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Fancy using flash? Compose yourself, says infrastructure startup

Whack some SSDs in your infrastructure and off you go

Composable infrastructure startup DriveScale has said its users will be able to add flash storage to their existing composable server and disk storage infrastructure.

The idea is to dynamically provision server and storage resources to applications so they get the right amounts of compute and storage capacity and performance without any over or under-provisioning. It has claimed that at enterprise scale, this is more efficient than existing servers with either direct-attached or shared external arrays, or hyperconverged infrastructure systems like Dell EMC's VxRail.

DriveScale's Software Composable Infrastructure (SCI) has a software control plane to orchestrate the hardware resources.

It claimed SCI's flash drive support delivers more affordable and flexible flash storage than other vendors' all-flash arrays, said to have unneeded features at high cost. The initial hardware support is for Western Digital's (HGST) Ultrastar Serv24-HA, which DriveScale calls an Ethernet-connected JBOF (just a bunch of flash drives), or EBOF.

Actually it has a pair of Xeon SP CPUs in a high-availability configuration. These control 24 x 2.5-inch drive bays supporting WD (HGST) dual-ported, NVMe SN200 SSDs with 1.92, 3.84 and 7.68TB capacities, and there are 4 x 100GbitE ports.

The SN200 uses 128Gb MLC chips made with 15nm technology; pre-3D NAND in other words. With WD now making 64-layer 3D NAND 512Gb flash chips, we would expect significantly higher-capacity drives to become available soon.

We thought the granularity of flash capacity provisioning was at drive level, meaning some over-provisioning may still occur, but DriveScale says it can actually provision flash capacity down to a "slice of a drive" level.

DriveScale's founder and chief architect, Satya Nishtala, said: "Our goal is to provide native NVMe storage to servers for modern applications used to manage enterprise-scale, big data workloads in an all-flash environment."

Modern applications means NoSQL, Spark and Containers.

DriveScale claims this is the market's first Software Composable Infrastructure (SCI) for flash. However, Attala Systems, HPE Synergy and Liqid's composable infrastructure systems already support SSDs. ®

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