In the all-Flash array market, enterprise customers generally have had two choices – general-purpose systems based on off-the-shelf SSDs with good software functionality, or highly customized hardware with minimal software features – until now… Introducing skyHawk, an all-Flash enterprise solid-state storage system built from the ground up to provide the most demanding enterprise customers best-of-breed hardware and software. Completely integrated. Completely seamless. And at under $3 per gigabyte usable capacity, completely affordable.
skyHawk delivers the most advanced next-generation performance and density through solid-state technology at a price point equivalent to spinning disk. The Skyera team has leveraged their experience in advanced networking and chip design to build a vertically integrated hardware and software solution which combines the attributes of a purpose-built flash storage array, designed to maximize flash performance, with a rich feature set of storage software tools. For the first time, enterprise customers will be able to utilize solid-state technology as a direct replacement for traditional hard disk drives, bringing unparalleled performance, speed and capacity to all of their applications, while reducing costs for power consumption and physical space.
skyHawk Product Spotlight with Storage Switzerland
CEO Radoslav Danilak and Storage Switzerland’s lead analyst George Crump take a deep dive on Skyera’s skyHawk All-Flash Array.
Leveraging the Economies of the Most Advanced 19/20 nm Flash Technology
One of the main factors for the relatively slow adoption of the widespread use of flash, for all but the most performance- sensitive business applications, is cost. Indeed, due to its relatively high acquisition cost, solid-state storage capacity has been relegated to a very small portion (.3%) of total production storage deployed in the enterprise.
Like any physical hardware device, flash storage capacity has a limited lifespan. When data is written to a flash cell, an electrical charge records the write operation onto the silica. When data is erased, two electrical charges take place – one to overwrite the old data (clearing the space) and a second to write the new data; these operations are referred to as program/erase (P/E) cycles. P/E cycles eventually result in the demise of the corresponding flash cell and ultimately the entire module.
There are two types of flash memory technologies: MLC, or multi-layered cell flash and SLC, single layered cell flash. MLC can be further subdivided into eMLC (the “e” is for Enterprise grade). Then there is the most advanced latest generation of MLC – 19/20 nm – which Skyera utilizes for their storage arrays.
The number of program/erase (P/E) cycles that can be handled ranges from approximately 100,000 for SLC, 30,000 for eMLC, and 3,000 for the latest generation MLC over the working lifetime of a cell. The greater endurance of SLC, and even eMLC, over the latest generation 19/20 nm MLC comes at an enormous price premium.
Today’s enterprise solid-state storage solutions utilize industrial SLC or eMLC NAND Flash storage due to limitations in their flash controllers and overall system design, but Skyera has been able to take advantage of this latest generation, and consequently lowest cost MLC Flash without sacrificing performance, reliability or durability.
Skyera brings the price of solid-state storage to a breakthrough level so that Flash storage can be used for any application in an enterprise without the typical accompanying increase in costs associated with moving away from traditional spinning disk storage.
A New Flash Controller for a New Era of Solid-State Storage
In order to yield the 100x Life Amplification™ required to achieve enterprise reliability and endurance requirements from the latest generation flash, the Skyera design team embraced a full system-wide approach. This meant designing, developing and integrating all of the components in the technology stack – including the flash controller, RAID controller, storage nodes and network interface. The Skyera solution incorporates proprietary solid-state storage blades, not the familiar SSDs that have been in use for years.
Skyera’s custom designed controller employs advanced flash management algorithms to reduce P/E cycles on the NAND and the resulting impact of those cycles. In addition, Skyera’s unique implementation of RAID-SE (similar to RAID-6, but custom designed for Flash), in conjunction with its controller-based compression, results in 10x fewer writes to the Flash module.
A final measure utilized to reduce flash wear is a technique known as adaptive read/writes. This technology reduces flash substrate degradation by “softening writes” when I/O traffic is not high. Simply put, during non-peak hours, the skyHawk controller will emit a lower electrical charge onto the cell. All of these measures enable Skyera to increase the Life Amplification of the latest generation of MLC flash 100x to an industry-leading 5 year life-span. In terms of IT infrastructure life-cycles, this is more than adequate.
Tackling the Network Bottleneck
Higher-performing solid-state systems can easily saturate the typical 10-Gigabit iSCSI channel between the network switch and the storage array. By combining switch and storage subsystems via a high-speed proprietary bus, Skyera has eliminated this potential bottleneck while simplifying data access. With 40 1-Gigabit and three 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, skyHawk enables servers to connect via traditional Ethernet switches or directly to the Flash storage—without the cost and latency of an external switch or the consolidated storage network connection in the data path.
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|Safety and Emissions Certifications|