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OCZ talks up 2TB, 4TB SSDs, previews Thunderbolt-enabled drive

OCZ expects to release its Thunderbolt interface drive this summer.

March 9, 2012 03:37 PM ET

Computerworld - Solid-state drive maker OCZ this week revealed a slew of upcoming NAND flash products, including 2TB and 4TB drives, as well as the first SSD using a Thunderbolt interconnect -- offering twice the throughput that SATA 3.0 offers.

At the CeBIT technology conference this week, OCZ displayed its upcoming Vertex 4 SSD Series, based on the SATA 3.0, 6Gbps Indilinx Everest 2 controller.

OCZ also said its Lightfoot SSD, which will sport a Thunderbolt interface, is on schedule to be available this summer. Thunderbolt, announced earlier this year, offers twice the performance of the latest SuperSpeed USB (3.0), 6Gbps interconnect.

OCZ's Lightfoot SSD with the Thunderbolt port.

Apple has gone all in with Thunderbolt-enabled products, and there are a dozen or so manufacturers ready to ship Thunderbolt-enabled systems this year.

While the Lightfoot was originally designed for high-performance Mac users, the drive will likely be popular among computing users that need to move large files quickly. It is an ideal drive for content creators, for example, OCZ said.

"We are introducing a range of products that leverage our co-developed (OCZ and Marvell) Kilimanjaro platform including the Z-Drive R5, an upcoming 2.5 SATA III, and MiniPCIe, and the Lightfoot, which will be our external Thunderbolt version," an OCZ spokesman wrote in response to a Computerworld inquiry.

The Kilimanjaro platform was first announced at CES 2012. It will sport what OCZ said is the world's first modularly scalable PCIe SSD, which uses OCZ's Virtualized Controller Architecture 3.0. The drive is aimed at enterprise-class applications such as OLTP databases, web servers, virtualization, big-data and collaboration applications.

Kilimanjaro will come in several forms, including a PCIe full height and half height card (the Z-Drive R5) that boasts up to 2.5 million IOPS (I/Os per second) and 7GBps throughput. Another version of the drive will be a 2.5-in. SSD that sports up to 100,000 IOPS and 1GBps throughput. Still a third version of the Kilimanjaro will be a Mini PCIe SSD with up to 50,000 IOPS and 500MBps throughput.

The Kilimanjaro platform in a PCIe card form factor that will be the Z-Drive R5

The Z-Drive R5 will use PCIe Gen 3x16 and will come with MLC (multilevel cell), eMLC (enterprise MLC) and single-level cell (SLC) flash options. It will have up to 12TB of capacity.

The Z-Drive R5 will be compatible with VMware ESXi and ESX, Linux, Windows Server 2008 and OS X servers.

By comparison, OCZ in February announced the fourth generation in its Z-Drive PCIe flash card line that is aimed at servers in cloud computing environments. The Z-Drive R4 CloudServ PCI Express SSD was demonstrated at the CeBIT show with VXL Storage Accelerator software from iSCSI SAN company SANRAD. The SANRAD software works with VMware and Citrix Xen server environments to create virtual storage area networks (SANs) for application virtualization and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

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