Texas Memory Systems (TMS) this week introduced its fastest flash memory card to date, the RamSan-70, a PCIe card that is half the size and three times as fast as previous card models.
The RamSan-70 has from 450GB to 900GB of capacity and features Toshiba's newest 32-nanometer single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash chips. It represents a 15 per cent to 20 per cent reduction in price-per-gigabyte over TMS's former PCIe card, the RamSan 10/20.
The new card, aimed at server manufacturers, boasts 330,000 sustained I/Os per second (IOPS) and 2GB/sec random sustained external throughput compared to the RamSan 10/20, which offered up to 20,000 sustained IOPS and 700 MB/sec random sustained external throughput.
Texas Instrument's RamSan70 PCIe solid state drive
The RamSan-70 is TMS's first product powered by its new Series-7 Flash Controller, which is based on Xilinx field programmable gate arrays and a PowerPC processor.
"Our controller design doesn't use server CPU or memory resources to manage the flash, it's all built in," said Jamon Bowen, director of sales engineering at TMS.
Bowen said the RamSan-70 has an expected lifespan of between six and 10 years.
The card has proprietary enterprise-level chip-based RAID and an advanced error correction algorithm, correcting more errors than required by the manufacturer.
The Series-7 Flash Controller is also field-upgradable.
"IT managers are always looking for ways to increase I/O performance, reduce latency, and improve overall system efficiency," Jeff Janukowicz, IDC's research manager for solid state storage technology, said in a statement. "A PCIe Flash SSD, such as Texas Memory Systems' RamSan-70, can solve many of these issues for IT managers and delivers a cost-effective solution for most demanding enterprise applications."
Bowen said TMS chose to stick with SLC-NAND flash memory because of its higher innate reliability over mult-level cell (MLC). SLC NAND stores one bit per silicon cell, MLC stores two or three per cell, which wears the memory out faster and requires more sophisticated management firmware.
"What TMS has here is a product that is leading the market in SLC NAND flash capacity," Bowen said. "A lot of entrants into the flash memory market are looking to go after high-volume shipments and are sacrificing the highest level of reliability and going with MLC chips. We believe SLC is still the way to go."
TMS did not release a price for the new flash card.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is [[xref:mailto:firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com].
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