by Josh Shaman

SMART Storage Systems and Diablo Form Partnership

SMART Storage Systems and Diablo announced an exclusive partnership that will combine Guardian Technology from Smart and Memory Channel Storage (MCS) from Diablo to create a new breed of ultra low latency (ULL) SSDs and system accelerators. These forthcoming products will attempt to create another transition in the market. For performance-intensive needs, the shift has gone from SATA and SAS connectors for HDDs, to SSDs, to PCIe for SSDs or flash accelerators and now to using this new direct memory control technology. The trend has been toward eliminating latency and to find the fastest communication channel.

Smart and Diablo's team-designed technology is designed for enterprise server, virtualization and cloud environments. The Smart and Diablo partnership expects that their unique ULL Flash-SSD will create an entirely new tier for enterprise servers and storage systems. As a direct memory control device, it will enable performance similar to that of DRAM. Coupled with that is Smart's Guardian Technology Platform that offers enterprise-class Flash endurance and reliability. Helping to keep the costs down, Smart uses MLC NAND in conjunction with their enterprise technology that enhances their products' endurance.

The new technology features performance stronger than current technology with improvements in latency, throughput, I/O bandwidth, density, scalability and operating costs. Smart expects the new ULL SSDs and system accelerators to provide end users with 50% higher transactions rates and 80% lower latency in database caching and OLTP applications. Going beyond this, the enhancements are also expected to be strong in virtualized environments where the projection is that users will be able to have 10x more VMs per server while reducing DRAM requirements by more than 70%.

While the performance improvements are great, there are a number of challenges the new technology must overcome, with server support being primary. Currently almost all servers on the market expect the DRAM interface to only connect DRAM modules, not NAND or other devices that fall outside the current spec. SMART will also have to design a product that matches the current power, thermal, and dimensional requirements of existing DRAM modules just to operate in densely packed servers without putting additional stress on existing components. Another tradeoff is cost of DRAM, since to keep the same amount of DRAM in a system while using existing slots for NAND, users would need to opt for higher density RAM that brings with it a higher cost.

Smart will be selling these new jointly-developed products exclusively, though users can expect to receive customer support from both Smart and Diablo. 

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