The Worlds Fastest Storage

A couple of weeks ago in a post titled “When bigger isn’t better” we ended up having an interesting conversation in the comments section relating to how slow the disk drive is, and the potential for SSD to start edging its way in and begin pushing the disk drive back into the lower tiers of enterprise storage – where these days it surely belongs!

Now fast forward a couple of weeks to yesterday when I was having a browse through the Storage Feeds section of RM and noticed a link titled “Here comes the fastest storage in the world” .  Clicking on the link I was interested to see it was an article on the latest and greatest SSD based storage subsystem from Texas Memory Systems, the Tera-RamSan .

It’s a 1TB SSD subsystem that can be accessed over 10Gbps Infiniband or Fibre Channel.  Its being touted as 250 times faster then disk and holds the record for SPC-1 (random OLTP workload) tests.  Its also has the best price/performance ratio for any SPC tested device.  Quite a lot to brag about!

Obviously that kind of performance is going to be a bit overkill for a lot of applications, but those I/O hungry OLTP apps and the like are going to love this.

When talking to people about SSD, they invariably worry about losing their data while the power is out.  After all, its computing 101 that the contents of RAM disappear when the power goes.  Texas appear to address this with heavy battery backup as well as sets of traditional hard disks configured as RAID3 that have data backed off to them periodically as well as during a shutdown.  Add to this the use of ChipKill technology, to protect data from being lost if a single memory chip fails, then the Tera-RamSan looks no more likely to lose your data than a traditional storage subsystem running traditional RAID5 or RAID1.  Having said that it does look like the standard warranty is only 1 year – not exactly confidence inspiring.

Not wanting to turn this into an advert for the system I’ll stop there and leave the rest to you.

For me, Im hoping that other three letter vendors will start to offer SSD.  Im not placing a bounty on the head of the disk drive, its served us well for over 50 years and still has a lot to offer, but its about time for it to start moving over.  For example Id like to may be see HDS offer support for pluggable SSD in the NSC55 (USP DKC) and then let me hang traditional disk based subsystems off the back for my lower performance requirements.  Im thinking of something *cheaper* and slower than normal cache but faster than disk.  Ive seen and heard from peers of situations where more than just database indexes and other very small LUNs could benefit greatly from living on SSD rather than disk.

Finally in the comments section of the post When bigger isn’t better we talked about the need for a major player to take up SSD and champion it.  While Texas may not be one of the biggest players, they certainly fit one of the criteria required to be an official big iron vendor alongside EMC, IBM and HDS – their name can be reduced to a 3 letter acronym… TMS Wink  No offense NetApp, may be you could start calling yourselves NAP Undecided.

Nigel (mackem)