT 2.5 architecture, deliver plenty of grunt power to handle challenging workloads.

In aggregate both controllers deliver nearly 2 million IOPS for the HBA. The HBA's connect to the host via an x8 PCIe 3.0 connection and are backwards compatible with previous SAS and SATA revisions. The Fusion MPT (Message-Passing Technology) architecture leverages in-box drivers for ease of deployment and wide compatibility while delivering maximum host CPU offload capability.

Both adaptors are full-height and feature mini-SAS HD ports that can control up to 1024 non-RAID devices. Power draw weighs in at 27W for the internal and 28.6W for the external versions. There is an auxiliary power connector for power-constrained PCIe ports. For a look at the latest competitive performance analysis of Avago (previously LSI) components head over to our RAID/HBA category in the IT/Datacenter section.

Continue reading: Avago announces new 12Gb/s SAS 16-port 9300 HBA Series (full post)

Seagate 8TB Archive HDD listed at amazing prices

Paul Alcorn | Dec 9, 2014 11:30 AM CST

The pressing need for more storage at an affordable price point has just been addressed by Seagate. Numerous online vendors have begun posting pricing and shipment information for the new Seagate Archive 8TB HDD. This new drive will be available to Amazon customers on Jan 7th, 2015, and comes with a shockingly low price tag of only $267 each. Seagate has claimed that their new Archive series 8TB will offer the industries best cost per GB and watt, and from the current pricing it seems they will deliver.

The SATA 6Gb/s Archive HDDs come in 5, 6, and 8TB capacities and offer 1.33TB of storage per platter. These drives are geared for storage over performance and feature a spindle speed of 5,900 RPM. Another key point with these drives is the SMR technology that delivers astounding density. SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) overlaps tracks on the platter to produce more storage capacity. Due to SMR architecture there are a few drawbacks, notably in performance and compatibility. There are two flavors of SMR coming to the forefront, drive-managed and software managed. Software-managed products require an associated API or software to allow proper function, but drive-managed offerings handle all SMR processing internally. The Seagate Archive HDD features a drive-managed format that delivers excellent out-of-the box compatibility. The Seagate DiskWizard software allows installation of the massive drives in Windows even without an UEFI BIOS.

There are secure models available to meet data security requirements, and the Archive series is geared to address online archiving, object storage, big data cold storage, and web-scale archiving requirements. The drives feature 128MB of cache, a maximum sustained data rate of 190 MB/s, and an average of 150MB/s. The two high density 6 and 8TB models have 12 heads and six platters, and the 5TB model packs eight heads and four platters. The drives features all of the usual Seagate datacenter-specific trimmings, and feature a low power draw of 7.5W operating and 5.0 Watts Idle. Sleep and standby power draw is lower than 1 watt, which is perfect for the target audience. Data reliability weighs in at 1 per 10E14 and the drives feature a workload rating of 180 TB per year with an 800,000 hour MTBF.

Continue reading: Seagate 8TB Archive HDD listed at amazing prices (full post)

QLogic joins NVM Express initiative as NVMe Over Fibre spec emerges

Paul Alcorn | Dec 3, 2014 12:04 PM CST

NVM Express, or NVMe, is an optimized interface designed specifically for non-volatile memories, such as flash. As detailed in our Defining NVMe article, NVMe offers unparalleled performance over the PCIe bus. The NVMe specification lays the groundwork for the base technology, but complementary technologies are entering development to further enhance its capabilities. One particularly promising specification is the NVMe Over Fiber standard. This allows for end-to-end NVMe over Infiniband, Ethernet with RDMA, and Intel's Omni Scale Fabric.

QLogic joins NVM Express initiative as NVMe Over Fibre spec emerges

Flash has long been confined inside the server in DAS (Direct Attached Storage) configurations. This keeps the SSD as close to the processor as possible, and eliminates network latency. NVMe Over Fibre offers refined performance by removing the SCSI translation layer, which adds latency when communicating over the network. According to recent surveys, network congestion is the most pressing issue for IT professionals. The NVMe Over Fibre standard will refine communication between clusters, and SSDs can be addressed from remote servers as if the PCIe SSD were plugged directly into the server. Qlogic is one of the leading suppliers of server networking products, and their entrance into the NVM Express consortium will likely speed development and adoption of NVMe Over Fibre as well.

