Nimbus Data Systems Enterprise Flash Memory Drives for $10,000 per Terabyte

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HPCWIRE feature on Nimbus and Nimbus press release – Nimbus will make and sell enterprise flash memory drives for $10,000 per Terabyte.

Nimbus Data Systems has unveiled its new high-density enterprise flash memory system, delivering 10 terabytes of solid state capacity per 2U shelf. The S1000 can scale up to 250 TB per system

The company has managed to collect about 200 customers, the largest being the US Department of Defense. They’ve also corralled OEM wins with IBM Tivoli and AMC

The S1000 10 TB model with a full HALO storage operating system license is $99,995. The FlexConnect option in either optical fibre or copper can be added for $9,995.

The S1000 employs the higher density 34 nm EMLC NAND from Micron, which makes it possible to offer 400 GB of storage per blade. (Because of the over-provisioning, there is actually 512 GB per blade.)

Although S1000 performance may be less than the more expensive SLC-based flash memory products out there, the Nimbus offering easily outruns 15K RPM disk array technology typically found in tier 1 storage. Compared to disk, the S-class products deliver up to 24 times more IOPS (1.65 million), up to 16 times faster data transfer (7.2 GB/sec), and 95 percent lower latency (300 microseconds). Space-wise, a single S1000 2U shelf can deliver the same number of IOPS as in four racks of spinning disks.

Since no moving parts are involved, power savings are equally as impressive. Nimbus is claiming 90 percent lower energy usage — as low as 15 watts per terabyte — and a 70 percent reduction in BTU cooling demand. And since there is less heat generated and no motors to wear out, fewer replacements will be needed.

All the S-class products, including the new S1000, are priced at $10,000 per terabyte, which is more or less in line with other tier 1 disk-based appliances.

The real secret sauce is Nimbus’ HALO operating system, a full-featured software stack that comes standard in all S-class platforms. It includes snapshots, replication, mirroring, deduplication, compression, thin provisioning, real-time analytics, proactive notification, and a Web management interface. In late 2010, the company is planning to make a programmable API available as well. Because all this functionality is baked in, there is no need to purchase third-party software or hardware to make the system enterprise-capable.

The new platform currently tops out at 250 TB per system, but the dedupe and compression technology can boost the effective storage by a factor of 3 to 10, pushing the S1000 into the petascale realm. According to Isakovich, they’re planning to expand system capacity even further later this year

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