TMS launches RamSan-70 Gorilla
PCIe ape beats chest, roars. Who will challenge Kong?
TMS has doubled the capacity of its PCIe flash card and almost tripled its performance.
The RamSan-70, code-named Gorilla, has a capacity of 900GB of single-level cell (SLC) flash, twice that of the preceding RamSan-20. Gorilla, using 32nm NAND from Toshiba, is 2.75 times faster than the RamSan-20, half the size, and has a longer lifespan; 18 years at 25 per cent write bandwidth.
TMS RamSan-70 PCIe flash card (TMS).
The random read IOPS number is more than 330,000 and the product delivers slightly over 2GB/sec bandwidth. How does this compare to competing products?
The leading product in this SLC PCIe flash part of the storage market is Fusion-io's ioDrive Duo, holding up to 320GB, and rated at 261,000 random read IOPS (with 512B blocks), 262,000 random write IOPS, and 1.5GB/sec sequential read and write I/O. The new RamSan blows it away.
Virident's tachION holds up to 800GB of SLC flash and is rated at 300,000 IOPS with a 75:25 read/write ratio. It runs at a peak of 1.44GB/sec and has a sustained bandwidth of 1.2GB/sec. The endurance is 24 years at 5TB of writes/day. The TMS product seems to out-perform it on I/O.
LSI's WarpDrive SLP-300 holds up to 300GB of SLC NAND, and runs at 240,000 random read IOPS, 200,000 random write IOPS, and 1.2GB/sec doing sequential reads. Again TMS's RamSan-70 out-performs it.
Intel is supplying PCIe NAND for EMC's Project Lightning but the performance numbers haven't been released.
The RamSan-70 does not rely on the host processor for flash translation as there is an on-board PowerPC CPU, firmware-upgradable Xilinx FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays), a lightweight host driver. and a complete on-board Flash Translation Layer. Flash look-up tables are included and there is on-board RAID.
TMS has made this an exclusively OEM product. The pricing is 15 - 20 per cent less than the RamSan-20, there is a four to six week lead time, and OEMs have to commit to 100 boards a year. First OEM ship will be in four to six weeks.
TMS is having a good mid-year, having scored a record-breaking SPC-1 benchmark with its externally-attached RamSan-630 NAND array, and now bringing out the RamSan-70. With EMC megaphone marketing the idea of PCIe flash, it looks like good timing on TMS's part. ®
ahh yes price...
no mention of any ball park figure. Mind you, made to order probably tells you all you need to know.
Except, if you don't use the PPC to manage the flash translation but use the FPGA assisted by the PPC then you get line-speed processing. There are few devices in this world faster than a good FPGA and the Virtex-6 is really quite good. How effective it would be at interfacing the PCI-e bus to the NAND is a question, but if they have it right then it could be damn fast.
Disclaimer: I don't work for anyone involved.
Onboard processor has drawbacks...
TMS architecture’s impact will be felt when the card begins to get pushed (device fully seasoned, full capacity utilization, multiple threads etc.). That’s where Virident tachIOn shines.
Ramsan is able to produce decent micro-benchmarks. But, the strength highlighted in the article: "The RamSan-70 does not rely on the host processor for flash translation as there is an on-board PowerPC CPU" -- is also its weakness.
This means that real-world application performance, where multiple cores are all accessing the flash in parallel, will be difficult to scale. The speed of the PowerPC CPU cannot keep up with multiple cores running at 2.5+ Ghz all pushing I/O in parallel. Straight micro-benchmarks create close comparisons, but the ‘offload’ architectures typically fall behind as soon as you put them into real-world applications.
Disclaimer: I am an employee of Virident!