SAN and NAS deployments are falling out of favor in the datacenter, and there is a move to VSAN and other server-SAN implementations. Much of this migration to DAS configurations is prompted by latency-inducing network protocols. Unadulterated NVMe SSD performance over the network will surely have administrators salivating as it moves closer to market, and could yet again alter high-performance storage deployments in the datacenter.

Continue reading: QLogic joins NVM Express initiative as NVMe Over Fibre spec emerges (full post)

Toshiba launches HK3E2 and HK3R2 enterprise SSDs

Paul Alcorn | Dec 3, 2014 10:36 AM CST

Toshiba has been aggressively pushing further in to the datacenter SSD market. Toshiba is surfing the wave of flash pouring into the datacenter, and they recently posted a 70.5% quarter over quarter jump in Q2 2014. There are other sharks swimming in the same pool, and competition for slots has been tough as Intel, Micron, and Samsung also have very competitive products. Toshiba has a long history with flash, they actually invented it, but they also have an often-overlooked advantage of being the only fab-enabled SSD manufacturer with HDD manufacturing as well. This provides them a complete portfolio in the two backbones of enterprise storage.

NVMe and PCIe are hot topics as of late, but SATA SSDs are also one of the fastest growing segments in the datacenter. Toshiba has announced two new SSDs to address this market. The HK3E2 is a value-endurance 6Gb/s SATA SSD that offers 3 DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) of endurance, tailoring it well for mainstream enterprise applications such as exchange mail servers, web servers, database servers, indexing servers and data center storage workloads. Power loss protection is included and the HK3E2 sports speeds of 75,000/30,000 random read/write IOPS. The HK3E2 also features sequential read/write speeds of 500/400 MiB/s.

Toshiba is also providing the HK3R2 series to address read-centric workloads. The HK3R2 features 1 DWPD of endurance and speeds up to 75,000/12,000 random read/write IOPS. It also offers a beefy 500/400 MiB/s sequential write speed, and is designed for read intensive applications and workloads such as read caching, video streaming and data center storage. Both SSDs feature power loss protection and Toshiba's proprietary QSBC (Quadruple Swing-By Code) error control algorithms, which provide enhanced resilience to data failures.

Continue reading: Toshiba launches HK3E2 and HK3R2 enterprise SSDs (full post)

PMC Flashtec NVMe controllers to power 8TB Memblaze PBlaze4 PCIe SSDs

Paul Alcorn | Dec 2, 2014 1:02 PM CST

PMC Flashtec controllers are powering the next generation of Memblaze PCIe SSDs. The Memblaze PBlaze 4 is designed for hyperscale and Open Compute Project architectures. The Flashtec controllers on the PBlaze 4 provide up to 850,000 IOPS for random read workloads, and 265,000 IOPS for random writes. Sequential performance is equally impressive, with up to 3.2 / 2.5 GB/s read/write available. NVMe provides the lowest CPU load and includes a number of architectural improvements for high-performance storage products. We recently took a deep-dive on the new NVMe specification in our Defining NVMe article.

The Flashtec controller can address up to 8TB of flash and features 16 and 32 channel variants. Dual-port functionality provides enterprise-class high-availability features. Memblaze differentiates their products with multiple capacity points and solutions tailored for specific workloads. Memblaze utilizes NAND from several vendors, and Flashtec NVMe controllers provide a flexible architecture that supports a wide variety of NAND vendors.

PMC enjoys a market-leading position in NVMe controllers, and several hyperscale customers are already building their own NVMe SSDs with PMC controllers. Memblaze is currently the #1 PCIe SSD vendor in China and is expanding to the US and European markets, and expects to deliver over 6PB of flash storage this year. We recently took an in-depth look at Memblaze's latest product in the Memblaze PBlaze3L 1.2TB Enterprise PCIe SSD Review. Head to our IT/Datacenter section for the latest in competitive performance analysis of Enterprise PCIe SSDs.

