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NexGen turns its PCIe-based flash storage into a series

Eight months after coming out of stealth with a storage system using solid-state PCIe cards and using its own type of quality of service, NexGen Storage is expanding its portfolio.

That’s no surprise, considering NexGen had one model at launch. This week it turned its n5 storage system into a three-product series to cover more of the midrange market.

“Today [before the additions] we have a single product, and we know that’s not adequate to cover the market,” said Chris McCall, NexGen VP of marketing.

NexGen’s new platform consists of the n5-50, n5-100 and n5-150. The n5-100 is almost identical to the original n5 system launched last November. It has 1.24 TB of PCIe-based flash (two 68 GB Fusion-io cards) and 32 TB of raw capacity. The difference between the n5-100 and the original n5 is the new system supports Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet instead of one or the other. The n5-50 has 770 GB of solid state and 16 TB of raw capacity and the n5-150 has 2.4 TB GB of flash and 48 TB of raw capacity. All three models include eight GbE and four 10GbE data ports and four GbE management ports.

NexGen claims the n5-50 can attain 50,000 IOPS, the n5-100 100,000 IOPS and the n5-150 150,000 IOPS. NexGen’s ioControl QoS software lets customers provision minimum IOPS levels to each volume. The systems range in price from $55,000 to $108,000. The n5-50 and n5-100 are expected to be available next month with the n5-150 to follow in September.

McCall said NexGen’s architecture is more efficient than using all flash as other startups have done. He claims NexGen storage systems run as fast as all-solid state disk (SSD) storage – especially for writes.

“Most vendors integrating solid state did it via disk drives,” he said. “Typically they add SSD as read-caches but they’re not doing write workloads to solid state. The world is going from saying ‘I need more performance’ to ‘I need to manage that performance.’’

Perhaps the next step for NexGen will be the ability to cluster its systems. McCall said “we’re strongly looking into it” but there is an engineering challenge. “A clustered system uses a network between nodes,” he said. “Because SSD is so low latency, the network can undermine performance between nodes.”

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