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All-flash array for $3 per gigabyte

Skyera : 17 August, 2012  (New Product)
Startup Skyera has entered the all-flash enterprise storage market today with a series of iSCSI arrays that use consumer-grade multi-level cell (MLC) NAND to bring the price to less than $3 per gigabyte, that price before deduplication and compression.
All-flash array for $3 per gigabyte

CEO and founder Radoslav Danilak says the the price is about one-third or less than most enterprise flash storage systems by improving the life of the consumer-grade MLC instead of using more expensive single-level cell (SLC) flash. He said Skyera employed techniques such as lower write amplification and adaptive error correction codes (ECCs) to improve the life expectancy of the consumer-grade flash to five years of enterprise use.

The Skyera controller reduces damage that the flash oxide layer typically experiences on writes. With lower write amplification, adaptive ECC, and tight integration with Skyera’s RAID technology, the life of consumer-grade MLC is extended to five years of enterprise usage. Additionally, the flexibility of the Skyera architecture enables the controller and ECC to adapt to future generations of higher-capacity Flash memory that will require different write parameters and more powerful error correction.

Higher performing solid-state systems can easily saturate the 10-Gigabit iSCSI channel between the network switch and the storage array. By combining switch with storage via a high-speed proprietary bus, Skyera has eliminated this bottleneck while simplifying data access. With 40 1-Gigabit and 3 10-Gibabit Ethernet ports, servers can connect via traditional Ethernet switches or directly to the flash storage without the cost and latency of an external switch or the consolidated storage network connection in the data path.

“The ‘norms’ of solid-state storage have seen much change and improvement over the last few years” said Mark Peters, Senior Analyst at ESG, “But Skyera’s flagship product introduction challenges even the best of those new ‘norms’ and looks set to be a true game changer. Its compact, high capacity form, together with impressive longevity and – most notably and unapologetically – a dramatically-attractive price, promise to change the storage landscape; users who thought they could not afford solid-state are simply going to have to revise their thinking.”

The half-depth 1U Skyhawk series storage system also includes 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) network connections and three 10 GigE connections to servers. Barbagallo said Skyera set out to complete a system-wide improvement of the design, development and integration of every component in the technology stack. That work included changes to the flash controller and the RAID controller.

"There is no magic bullet," Danilak said. "Building the hardware from the flash controller all the way up through the system and the network is how we've been able to achieve 100-times life amplification on that cheap, consumer-grade flash."

Skyera offers three models. The Skyhawk 12 model includes 12TB of raw SSD capacity and ships for $48,000. The Skyhawk 22 model has 22TB of raw capacity and pricing starts at $77,000. The Skyhawk 44 includes 44TB of raw capacity for $131,000.

Tony Barbagallo, Skyera's VP of marketing, said additional hardware-based compression and inline deduplication can drop the price to under $1 per GB. The Skyhawk series also features storage management such as performance monitoring and alerting. They also offer block-based data protection features such as snapshots and clones.


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