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Monday, August 04, 2014
HGST Releases New PCIe SSD and Flash Caching Software, Showcases Ultra-fast PCM-based SSD


HGST, formerly Hitachi GST and now a Western Digital company, today announced the launch of its new FlashMAX III family of PCIe accelerators, which deliver a significant improvement in price/performance for today's demanding database and cloud workloads.

Also introduced today is the new HGST ServerCache software that allows IT administrators to inject acceleration into their existing storage infrastructure by deploying a hybrid flash environment with any SSD.

HGST's new FlashMAX III PCIe SSD and ServerCache software are suited for performance-intensive applications. The SSD supports PCI Express 3.0, it delivers up to 540,000 Random Read IOPS (4K) and up to 200,000 Mixed Sustained Random IOPS (70:30 R:W) from a single half-height, half-length PCIe SSD.

The ServerCache server software eliminates storage bottlenecks by creating an SSD cache of the most frequently used data with up to a 10x improvement in performance utilizing any SSD. It is also compatible with a large variety of block-based storage since it runs on any server application hosted on either a Storage Area Network (SAN) or Direct Attached Storage (DAS) system running Windows Server or Linux.

The new FlashMAX III PCIe SSD delivers 2M hours MTBF and includes a five-year limited warranty.

FlashMAX III will be available in Q3 2014. ServerCache is available now for a free 30-day live trial download and for purchase at $995 per physical server.

HGST will be previewing at the 2014 Flash Memory Summit in the Santa Clara Convention Center, August 6-7, 2014, a new architecture for solid-state drives (SSDs) based on new, latency-optimized interface protocols and next-generation non-volatile memory components.

The SSD demonstration utilizes a PCIe interface and delivers three million random read IOs per second of 512 bytes each when operating in a queued environment and a random read access latency of 1.5 microseconds (us) in non-queued settings, delivering results that cannot be achieved with existing SSD architectures and NAND Flash memories. This performance is orders of magnitude faster than existing Flash based SSDs, resulting in a new class of block storage devices.

"The PCM SSD demonstration is a great example for how HGST sets the pace of the rapidly evolving storage industry," said Steve Campbell, chief technology officer, HGST. "This technology is the result of several years of research and advanced development aimed at delivering new levels of acceleration for enterprise applications. The combination of HGST's low-latency interface protocol and next-generation non-volatile memories delivers unprecedented performance, and creates exciting opportunities for new software and system architectures that HGST is exploring with our customers and industry partners."

The memory used in this SSD consists of Phase Change Memory (PCM) components with a capacity of 1 Gb. PCM is one of several new classes of high-density, non-volatile memories that exhibit dramatically faster read access times when compared to NAND Flash memory.

In order to fully expose the capabilities of these new memory technologies to the server system and its software applications, HGST has also developed a low-latency interface architecture that is fully optimized for performance and is agnostic to the specific underlying memory technology. HGST used its controller expertise to integrate the 45 nm 1 Gb PCM chips to build a prototype full height, full length PCIe Gen 2x4 SSD card.

To achieve latencies close to 1us, HGST devised, in conjunction with researchers at the University of California, San Diego, a new communication protocol. This new interface protocol was introduced earlier this year at the 2014 Usenix conference on File and Storage Technologies (FAST).

The most dramatic advantage these emerging NVMs have over NAND Flash is that their read latency is shorter by more than two orders of magnitude. In order to harness this intrinsic advantage, new controller and interface technologies are needed. Current NVMe protocol is not a problem in the context of NAND Flash but will be inadequate for these emerging NVM technologies that will introduce a new class of storage into the data center ecosystem.




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