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LSI's Nytro bombshell blows roof off next-gen PCIe flash

Rebranding exercise gave us an eyeful

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LSI has launched its new Nytro rebranding and inadvertently pre-announced upcoming PCIe MLC flash cards.

The storage and networking electronics biz is combining its legacy MegaRAID controller cards, WarpDrive SSDs and caching software in a portfolio of Nytro Application Acceleration products, and pushing the idea that PCIe flash can accelerate disk-based data access. The aim is to speed up transfers to and from a server's directly attached disk drives or a SAN array.

There are two hardware and two software products in the portfolio, and they are:

Nytro WarpDrive PCIe flash products

The WarpDrive was launched in 100, 200 and 300GB variants, all using 3xnm process SLC flash. Now there is just one SLP-300 300GB product on LSI's website.

However LSI is giving the game away on its future third-generation products by saying that the capacity of Nytro WarpDrives will range from 200GB to 3.2TB of MLC or SLC flash. That means we could very soon see an SLP-200 SLC flash product accompanying the SLP-300, plus an entire new line of MLC flash drives going up to 3.2TB. There are no details of these on the LSI website, so we have no idea of IOPS or MB/sec performance, endurance or anything else.

Nytro XD caching software

LSI uses the buzzword-loaded term "Nytro XD Application Acceleration Storage Solution" to refer to the bundling of XD caching software with the WarpDrive, and the caching of hot read and write data from directly attached disk or SAN arrays in the flash. This could be the MegaRAID CacheCade software used by Dell in its 12th-generation servers. It's likely to be but LSI isn't saying.

Nytro MegaRAID

This seems to be a simple additive branding exercise for the MegaRAID controller cards, with LSI saying they have on-board flash and intelligent caching software, pretty likely to be the same CacheCade software mentioned above. The cards are said to accelerate I/O from SAS-connected directly attached disks.

Nytro Predictor software

This snoops on disk I/O streams from DAS or SAN and identifies application hot spot data that could benefit from LSI PCIe flash caching.

LSI didn't release any pricing or availability information, but that's their recipe: add Nytro to your boxes and turn them into go-faster dragster servers. You can hear the groans from Fusion-io, Micron, Intel, TMS and others; the server flash party just became even more crowded. ®

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