SanDisk is looking to shake up the enterprise storage market by offering all-flash systems that deliver the advantages of flash while dramatically reducing the cost, enabling the technology to be more broadly deployed in place of traditional hard drives.
Available immediately, SanDisk's InfiniFlash products are being touted as a new category of storage capable of plugging the gap between existing high-capacity storage platforms, typically based on disks, and costly high-end systems based on flash.
In fact, SanDisk claims that InfiniFlash is able to deliver a compelling price point of less than $1 per gigabyte, thanks to the firm's ability to use its vertical integration of technologies, including the latest flash memory components and a high-density system design that packs up to 512TB of flash storage into a 3U enclosure.
"We feel this is the kind of innovative product that will have a major impact due to what we're doing with breakthrough economics, delivering a price point that's never been seen before," said SanDisk's executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Sumit Sadana.
Inside each InfiniFlash enclosure are slots for up to 64 memory cards (pictured), each currently capable of holding a maximum of 8TB, although SanDisk said this will increase in future to 16TB or greater, and depends on the type of flash chip technology used.
The flash cards are hot swappable in case of failure, as are the fans and dual power supplies, according to SanDisk. Host server connectivity is provided through eight 6Gbps SAS ports.
Gary Lyng, SanDisk's senior director for product marketing, said the 512TB InfiniFlash model is capable of up to one million input-output operations per second, with less than 1ms latency.
Power consumption equates to about 400w to 500w on average workloads, meaning that InfiniFlash has "minimal impact on power and cooling requirements", according to Lyng.
There are three models of InfiniFlash storage available at launch - the IF100, IF500 and IF700 - which differ mainly in the software and services delivered on top of the hardware.
The IF100 largely targets OEMs, integrators and resellers that want to include the storage array as part of their own offerings. The IF500 is intended for scale-out storage applications, and ships with an optimised version of the Ceph open source software-defined storage platform.
The IF700, meanwhile, integrates the Ion Accelerator technology SanDisk gained from its acquisition of Fusion-io last year, and targets high-performance applications such as those using traditional databases or NoSQL platforms such as Cassandra or MongoDB, SanDisk said.
While InfiniFlash has the potential to change the way storage is implemented, SanDisk may find that many enterprise customers are still wary of all-flash storage architectures.
The firm is apparently conscious of this, and keen to point up the potential benefits of the technology, including greater reliability.
"People are using disk-based arrays for the relatively low cost per gigabyte they deliver, and have designed their storage architecture to cope with the failure rates of rotating media," said Marcos Burnett, SanDisk sales director for Northern Europe.
"When you get flash at the right price point, you can transform your data centre. You can factor in for fewer failures, and when you use a more reliable product, you don't need to keep as many copies of your data for redundancy. You can cut the amount of physical space and power required for storage."
The chief distribution partner for SanDisk's InfiniFlash portfolio in the UK will be Avnet, the firm said.
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