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Hitachi Announces All Solid-State Storage Array

Accelerated Flash Storage adds purpose-built performance tier in rack-mount form.

Hitachi Data Systems on Wednesday announced availability of a rack-optimized flash storage array designed from the ground up for enterprise data centers. Core to the array are a new multi-core processor NAND flash controller, developed by Hitachi, and NAND flash chips integrated into DIMM modules. These provide higher-access bandwidth and lower latency than a typical SAS or SATA enterprise hard drive-configured solid state drive (SSD). Hitachi has chosen two-bit-per-cell, multi-level cell (MLC) memory to support a lower cost than competitor's single-level cell (SLC)-based arrays.

Organized into a new 8U enclosure, each 2U tray can hold up to 38 TB, with the 8U enclosure topping out at 307.2 TB. Designed to operate with the Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP), up to four enclosures can operate on a single VSP, for a total of more than a petabyte.

These raw flash capacities are enhanced with inline compression. A VSP equipped with the flash enclosure can exceed one million 8 KB random-read I/O operations per second (IOPS) and more than 270,000 8 KB random-write IOPS. When compared to a typical high-performance enterprise SSD, the array provides higher bandwidth, lower latency and consumes significantly less power per GB.

[ See Hitachi Unveils SMB Storage Array. ]

When used with the Hitachi Data Tiering system, the VSP and the new array, hot data will automatically be placed in flash memory. Performance-hungry applications, like online transaction processing, can take immediate advantage of the Accelerated Flash Storage. Hitachi customers can benefit from simply adding the VSP and Accelerated Flash to existing rotating media arrays.

HDS is the latest major storage manufacturer to announce an all-solid-state array. EMC's recent acquisition of Xtreme-IO is an example of leveraging intellectual property developed externally. HDS has taken the longer approach of developing its own technology in this area. Similarly, HP has taken the internal development approach, albeit based on technology it acquired with Lefthand, 3PAR and Ibrix. HDS also faces competition from a crop of startups including Astute Networks, Kaminario, NexGen, Nimble Storage, Nimbus Data Systems, Pure Storage, SolidFire, Tegile and Violin Memory.

HDS is in a position to exploit its customer base with the new product line. It has also done significant vertical integration to achieve economies of scale, from its controller technology to its aggregation of the flash chips into DIMM form factors.

The Hitachi Accelerated Flash Storage system and Virtual Storage Platform are available now.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers. James E. Bagley is senior analyst and business development consultant at the same firm.

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