Feeds

Captain Marvell flops out mighty flash/disk hybrid controller

Challenges Momentus to match Flashy girth

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Hoping to help bring affordable flash acceleration to hard disk drives, Marvell has crafted a hybrid controller that makes an SSD and hard drive duo look like a single storage pool to host systems.

Solid state drives (SSD) are very expensive compared to hard disk drives (HDD) and, so far, only Seagate has tried building an affordable product combining the two technologies with its Momentus XT. This is a notebook disk drive with 4GB of NAND flash inside the casing. No other disk drive manufacturer has built equivalent products and, as far as we know, no significant system OEM is supplying either tablet, netbook, notebook, desktop or server systems using it.

Captain Marvel comic cover

Hybrid Captain Marvel gets flashy

What Marvell has done with its HyperDuo 88SE9130 controller chip is to combine flash and hard disk drive controller functions in one 6Gbit/s SATA interface controller with added caching algorithms to put hot data and file directories in the SSD, while, in an optional safe mode, keeping a copy on the disk drive. This is automated tiering at the SSD and HDD component level.

System suppliers would insert this chip in the control path between, say, an Intel South Bridge chip and an SSD and a HDD. The South Bridge would see a single, virtual SATA storage disk, a C: drive as per normal. It would have, Marvell says, up to 80 per cent of the performance of a pure SSD used instead of an HDD. That should mean system startup and application load could be speeded up considerably.

There are 88SE9130 design wins already, with ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte and MSI saying they will add it to motherboards, supporting Micron SSDs and both Seagate and Western Digital disk drives. This approach by Marvell means system suppliers can continue dual-sourcing disk drives and not have to single source flash cache-accelerated Momentus XTs from Seagate.

Seagate's Momentus XT product may be stopped dead in its tracks by this Marvell move.

The lack of any host operating system dependency with the HyperDuo idea is a plus. That is a problem with OCZ's RevoDrive.

PCIe SSD has NVELO software running under the host O/S to execute caching algorithms to move hot data from a SATA disk to the RevoDrive.

We understand sample motherboards and 88SE9130 chips are due out later this quarter and, if evaluations go well, product using the hybrid-enabled SSD and HDD design will arrive some time after that, probably in the second half of 2011. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Death by 1,000 cuts: Mainstream storage array suppliers are bleeding
Cloud, all-flash kit, object storage slicing away at titans of storage
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
VMware vaporises vCHS hybrid cloud service
AnD yEt mOre cRazy cAps to dEal wIth
El Reg's virtualisation desk pulls out the VMworld crystal ball
MARVIN musings and other Gelsinger Gang guessing games
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?