Continue reading: PMC Flashtec NVMe controllers to power 8TB Memblaze PBlaze4 PCIe SSDs (full post)

Seagate releases new 6TB NAS HDD for 4-16 bay NAS units

Paul Alcorn | Dec 2, 2014 12:16 PM CST

Seagate has announced the release of a new HDD aimed at 4 to 16 bay enterprise NAS deployments. The stratification of the NAS market has led to varying HDD products to address the different workloads and performance requirements of each segment. The new Seagate enterprise NAS HDD bumps speed up a notch. Typical consumer NAS models spin at 5,400 RPM, but the new Seagate NAS HDD moves up to 7,200 RPM. WD has already released the WD Red Pro, a 7,200 RPM product, to address larger NAS arrays, as outlined in our WD Red Pro 4TB Enterprise NAS HDD Review.

The WD Red Pro tops out at 4TB, but the Seagate Enterprise NAS HDD comes in 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6TB flavors and features Seagate's NASWorks firmware. NASWorks specifically tailors the drive for NAS usage. The drive also features RAID rebuild technology that supports surgical rebuilds to significantly reduce RAID rebuild time. The drive also features a larger 128MB cache in comparison to the WD Red's 64MB, and a faster transfer speed of 216 MB/s. An optional data recovery service also offers users easy data recovery in the event of a drive failure.

The burgeoning NAS market is fueling the rapid expansion of NAS HDD offerings. The SME, SMB, and SME tower and rackmount segment is one of the fastest growing segments, and manufacturers are providing solutions refined for each environment.

Continue reading: Seagate releases new 6TB NAS HDD for 4-16 bay NAS units (full post)

PMC scores win with Lenovo ThinkServer SAS partnership

Paul Alcorn | Nov 25, 2014 10:53 AM CST

PMC has announced that Lenovo has selected PMC storage solutions for external connectivity in their ThinkServer product line. Lenovo is offering the Lenovo 8885E by PMC for 12Gb/s SAS applications. The low-profile MD2 form factor 8885E is an HBA that provides eight SAS/SATA ports for connectivity. HBA's are becoming more popular in the datacenter as new architectures arise to leverage scale-out storage and advanced erasure coding. PMC Sierra has been very aggressive on the SAS front and recently captured the goal of providing the most SAS ports on a single card. This has led to a leading position in the market, and PMC has currently shipped more SAS ports than their competitors.

The increased density has the side effect of lower power consumption per port, which resonates well in power-constrained datacenters. PMC has measured 40% lower power consumption than their competitors with the same number of devices connected, which results in a tangible TCO reduction for their customers. As a rough guideline most datacenters spec each watt of power as an incremental cost increase of $2 dollars per year. When deploying thousands of SAS adaptors this can lead to a staggering amount of increased cost if there is a difference of a few watts per port.

12Gb/s SAS is gaining in popularity due to the bandwidth limitation of SATA SSDs. SATA is still stuck at 6Gb/s, and there are no plans to increase this in the future. SAS is cooking along at 12GB/s and provides more bandwidth for powerful solid state drives. High-Availability features also provide a more robust architecture, and until NVMe competitors can offer the same type of features SAS will continue to provide administrators tangible benefits. The Adaptec Series 8 adapters feature the PM8063 ROC, and offer great performance in a variety of workloads. We recently took the 8 Series for a test drive with 24 SATA SSDs and 8 12Gb/s SAS SSDs. Head over to our Adaptec by PMC ASR-8885 12Gb/s RAID Controller Review in the IT/Datacenter section for more in-depth coverage.

Continue reading: PMC scores win with Lenovo ThinkServer SAS partnership (full post)

ATSC lays out path to 100 TB HDDs by 2025

Paul Alcorn | Nov 25, 2014 10:18 AM CST

The quest for more storage has led to revolutionary breakthroughs in HDD technology. SSDs get the most attention in the storage world, but the incredible technology that goes into HDDs has created some of the most refined precision instruments in history. HDD density has increased 500 million fold since the initial designs were released in 1956. During the recent MMM (Magnetism and Magnetic Materials) Conference the ASTC (Advanced Storage Technology Consortium) laid out the continuing path of progress on the HDD front. Acronyms aside, the demand for more storage has resulted in billions of dollars in investments in new technology, and these new techniques are pushing us forward on the path to 100TB HDDs by 2025.

