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SanDisk InfiniFlash gets speed bump

SanDisk's InfiniFlash System IF150 replaces the IF100 base hardware building block. The company also released its IF550 upgrade for OpenStack and Ceph storage.

SanDisk Corp. has refreshed its all-flash InfiniFlash System platform to support 12 Gbps SAS connectivity, giving a performance boost to hyperscale workloads, big data and streaming video.

The SanDisk InfiniFlash System IF150 replaces the IF100 all-flash base building block, which was rolled out 13 months ago. The vendor also unveiled InfiniFlash System IF550 for OpenStack and Ceph storage, and scheduled an upgraded IF750 for release later this year. The IF750 blends InfiniFlash hardware and SanDisk's Ion Accelerator software.

Like its predecessor, the IF150 does not come populated with solid-state drives or compute resources. The standard hardware configuration is a custom flash module, with 64 slots for 8 TB SanDisk proprietary NAND cards.

A single SanDisk InfiniFlash all-flash array scales to 512 TB of raw flash in a 3U rack. The vendor claims the 12 Gbps SAS interface can deliver 2 million IOPS for intensive read and write workloads.

Enhanced SanDisk InfiniFlash widens primary storage uses

Eric Burgener, a research director at storage and analyst firm IDC, said the revamped performance expands InfiniFlash use cases.

The flash storage density and cost points make it really interesting for primary storage, which is a use case the first instance [of InfiniFlash] didn't support.
Eric Burgenerresearch director, IDC

"The flash storage density and cost points make it really interesting for primary storage, which is a use case the first instance didn't support," Burgener said. "This moves it a little closer to potentially addressing primary storage application environments that aren't as sensitive to performance."

Gary Lyng, a senior director of marketing and strategy for SanDisk enterprise solutions, said increased throughput is geared to cloud service providers and enterprises that need scale-out storage for Hadoop and similar big data applications.

"The IF150 gives you higher throughput to dramatically improve performance to handle streaming 4K media or real-time analytics. You're going from six to eight gigabits per second to 13 gigabits per second. Your storage won't be a bottleneck in any way," Lyng said.

Lyng said some customers are buying SanDisk InfiniFlash arrays fully populated with flash and supplementing them with partially populated InfiniFlash arrays as failover targets for high availability. Each flash card samples air temperature for potential drive failure. InfiniFlash drives and SAS ports are hot-swappable. A RESTful API allows administrators to access the system, card and media services directly on the InfiniFlash array.

With InfiniFlash, SanDisk helps usher in custom flash modules

SanDisk claims the InfiniFlash System upgrade delivers flash storage at less than $1 per gigabyte before compression and data deduplication are applied. InfiniFlash all-flash arrays are available from resellers, as well as from branding partnerships with IBM, Nexenta Systems' NexentaStor and Tegile Systems. The SanDisk partners bundle their software-defined storage with the InfiniFlash all-flash chassis.

Nexenta is porting its ZFS-based NexentaStor on InfiniFlash. Tegile's InfiniFlash array is branded as Tegile IntelliFlash. IBM is using InfiniFlash arrays to run IBM Spectrum Scale parallel file-system software.

IDC's Burgener said the partnerships allow SanDisk to provide plug-and-play versions of InfiniFlash hardware. He said the SanDisk InfiniFlash System helped kick off the trend of customized flash modules, a model used by Pure Storage's FlashBlade array and Hitachi Data Systems' VSP F Series all-flash system, among others.

"At IDC, we are slowly seeing more revenue contribution to the all-flash array market coming from customized flash-based modules," he said. "When the technology emerged a few years ago, less than 10% of flash revenue came from custom flash modules. Now, the figure is up to more than 20%."

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