Mystery railway buys 80 terabytes of Flash
'First all-silicon firm in Europe', murmurs source
Diamond Point International has sold two Violin Memory arrays, totalling 80TB of capacity, to a mystery European rail service provider.
This customer – no one will say who – is moving from Dell EqualLogic iSCSI and HDS Fibre Channel disk arrays to all-flash arrays. A person familiar with the deal said: "[I] think it is the first European Union company to go all-silicon."
There is a primary Violin Memory array, functioning as a storage area network (SAN), with all of its data replicated to a second data centre's 40TB Violin SAN as a business continuance and disaster recovery measure. The primary Violin system is accessed through a FalconStor gateway which receives the incoming iSCSI and Fibre Channel traffic.
We understand that the FalconStor software interfaces to the Violin array via PCI express, representing it to accessing servers as high-speed (flash) SAN storage and is responsible for storage provisioning, functionality, and redundancy through snapshots, mirroring and replication.
The Violin/FalconStor pairing is said to provide faster SAN storage than a hard disk-drive-based SAN and in a lot less physical space, meaning power and space-related cost-savings. It is also as good as if not better than a disk-based SAN in terms of reliability, cost-efficiency and scalability, as well as having the speed advantage.
This is one of the very first examples, after the eBay Nimbus deal, that we have of networked disk array storage being rejected in favour of a networked flash array.
The rumour mill says Violin gear is flying off the UK Violin channel's shelves, by the way. ®
Nah, It'll be deutche bahn I expect. Our network it still using punch tape, surely ?
80TB - Is that all?
If 80TB is all the server storage that a company has, then this is not one of the Titans of European transport, especially when that must be covering disaster recovery, volume testing, data warehousing and the like.
A little research goes a long way...
Are you going for some ill-informed comment of the year award? Apart from the little issues of this being two 40TB arrays, not a single 80TB one, then what on earth makes you think that a failure requires the replacement of the entire flash array? A tiny little bit of research would show you that these arrays, like those for HDDs, are redundant and support hot-swap, so that the failure of any one storage module will require just that one to be replaced.
As for write endurance, it depends on what your write duty cycle will be. However, HDDs don't last for ever either. Indeed they suffer wear-and-tear just spinning and seeking, whether writing or reading. However, that's what companies take out maintenance contracts for - replacing failed components as required. Flash-based storage is no different.