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Virident Unveils Big Flash Storage In Small Package

Virident Systems is rolling out FlashMAX MLC, a PCIe storage class memory (SCM) product. The system provides 1.4 Tbytes in a low-profile form factor with vFAS (flash management with Adaptive Scheduling), delivering more than 1.4 million IOPS. It is available in 1-Tbyte and 1.4-Tbyte versions for $13,000. The company says its vFAS now includes a data sanitization feature, of particular interest to the public sector, that allows users to remove sensitive or classified data from FlashMAX products in a secure manner, complying with NIST and DOD standards for data sanitization at both the Clear and Purge level for NAND flash media. The company has also announced new funding of $21 million from investors including Intel and Cisco.

According to a recent study from Storage Strategies NOW, solid-state drives and high-speed memory have evolved from their consumer roots into highly regarded--and in-demand--enterprise products. More than 70% of respondents are planning to deploy SSDs and high-speed memory, with 25% already implemented, 32% evaluating and 31% currently implementing the technology. "The key takeaways from the survey include the massive current and intended adoption at the enterprise level," says Jim Bagley, senior analyst and business development consultant, SSG-NOW.

IHS-iSuppli expects the enterprise storage market to have grown 13% in the second half of 2011, with revenue climbing to $4.67 billion. However, while hard disk drives will account for 71% of this revenue, they will only be up 0.9% from the first half of the year. SSDs will be up 61% to $1.35 billion from $843 million.

There are a lot of performance claims in today's flash storage market, notes Mark Peters, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group. "While the raw capacity and performance numbers for Virident are impressive, that is something of a leap-frog game these days. However, what Virident has developed--and the key to its success, I believe--is a much improved ability to manage the performance of solid state so as to drastically reduce the declining performance that is common with many solid state platforms over time and usage, while also delivering impressive predictable performance. Clearly, doing these things has positive economic implications, as well, and both aspects are of significance to users."

There are a lot players chasing the high-end users that want to avoid the few microseconds of additional latency involved in crossing a SAS or SATA interface or Fibre Channel network, states Network Computing contributor Howard Marks. Virident is competing with the likes of Fusion-io, Micron, TMS, LSI and with the PCIe flash card to come as part of EMC’s Lightning, which is also expected to hit the market as an Intel OEM or whitebox product.

"My problem with PCIe flash is that most of our applications just aren’t designed to handle it. If you’re Facebook, you can write your code to run on the best platform, but if you’re in the heart of corporate IT, you build platforms to support the applications, not the other way around. So you’ll need some sort of translation layer if your whole data set doesn’t fit on the flash card.
To get the most out of PCIe flash, we need a translation layer between our standard operating systems and applications and the flash card."

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