SanDisk launches Infiniflash, aims to bring flash array costs down

SanDisk launched a new enterprise flash system that could upend the storage economics favoring traditional hard drives.

SanDisk on Tuesday launched Infiniflash, an all-flash storage platform that aims to bring enterprise costs down to $1 to $2 per gigabyte.

With that price, SanDisk is betting that flash storage can begin to replace hard drives. To date, all-flash arrays have been used for apps that need hot data, or information in real-time.

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Ravi Swaminathan, vice president and general manager at SanDisk, said Infiniflash was concocted with technology growth organically as well as acquired. SanDisk launched its foray into the enterprise market in 2011 and has been building the business ever since.

With its vertical integration as well as its own manufacturing facilities, SanDisk is aiming to bring flash "to more and more use cases," said Swaminathan. At first, SanDisk is expecting Infiniflash to be used for big data, content repositories and media streaming.

SanDisk's approach with Infiniflash is notable on a few fronts. To wit:

  • The Infiniflash systems can pack 512 TB in a three-unit form factor and don't require deduplication or compression.
  • Infiniflash can attach up to 8 servers to it. The idea is that Infiniflash, technically a new architecture, can blend into data centers because customers can bring their own compute and networking.
  • The Infiniflash system will run less than $2 a GB with the raw system. With compression and dedupe software, Swaminathan said Infiniflash can go below $1 per GB. Typically, all-flash arrays can get to $2-$3 per GB with software help and $5 to $10 per GB without it.
  • SanDisk is talking to a series of hyperscale cloud providers and other enterprises about using Infiniflash. SanDisk said it will deploy a partnership strategy with integrators, OEMs and other industry players. "I don't feel like we're competing with OEMs or others," said Swaminathan. "There's a lot of ecosystem interest."
  • The company is offering three flavors of Infiniflash---IF100, IF500 and IF700. IF100 doesn't include software, IF500 runs an operating system for Infiniflash and IF700 leverage the software stack acquired in the Fusion-io purchase.

Indeed, IDC dubbed Infiniflash a new category of storage---big data flash. SanDisk said it can offer five times the density, 50 times the performance and 4 times the reliability of traditional hard drive arrays.

According to SanDisk, Infiniflash can be configured with up to 64 hot swappable cards with 8TB of flash capacity. The system also supports multiple operating system and storage management tools.

infiniflash-overview2.jpg

Infiniflash is available immediately.