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Texas Memory Systems launches flash SAN for high availability

Texas Memory Systems gives the RamSan-720 high-availability flash SAN redundancy to eliminate any single point of failure.

Texas Memory Systems (TMS) today unveiled its first high-availability flash SAN. The RamSan-720 system features redundant components and failover capabilities for organizations that want to run multiple applications on one system with no single point of failure.

The 1U RamSan-720 is based on the RamSan-710 array launched in June. The new system holds either 6 TB or 12 TB of solid-state capacity. Each device has what Texas Memory Systems calls two-dimensional flash RAID 5, meaning the technology incorporates chip-level flash RAID within each flash module and it's the first RamSan system to support RAID 5 protection across all flash cards.

“This allows us to target those who want to run multiple applications on a shared storage device,” said Erik Eyberg, senior analyst at Texas Memory Systems. “Before, we had to depend on the high availability in the applications -- now it’s integrated in the system. We're adding an additional level of protection to the flash module that already has RAID within [it].”

Each RamSan-720 contains two flash RAID 5 controllers and decentralized RAID across 12 flash modules, or 24 flash modules with an expansion shelf. If a chip-level RAID fails, Texas Memory Systems’ Variable Stripe RAID technology automatically bypasses the failed flash devices.

Eyberg said five flash chips on the boards can go down and data still can be reconfigured.

Other redundant components include data ports, controllers, cross-bar switches, data buses, power supplies, power path circuits , clock circuits and batteries. The system uses 300 watts to 400 watts of power, includes Fibre Channel (FC) or InfiniBand connectivity, and the vendor claims it can run at 400,000 IOPS.

Now that the company has brought these high-availability features to market, you can expect Texas Memory Systems to add them to other RamSan systems.

'Shooting for high reliability'

Unlike most of its competitors, Texas Memory Systems has yet to add less expensive multi-level cell (MLC) flash to its systems. Holly Frost, CEO at Texas Memory Systems, said he doesn’t consider MLC ready yet for the type of applications his systems are built to support.

“We're starting at the top of the reliability pyramid,” Frost said. “We're trying to err on the conservative side. There are environments where MLC make sense, but we're shooting for high reliability.”

Jeff Janukowicz, research manager for IDC’s storage group, said the biggest addition to the RamSan-720 is the integrated RAID across all flash modules. “There's RAID within the flash modules and then added RAID across all the flash modules. There's RAID across the controllers,” he said. “The [RamSan] 710 is good for one application. With the 720, you want to run multiple high-availability applications.”

Texas Memory Systems said the RamSan-720 will be generally available by the end of January. Pricing will be $120,000 for 6 TB and $240,000 for a 12 TB system.

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