LSI debuts Nytro flash cards for data-heavy apps

The Nytro family of PCIe-linked flash products aims to boost performance of latency-dependent applications across large and small enterprises, and is likely to show up in storage from IBM, EMC and other major providers

LSI has unveiled its Nytro family of PCIe-linked flash cards, which look likely to underpin the next generation of storage from IBM and other tech giants.

Nytro WarpDrive Application Acceleration Cards

LSI has unveiled its Nytro family of PCIe-linked flash cards, including the WarpDrive Application Acceleration Card. Image credit: LSI

On Monday, the company introduced three Nytro products: the WarpDrive Application Acceleration Card, which ranges in capacity from 200GB to 3.2TB of multi-level cell or single-level cell flash; the XD Application Acceleration Storage Solution, which pairs the WarpDrive cards with Nytro XD caching software; and the MegaRAID Application Acceleration Cards, which help move data between flash storage and SAS-connected hard drives.

By linking flash to servers via fast PCIe connections, the Nytro line-up can improve data throughput, as well as boost the performance of databases and other data-heavy applications, according to the company.

"Typical applications are data analytics and warehousing in real time," Thomas Pavel, director of channel sales at LSI, told ZDNet UK. Other potential uses are "data mining, high-performance computers, particularly if you go to a metadata server [and] financial servers with high-frequency trading", he noted.

LSI has reseller relationships with many of the world's top technology makers, such as IBM, EMC and Fujitsu, so its updated portfolio should shortly appear in equipment from these companies. It is targeting the flash-based MegaRAID card at small businesses and the WarpDrive card at large enterprises, and will go up against rival Fusion-io, which also has PCIe-linked flash products.

Nytro is being sampled by major IT manufacturers at the moment, and is scheduled for release before summer. The WarpDrive card starts at $6,600 (£4,113), the Nytro XD at $9,400 and the Nytro MegaRAID at $1,799.

Alongside the card launch, LSI is releasing a free software download to help small businesses understand their storage infrastructure. LSI Nytro Predictor looks at traffic that flows between applications and their direct-attached or SAN storage to identify 'hot spots' of frequently accessed data.

"It will look at how much data you have flowing over the network," Pavel said. "It gives you in a graphical user interface the information of how big your cache should be."

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