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NetApp virtualises third-party SSD

Speeds up PAM too

Intelligent flash storage arrays

NetApp's V-Series controller has added support for Texas Memory Systems' RamSan 500 SSD product, in an unexpected twist on storage array sold state drive use.

The RamSan-500 is a high-capacity flash memory-based SSD aimed at applications such as in-memory databases and others requiring every high speed access to large data sets. The product is not as fast as TMS' DRAM-based RamSan products though, only producing 100,000 IOPS. It offers up to 2TB of capacity, and is not a replacement for individual hard disk drives like the STEC SSDs used in EMC's Symmetric and Clariion storage arrays.

NetApp's V-Series is a FAS controller with features enabling third-party arrays to be connected to it and appear within the NetApp storage environment as if they were NetApp arrays with functionality such as thin provisioning, snapshots and ASIS de-duplication. It can thus virtualise EMC, IBM, HDS, HP and now TMS arrays.

The NetApp environment has thus gained a super high-end performance tier which will complement its coming flash memory SSD-enabled FAS arrays and its PAM (Performance Aceleration Module) array controller DRAM read cache.

NetApp has also announced PAM SPECsfs2008 benchmark results. Using these as a guide it says that customers who cannot afford a RamSan-500 or arrays with short-stroked 15K rpm drives can use PAM to turbo-charge existing arrays. It claims that PAM-using customers can:

- Halve the number of drives in an array, reducing rack shelf takeup and power needs but delivering the same data throughput
- Use SATA drives for primary storage instead of Fibre Channel drives
- Speed up existing array response time, whether the arrays have SATA or Fibre Channel drives.

The PAM can be used in the V-Series controllers to turbo-charge the third-party arrays as well. Both the PAM and RamSan-500 virtualising V-Series products are available now. ®

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