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STEC Flash Balloons

It’s fielding a couple of hefty 2TB solid-state drives along with a new version of its caching software

Hard drives are dying and Flash is coming into its own.

So, sensing an inflection point, STEC, which has a long history in Flash, figures to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the fashionably huge volumes of data of late that have to go somewhere, the increasing availability of Flash-aware apps, the decreasing cost of Flash - though it still isn't exactly cheap - the higher performance that's expanding its use cases and the smaller form factors that cater to energy concerns.

It's fielding a couple of hefty 2TB solid-state drives along with a new version of its caching software.

The widgets, an industry first, are either PCIe or Serial-attach SCSI drives, each reportedly supporting unlimited writes. The EnhanceIO caching software improves their performance, manageability and usability, while optimizing for virtualization applications across Windows and Linux environments.

STEC says the 2TB s840 Enterprise SAS SSD works seamlessly with existing enterprise storage infrastructures. It appears to any system or RAID controller as a standard drive that can be managed by existing storage management tools, delivering true plug-and-play architecture.

Its proprietary controller includes extra flash channels that can be used to deliver additional capacity, a feature not available in off-the-shelf controllers, enhancing its performance and scalability.

The drive's PowerSAFE feature protects against unscheduled power outages, which STEC figures is a critical requirement in the data-intensive market segments of cloud computing, data centers and large-scale Internet properties.

A powerful little dickens, the widget's supposed to do up to 75,000 random read IOPS, 11,000 random write IOPS, 500MB/sec in sequential reads and 300MB/sec when sequentially writing, up to 120,000 non-random read IOPS and up to 104,000 non-random write IOPS.

STEC's 2TB s1120 PCIe Accelerator SSD is supposed to improve data access without expanding hardware footprints and operational costs, exhibiting extremely low power, high performance and endurance.

The company claims it sets the bar for 2TB solution power consumption, requiring a mere 25W compared to 55W from competitors.

It's supposed to do 135,000 random read IOPS, 165,000 random write IOPS, at a 1.4GB/sec sequential read rate and 1.1GB/sec sequential writing.

With the s1120 PCIe Accelerator, multiple SSDs can be deployed on a single server while the widget's PowerSAFE technology ensures that data isn't lost in a power or drive failure.

The 2TB s1120 card is supposed to be a natural for applications such as Big Data, data analytics, statistical analysis and modeling, and video imaging, editing and sharing.

As mentioned above, both SSDs are supposed to support unlimited writes, which STEC says ensures their longevity and reliability in write-intensive applications and optimizes users' return on investment.

Figure $7,995 for the SAS dingus and $9,425 for the PCIe gismo.

EnhanceIO is designed to help users create, configure and analyze cached environments with cost-effective scalability using SSDs. The new version adds non-disruptive, fast, consistent and reliable write-back caching that improves performance while reducing latency with improved data integrity.

The software upgrade, which is available now and downloadable, also includes usability improvements; the graphic user interface compiles additional statistics and analytics to deliver increased productivity. EnhanceIO is ideal for database, Big Data and virtualization applications, where the drive-agnostic caching software provides non-intrusive performance enhancement by seamlessly integrating into existing storage infrastructures and increasing I/O levels.

It's $295 for Linux and $495 for Windows.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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