Nimbus Data feeds flash storage frenzy
The Gemini flash array is the primary of what’s going to probably be many solid-state storage products announced this week. Nimbus Data says the hot array will cut all-in storage cost to $8 per GB from $10 per GB for its previous model.
The flash frenzy continues this week as Nimbus Data positions its new Gemini flash array as high-density, network-agnostic storage for database, enterprise resource planing (ERP), desktop virtualization and other applications. This is simply the primary of a flood of flash-related news to return as the Flash Memory Summit kicks off in Santa Clara, CA this week and solid-state memory vendors seek to parlay that event – and next week’s VMworld – for max exposure.
Nimbus Data says Gemini will cut total storage acquisition cost – including software – to $8 per GB from $10 per GB for its current E-Series product. Company CEO and Founder Thomas Isakovich said among the chief draws of Gemini, due out within the next 60 days, is its fault-tolerant design that suits it for these mission-critical applications. “This goes beyond the ability supplies to non-disruptive capacity expansion, non-disruptive software updates,” he said.
In addition, Gemini’s density should earn it a glance by large companies desirous to save data center real estate and effort, he said. “To put it in perspective we’re about 8 times the efficiency of 15K disks. We will be able to fit 1 PB of capacity in one rack that will take 8 racks and use 10 times the wattage in the event you used 15K disks,” he said in a contemporary interview.
This is crucial as more companies focus “not just on capex but data center opex,” he said, adding: “They’re running out of space and gear.” The array also offers software-configurable network interconnects so it may run on Ethernet, Infiniband or Fibre Channel LANs as required.
Analyst Ben Woo, president of recent York City-based Neuralytix , said Nimbus Data is inside the game to prove that flash is greater than a brief-term solution. “The indisputable fact that they now use interchangeable I/O modules at the back end means companies now not have to stress in regards to the networking side, in the event that they change, there is a new module.”
Priority: proving flash longevity
Vendors like Nimbus need to convince companies that flash can last. Longevity is the “number one risk in an all-flash solution,” Woo said. “Disk drives have a particularly predictable life, you already know when they’ll fail and will do things to mitigate that [but] flash remains an issue. Nimbus says they’re taking that to a brand new level, talking 10 year endurance in their flash,” he said.
Woo also cited the array’s parallel architecture that helps it drive faster throughput. ”This is a chance for them to play against the massive boys in media and entertainment who need really fast throughput. Nimbus is doing that through a brand new set of silicon that helps them drive that performance in a parallel versus a serial manner,” he explained.
South San Francisco-based Nimbus Data already claims some big customers including Bloomberg LP, Wachovia, the State of California,IBM Lucent-Alcatel, and Stanford University.
Solid storage boom continues
Solid state storage is actually a growing market – researcher IDC expects enterprise flash shipments will grow 20 fold by 2016. However the competition is also booming with companies from bootstrapped startups to multi-billion-dollar legacy powers all searching for a chunk of that action. Last week alone, startup Skyera emerged from stealth, claiming its new all-flash Skyhawk array will cut native flash costs – before compression and deduplication – to a watch popping $3 per GB. about a days later and on the other end of the spectrum, IBM announced plans to shop for Texas Memory Systems, a Houston-based flash pioneer. That deal, the terms of which have been not disclosed, is seen as some way for IBM to higher compete with storage leader EMC which ponied up a reported $430 million for EXtremeIO earlier this year.
Legacy storage vendors like EMC have touted “tiered” storage – wherein companies deploy tape, spinning disks and solid-state or flash memory where each solution is most suitable. Others like Skyera quite often tout all-flash-all-the-time.
Nimbus Data’s Isakovich holds a more nuanced view. “Flash generally is a lot of places but won’t clean the ground. Tape is here, it isn’t dying, however we expect tiering as it’s done by the large boys is a captive solution and is suboptimal for the user. We think users will buy fewer tiers because flash is encroaching on high-end disks. People will buy into open tiers, buying best-of-breed for every layer,” he said.