Fusion-io offers new way to prevent data loss

(This story first appeared on DEMO.com.)

High-speed, I/O storage provider Fusion-io Tuesday introduced full-chip redundancy technology for its ioDrive to keep flash drives working when chips fail so businesses don't lose data.

Reliability is a major concern for companies that buy solid-state flash drives for speedy data retrieval. These drives are powered by chip packages so tiny that they are measured in nanometers, and run at high voltages. Typically, the heat generated causes about 4% to fail, said Rick White, Fusion-io's chief marketing officer.

"Usually if chips fail, the drive goes bad and an enterprise loses information. We make so it's nearly impossible -- an eight in one million chance -- to fail," White said.

The Salt Lake City start-up has integrated a dedicated flash chip, called a NAND, on a computer card known as a peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe). This specialized NAND chip serves as a stand-in parity chip, called an XOR, which takes over operations for the failed chip to prevent information loss.

"We're the first company to use RAID-class redundancy and reliability using 'flashback protection' at the card level," White said.

Fusion-io's technology combination of advanced bit error correction, proactive monitoring of stored data and a new chip dedicated to taking over for a failed one creates a "self-healing" system that can quickly restore, correct and resurrect lost information, the company said. The new Fusion-io technology also extends the PCIe card's life, White said.

The ioDrive with flashback is priced at the original product's cost of $2,400 for 80GB, $4,800 for 160GB and $8,900 for 320GB.

In June, Hewlett-Packard Co. struck a deal to adapt Fusion-io's storage technology to HP enterprise servers to improve data access speeds and reduce the amount of energy they consume. While the companies didn't announce a timeline, Fusion-io's ioMemory architecture is expected to be in HP enterprise servers, including the industry-leading HP BladeSystem c-Class system, shipping in 2009.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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