Nimbus launches all-SSD storage array

The company aims to make its S-class flash-based arrays a feasible replacement for spinning disk arrays by placing them in the same price range
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Nimbus Data Systems on Monday launched an enterprise data storage array based entirely on solid-state drive technology, promising gains in performance and energy efficiency.

In addition, the S-class systems are priced not far from what companies might expect to pay for a comparable array based on spinning disks, according to Nimbus. The system costs $24,995 (£16,179) for a 2.5TB array or $39,995 for a 5TB model — roughly the same per gigabyte as some hard-disk drive arrays.

The system supports iSCSI and NAS, and includes Nimbus' Halo operating system. It comes with software for features such as thin provisioning, local and remote replication, inline data deduplication and compression and snapshot functionality. Nimbus said the system achieves typical deduplication ratios of 10:1 in virtualised environments.

The version of Halo included with the flash blades supports DRAM buffering, a caching technique designed to improve read performance so that it is almost the same as write performance.

Enterprise adoption of solid-state drives (SSDs) has been hampered by the fact that many view them as expensive and not yet an economic proposition. Nimbus said the relatively low cost of the S-class is due partly to the fact that it designed its own SSDs, which use Nand chips from Micron.

Nimbus said it sees a growing demand for high-performance storage arrays in part due to the growth of server and desktop virtualisation and other input/output-intensive technologies such as online transaction processing (OLTP). The array is intended as a way of easing the storage performance strain by addressing "the root of the storage performance problem": the hard drive, the company said in a statement.

On the performance side, the S-class promises to deliver up to 1.35m uncached input/output operations per second (IOPS) and 41Gbps of throughput performance. Each blade is hot-swappable and is connected to a 6Gbps SAS internal architecture, providing scalable performance up to 24 times that of a 15,000rpm spinning-disk array, Nimbus said. The blades are available in 100GB or 200GB capacities.

As for energy consumption, the company said the S-class uses 95 percent less power than a typical spinning-disk array, with 6,000 IOPS per watt and up to 675,000 IOPS per floor tile.

Nimbus claimed that to match the uncached I/O performance of one S-class shelf, which consumes 80W and 2U of rackspace, a business would need to deploy 2,080 15,000-rpm drives, which would take up eight datacentre racks and 37,000W of power.

The system is also designed to give a better capacity density by offering 25TB per unit of rack space, an eight-fold improvement over a typical hard-disk array.

The S-class can be configured with up to 504 hot-swap flash blades altogether — 24 blades per 2U shelf, and up to 21 shelves per system — for a maximum capacity of 100TB. The systems come with four Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) or 10GbE ports and a port for Wan-based replication.

The S-class is currently available via Nimbus's integrators and distributors.

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