Skyera hits UK market with skyHawk all-flash arrays

All-flash array startup Skyera inks UK distribution deal that brings 1U MLC-based arrays to market

All-flash array maker Skyera has entered the UK market, announcing a distribution deal with London-based storage specialist M2M-Direct.

The deal will mark the availability in numbers in the UK of San Jose-based Skyera’s skyHawk all-flash array platform.

Skyera makes big claims about the price per gigabyte of its products and the small amount of datacentre space they occupy. The company claims per-gigabyte pricing of $2.99 (£1.75), with that dropping to $0.99 following data reduction.

The company was the creation of former executives from the now-defunct flash memory controller maker SandForce. Its skyHawk products comprise three models with 12TB, 22TB or 44TB of raw capacity, and all coming in a 1U half-height form factor.

The skyHawk all-flash arrays use a custom ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) in their controller, which is driven by its own SCOS operating system (OS). That in turn sits above so-called storage blades comprising commodity multi-level cell (MLC) flash dies.

Data protection across flash modules is handled by Skyera’s proprietary Raid-SE, which, according to channel sales vice-president Timm Hoyt, is equivalent to the parity-based Raid 6.

SkyHawk is iSCSI block access and NFS NAS connected. Fibre Channel connectivity is not planned.

Later this year, Skyera plans to launch the skyEagle platform. This will scale to 650TB in a 1U form factor and will include Fibre Channel access. Where skyHawk doesn’t have snapshots, replication or high availability, these features are planned for inclusion in skyEagle.

Skyera joins a hot market for all-flash array products, driven by the need for rapid access, low-latency storage to support virtualisation environments.

The market is currently divided between startups such as Skyera and big six storage players – EMC, Dell, NetApp, IBM, Hitachi Data Systems, HP – which have either bought ground-up developed flash systems from startups or retrofitted flash drives to existing array products.

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