FusionIO launches hyperscale computing server flash card

FusionIO launches PCIe card-based server flash ioScale for hyperscale users who want to dispense with HDDs in commodity-based servers

PCIe server flash maker FusionIO has announced the launch of its ioScale server flash storage card.

The ioScale server flash storage card is aimed at the very large web and cloud operations known as hyperscale computing.

ioScale is aimed at hyperscale computing customers that want to build datacentres using very large numbers of servers built on stripped-down commodity server hardware and without mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs).

Hyperscale computing principles dictate redundancy at the level of the server/storage and not components within it.

FusionIO’s ioScale PCIe server flash card targets this market because it is built for capacity and with only a single controller chip.

The PCIe flash cards come in capacities of 3.2TB, 1.65TB, 825GB and 410GB on a card with a single controller. This contrasts with FusionIO’s enterprise-targeted PCIe flash offering, the ioDrive, which comes in capacities up to 2.4TB and with dual controllers.

FusionIO will offer the ioScale card at a price equivalent to $3.89 per GB for 100 units, a price per GB that will fall as more units are purchased. Servers can boot from ioScale cards.

FusionIO will announce the availability of ioScale at the Open Compute Summit this week in California. Open Compute is an open-source hardware specification based on Facebook’s stripped-down server/storage platform.

David Flynn, chairman and CEO at FusionIO, said: “IoScale is based on a lot of what we’ve learned working with customers like Facebook that want to eliminate mechanical storage.

“In the hyperscale market they’re building their own systems and a single controller is good. It’s one less failure point. For these types of organisation it costs more to send people out to change a drive than it does to just failover to another server. They want to rack-and-stack and if something breaks they fail the workload over. The server is the unit of failure. In the enterprise the drive or memory module is the unit of failure.”

PCIe Flash cards are one way organisations are incorporating the IOPS performance of flash in storage infrastructures. In the enterprise market options for locating flash storage include: as an addition to spinning disk in a SAN array or purpose-built hybrid flash array; in a discrete all-flash array, or; on a PCIe card in the server.

Server flash has the advantage of minimising latency between processing and storage but can mean data is siloed within server-bound storage. This is clearly not a problem for hyperscale users that failover entire server/storage devices, but can be an issue for enterprise and SME users. Suppliers such as Dell – with its Project Hermes – are also working on ways of sharing server flash to achieve data protection between hardware.

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