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Coho Data refreshes hybrid flash array, doubles capacity

The DataStream DS1008 array gets a capacity jolt, while a software upgrade adds flash optimization tools and subscription-based storage pricing.

Scale-out NAS startup Coho Data, Inc., released a higher capacity version of its flagship DataStream hybrid flash array, and added optional cloud-like subscription licensing based on consumed capacity.

Coho Data's scale-out NAS systems are built with commodity hardware and target VMware shops. The new DS1008h hybrid flash array  can be populated with up to 12 Western Digital Corp. 8 TB, helium-filled hard disk drives (HDDs) and four 1.6 TB PCI Express (PCIe) flash devices for 102.4 TB of raw capacity -- approximately 50 TB of which is usable. Effective capacity is listed at 100 TB using Coho Data’s data reduction.

As with previous iterations, Coho Data rates the 2U DS1008h for 180,000 IOPS and comes with two controllers, which the vendor calls "MicroArrays," for high availability and failover.

The DS1008h hybrid flash array succeeds the DS1000h, which topped out at 26 TB of useable storage.

In May, the vendor added the all-flash DS2000f system, which consists of 6.4 TB of PCIe flash and up to 24 solid-state drives. To blend capacity and performance, customers have the option to build mixed clusters of hybrid and flash DataStream nodes.

"All our arrays can act as a coherent system," said Andy Warfield, CTO at Coho Data. "The goal of the cluster is to let our customers purchase what they need, and to grow in response to their performance and capacity needs."

DataStream 2.5 prescribes flash-HDD mix

DataStream software version 2.5 introduces flash optimization technology, FlashFit, which analyzes application workloads and prescribes a recommended ratio of flash to spindled media. FlashFit looks at the relative age of data in aggregate or per virtual machine (VM), and indicates how much is consuming flash storage.

Coho Data claims FlashFit could be used to complement automated flash tiering in DataStream arrays.

"It lets you characterize how problematic a given workload is to the host. It's almost like being able to associate a cost to a given VM," Warfield said.

Russ Fellows, a storage analyst with Boulder, Colo.-based Evaluator Group, said Coho Data made significant "under the hood" changes with the new software.

"They've increased the namespace to support millions more objects. They used to distribute the data on a host-based system, but now it's on a per VMware Virtual Machine Disk basis. If you have 10 VMs on the same host, you can access them all on the same host, but they are distributed on different back-end DataStream nodes," Fellows said.

Monthly pricing emulates cloud storage model

Warfield said Coho Data customers now can choose monthly subscription pricing and avoid large capital expenditures for new storage. The financing arrangement lets customers scale on-premises storage and pay only for the amount of stored data.

The subscription price is expected to be about 10 cents per GB per month, Warfield said.

"We've tied it to data volumes, so we can offer pricing that's similar to what they would pay for cloud storage," he said.

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Does Coho Data's cloud-based pricing model make sense for scale-out NAS?
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The issue with startups is always whether they're going to be around in another year. Interesting that vendors are starting to pick up on the helium drives though. I'd like to hear more about how those are doing. Are they getting user acceptance? What's the MTBF?
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Yes, the helium drives seem to be getting traction Sharon. Check HGST.com for specs on endurance and reliability.
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