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Skyera releases all-flash array for $3 per gigabyte

Skyera Inc. launched its Skyhawk series of consumer-grade MLC all-flash solid-state storage systems today for less than $3 per gigabyte.

Startup Skyera Inc. 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. And that price is before deduplication and compression.

CEO and founder Radoslav Danilak said the vendor dropped the price to 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.

"There is no magic bullet," Danilak said. "[There isn't] one piece which you magically improve. 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 comes out of stealth with three models. The Skyhawk 12 model includes 12 TB of raw SSD capacity and ships for $48,000. The Skyhawk 22 model has 22 TB of raw capacity and pricing starts at $77,000. The Skyhawk 44 includes 44 TB 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.

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.

Will the consumer-grade flash stand up to enterprise use? Jeff Boles, a senior analyst and director of validation services with the Taneja Group, said Skyera's underlying technology looks solid on paper, at least.

"I think they certainly have what it takes under the covers to deliver on their promises of low cost per capacity and long-term endurance," Boles said. "Time will prove it out. It looks like it's well-qualified out of the gate. They've got the right pegs in the right holes. The stuff seems well engineered, at least under the covers."

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