by Thomas Sullivan

Marvell Launches New DragonFly Virtual Storage Accelerator [SNW Spring 2011]

Today Marvell launched the DragonFly Virtual Storage Accelerator, a PCI-Express network caching interface to help increase server I/O traffic and improve scalability of virtual servers. By caching I/O traffic server side, it improves disk read and write performance at the server and reduces load at the SAN, without requiring business to fork out for much higher priced equipment to reduce bottlenecks. Aimed to leverage Marvell's in-house silicon expertise, the DragonFly combines NVRAM and SSDs to cache frequently-used data locally.

Marvell DragonFly Specs:

  • PCIe 2.0 x 8 (x8 and x16 slot compatible)
  • 4K Block Writes: 200K IOPS (maximum write-back cache)
  • 4K Block Reads: 200K IOPS (maximum read cache with 100% hit ratio)
  • 256K Block Writes: 3.0 gigabytes per second (GB/s)
  • 256K Block Reads: 3.0 GB/s
  • Single I/O request (4K block): <25 microseconds
  • 1GB to 8GB DDR3 DRAM (with full ECC protection) with ultracapacitor-based backup to 32GB SLC NAND Flash
  • Supports standard 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA or SAS SSD drives operating at 3Gb/s or 6Gb/s.
  • Both MLC and SLC NAND flash SSDs are compatible
  • OS Support:
    • Major Linux distributions running XenServer or KVM
    • VMware®
    • Microsoft® Windows Server with Hyper-V (planned)
  • Normal power usage: <14 watts (<25 watts maximum)

Designed to reduce I/O demands on SANs as businesses scale virtual servers, the DragonFly is offered in full and half-height solutions with 4 or 8GB of NVRAM or 1 or 2GB of NVRAM for the cards respectively. Both models also offer up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM protected with a supercapacitor that allows backup to onboard SLC-flash in the event of a power outage. All models also support external SATA 6.0Gbps SLC and MLC-based SSDs for increased cache storage as well. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, although given the target markets don't expect these to be cheap.

We expect to see a full demo at Storage Networking World starting today. 

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