There are already 10TB HDDs on the menu for 2015, but they utilize SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) technology, which has some performance pitfalls. Helium drives have also come to the forefront in the quest for more density, and as demonstrated in our HGST Ultrastar He6 6TB Helium Enterprise HDD Review they deliver increased density, lower power consumption, and don't skimp on performance.

These radical new advancements are required because the pace of density increases have slowed as we reach the limits of current HDD recording technology (PMR). According to the ASTC, and several industry sources, HAMR should arrive in 2017. This will speed the annual density growth rate to 30%, which is a considerable increase from the current 15% annual increase. BPMR (Bit-Patterned Magnetic Recording) is the next step to realize incredible increases in density, and that is slated for release in the 2021 timeframe. Combining HAMR and BPMR seems to be a very promising approach that will deliver 10X the density of current HDDs, or 100 TB drives, by 2025.

Continue reading: ATSC lays out path to 100 TB HDDs by 2025 (full post)

Qualcomm to challenge Intel with low-cost ARM server chips

Paul Alcorn | Nov 24, 2014 12:53 PM CST

Intel enjoys a 97.8% share of the server CPU market, and with AMD continuing to slide, it hasn't looked like anyone can break Intel's stranglehold. Popular new architectures in the datacenter have brought about customized low-power designs that can handle light-impact workloads. Right-sizing servers to the task at hand lowers cost and eases cooling requirements, and ARM processors have attractive low-power features that have always been an interesting alternative in the datacenter. Some Xeons operate within a TDP envelope of 90 Watts, but many 64-bit ARM designs operate between 10 and 45 Watts. Low cost is also another incentive to use ARM CPUs, but a lack of specialized chips and systems has hampered expansion.

This radical reduction in power consumption has led many enterprise powerhouses, such as Red Hat, to institute development projects to boost software development for 64-bit ARM platforms. Microsoft has even gotten in on the ARM-compatibility act by developing Windows RT. RT has been a failure of sorts, but many consider it to be the gateway to ARM-compatible Windows Server flavors. The expanding ecosystem development to further 64-bit ARM processors in the datacenter has placed the onus on suppliers to step up with competitive ARM offerings. One supplier with considerable heft in the ARM category has remained conspicuously silent on server CPU models, until now.

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkomp has reportedly announced intentions to bring ARM server CPU's into their lineup. Qualcomm's entrance into the server CPU market isn't likely to budge Intel from the top spot anytime soon, but there are other advantages to increased competition. Intel's dominating market share allows them to charge a premium for their server CPUs. A low-cost alternative, backed by a bastion like Qualcomm, could open up more competitive pricing from Intel in the future. There is no announcement on release dates, but considering the slowing growth rate in other segments we can expect Qualcomm to move quickly.

Continue reading: Qualcomm to challenge Intel with low-cost ARM server chips (full post)

Intel announces 3D NAND design

Paul Alcorn | Nov 21, 2014 2:55 PM CST

Rob Crooke, the Vice President and General Manager of the NVM (Non-Volatile Memory) Solutions Group at Intel, announced the impending release of 3D NAND at Intel's Investor Meeting. Incidentally, the presentation was running on an Intel 3D NAND SSD to demonstrate the progress Intel has already made in integrating their new 3D NAND into a workable device. The launch was a bit light on technical details of the new 3D NAND, but now that images from the presentation are available we are posting more information.

Intel announces 3D NAND design

The first Intel SSD was developed in 1992 and featured a whopping 12MB capacity, and continued die shrinks have led to 128Gb dies. The transition to mainstream Intel SSDs began in 2008, and the initial revisions utilized 2D planar NAND. The continued path of NAND development has led to denser designs that sped adoption by lowering the cost per bit. Samsung released the first 3D NAND product in 2014 with 128Gb of density, and Intel's 3D NAND is slated for release in 2015.

Intel helped pioneer the SSD market, and their continued innovation has led to a huge chunk of SSD data center market share. These statistics reflect the current market share of major industry SSD manufacturers. The chart is incomplete and only lists two competitors with NAND fabrication capability. Intel includes the market share of the WD subsidiary HGST in their overall market share numbers due to the HGST and Intel JDA (Joint Development Agreement). The JDA provides Intel NAND to HGST, and in turn HGST collaborates on engineering and manufactures the SAS SSD products.

Continue reading: Intel announces 3D NAND design (full post)