SSDs for HSPs

We're announcing a couple of new things in the flash SSD space. First, support the Intel X25-E SSD in a bunch of our servers. This can be used to create a Hybrid Storage Pool like in the Sun Storage 7000 series, or as just a little flash for high performance / low power / tough environmentals.

Second, we're introducing a new open standard with the Open Flash Module. This creates a new form factor for SSDs bringing flash even closer to the CPU for higher performance and tighter system integration. SSDs in HDD form factors were a reasonable idea to gain market acceptance in much the same way as you first listened to your iPod over your car stereo with that weird tape adapter. Now the iPod is a first class citizen in many cars and, with the Open Flash Module, flash has found a native interface and form factor. This is a building block that we're very excited about, and it was designed specifically for use with ZFS and the Hybrid Storage Pool. Stay tuned: these flash miniDIMMs as they're called will be showing up in some interesting places soon enough. Speaking personally, this represents an exciting collaboration of hardware and software, and it's gratifying to see Sun showing real leadership around flash through innovation.

Comments:

I am very happy to hear about the Open Flash Module effort. Is there any more information available somewhere ? I googled around but found nada. What will the hw interface look like: AHCI controller, custom interface exposing the SSD internals, etc ?

Posted by mrb on March 10, 2009 at 07:10 PM PDT #

I understand that SSDs in 7000 series are not Intel SSDs. I wonder what was the reason behind using different SSDs in "normal" servers compared to 7000?

Posted by Robert Milkowski on March 10, 2009 at 07:35 PM PDT #

where can I get a controller perhaps pci-e 1x to plug this into my Sun Ultra 20 or other server to ram up my speed and demo ZFS + SSD's without having to bring in a 7000 series box.

Posted by James Dickens on March 11, 2009 at 02:42 AM PDT #

@mrb I don't have any additional information about the Open Flash Module, but I'll ask around and try to find some resources.

@Robert That's right: the SSDs we use for the Logzilla (ZIL) and Readzilla (L2ARC) in the Sun Storage 7000 series are a bit different. Those SSDs are particularly well suited to our use cases. The Logzilla is considerably faster than the Intel part, and the Readzilla is considerably larger. The Intel X25-E is a great balance which is why we're supporting it in a variety of platforms.

@James I'm afraid I can't help you there.

Posted by Adam Leventhal on March 11, 2009 at 04:30 AM PDT #

This is a really cool announcement. We build RAM-based search engine technology and need really fast and reliable storage for processing. A platform that offers built-in flash and large RAM capacity is perfect. Will it be possible to get early access through any of the SUN developer programs? Thanks a lot!

Posted by Felix on March 11, 2009 at 06:58 PM PDT #

So you recommend the intel-ssd using for zil with large amount of data
(around 20TB) and heavy write traffic (J4400, T5120) ?

Posted by Stephan Bergfeld on March 11, 2009 at 07:36 PM PDT #

@Felix I don't know how we'll be releasing those modules, but talk to your contacts in the Sun developer program to see if they can get you access.

@Stephan Absolutely. The Intel X25-E SSD should accelerate your performance pretty significantly if you have a write IOPS intensive workload. Bear in mind that it won't help much for a streaming or asynchronous write workload because those are bandwidth problems best solved by a bunch of disks.

Posted by Adam Leventhal on March 12, 2009 at 01:56 AM PDT #

Does it make sense to use these servers with the new 32gb SSDs as SWAP devices rather than L2ARC caches? What kind of performance improvement would that provide? (ARC over SWAP)

Thanks, great stuff!

Posted by Anil on March 12, 2009 at 02:20 PM PDT #

@Anil Great idea, but unfortunately I have no data on the improvements you'd see there. Give it a shot and let us know.

Posted by Adam Leventhal on March 12, 2009 at 03:40 PM PDT #

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Adam Leventhal, Fishworks engineer

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