FlashScale uses lessons learned in supercomputing to deliver up to 6 million IOPS in 4U
American storage vendor DataDirect Networks (DDN) has launched an all-flash array that can deliver 6 million IOPS with latency as low as 100 microseconds, in an appliance that’s just four Rack Units (4U) tall.
The FlashScale family of arrays was designed specifically to squeeze every ounce of performance out of your NAND chips, while still keeping the price around $1 per GB – a number that has emerged as something of a standard for the storage industry.
“With a feature rich hardware and software architecture optimized for read, write and mixed workload performance, and use cases such as Financial Services, Life Science and Genomics, Database and Analytics acceleration, Web/Cloud, Government and HPC, DDN Flashscale delivers a 5x performance increase over other flash arrays for as low as $1/GB,” said Alex Bouzari, co-founder and CEO of DDN.
Storage with a pedigree
Source: DataDirect Networks
DDN is the world’s largest privately owned storage company which originally came to prominence while making hardware for the High Performance Computing community. Among other things, it built the storage system for Titan – currently the world’s second most powerful supercomputer.
We all know flash memory is much faster than hard drives, but traditional all-flash arrays can be inadvertently made slower by cheap media, inefficient hardware and software design and vintage interconnects.
Unlike some of its competitors, DDN designed FlashScale for speed, not density: a single NAS appliance can deliver 6 million IOPS with a throughput of 60GB/s. That’s 60 million IOPS from a single rack.
Molly Rector, chief marketing officer at DDN, told DatacenterDynamics that users running demanding research or analytics workloads value IOPS much higher than total capacity. She added that the level of performance produced by FlashScale is chiefly due to proprietary embedded PCIe Gen3 fabric and the use of latest generation Broadwell CPUs from Intel.
FlashScale can support NVMe and SAS drives, or even a mix of both, as long as they come in a standard 2.5-inch form factor. A single appliance can currently fit up to 576TB of flash storage – and this number is likely to go up as new, higher capacity drives become available.
FlashScale doesn’t use data reduction techniques like compression or deduplication since they have a negative impact on performance, so when customers buy the system, they are paying for what is known as ‘raw’ flash capacity. Connectivity options include Ethernet, Fibre Channel, IniniBand and OmniPath.
According to Rector, the appliance is meant compete against a new breed of scale-out storage arrays for large data centers, such as SanDisk’s IniniFlash or EMC’s upcoming Isilon Nitro.
DDN FlashScale will be generally available in August 2016.