Nimbus puts up its new all-flash array against disk arrays

The E-Class array in one rack can match the performance of 14 racks of disk drives

Nimbus Data Systems today announced a new all-NAND flash storage array aimed at enterprise-class data centers that it said matches disk arrays on price, but outperforms everywhere else.

Nimbus's new E-Class (enterprise-class) Memory System is a fully redundant solid-state storage system that scales from 10TB to 440TB in capacity in a single rack and costs about $10 per gigabyte.

The E-Class uses 5 watts per terabyte of capacity, which amounts to 80% savings on cooling costs when compared to standard 15K disk drive arrays, the company said.

Nimbus CEO Thomas Isakovich said in terms of I/Os per second, the E-Class can do in one rack what 14 racks of 15,000rpm disk drives can do. "When customers start to look at flash as a real replacement for primary storage, they're going to need a lot more capacity," Isakovich said. "...Our objective in the market is primary storage replacement, and we've got the scale to go along with that."

The biggest difference between Nimbus's existing S-Class Memory System is that the new E-Class has a higher capacity point and dual, 2U (3.5-in high) controllers, ensuring that there is no single point of failure. The E-Class can also store 10TB per unit (1.75-in high), while the S-Class stores 5TB per unit. Customers, however, do have to pay for that additional controller in the entry-level price of the units.

The S-Class System has a starting price of $25,000 for a 2.5TB configuration. The new E-Class starts at $149,995 for a 10TB configuration, which represents the company's standard $10 per gigabyte price plus $25,000 for each controller.

The E-Class can store up to 500TB under a single domain name space (file system), which roughly represents 25 2U enclosures, each with 20TB of capacity.

"The S-Class fits more mid-tier users and in the database arena with a lower entry cost and lower capacity. The E-Class is more high end, with no single-point of failure and a higher capacity," Isakovich said.

Pricing information
Pricing for the S-Class and E-Class SSD systems

As with the S-Class System, the new E-Class comes native with a 10:1 data deduplication algorithm and can store and serve up either block- or file-level data.

"The Nimbus E-Class sets a new standard for solid state storage scalability and operating cost economics," Benjamin Woo, a vice president at research firm IDC, said in a statement. "Large enterprises and cloud providers must consider the significant infrastructure consolidation possible with all-flash storage systems. Nimbus is well-positioned to not only capitalize on the need for high-performance systems, but also the significantly greater trend towards primary storage based exclusively on solid state technology."

Nimbus is aiming the new array at storage consolidation for virtualized server environments, Web infrastructure, database clusters, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and high-performance computing.

The E-Class platform consists of a pair of redundant controllers and up to 24 solid-state storage enclosures. Each E-Class controller supports up to four active-active IO modules, including 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and Infiniband.

Nimbus software automatically detects controller and path failures, providing non-disruptive failover.

As with many hard disk drive arrays, the E-Class supports hot-swappable flash drives, as well as power and cooling modules.

From one interface, users can provision capacity using Fibre Channel, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS or SRP (SCSI RDMA Protocol). All storage is also thin-provisioned, meaning it dynamically expands with server application requirements.

The E-Class also sets a new record for efficiency, delivering the lowest power consumption of any primary storage system. Whereas conventional disk arrays consume 25 watts or more of power per terabyte, the E-Class consumes 80% less, reducing energy costs, cutting power and cooling capital expenditures, and improving overall datacenter reliability.

The Nimbus E-Class is available immediately.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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