Marvell's SATA storage controller supports hybrid storage by combining solid-state drives for a performance boost and hard disk drives for high capacity storage.
showed off a hybrid storage controller that allows users to combine solid-state
drives with hard disk drives into a single storage pool at the Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas on
storage hybrid, based on the company's HyperDuo embedded processor technology,
is designed to bring the SSD benefits-performance
and durability-to desktops and other electronic devices, Marvell said. The
88SE9130 controller enables SSD-like
performance while allowing all data to be stored on a traditional SATA disk,
the company said.
the performance boost, SSDs tend to have smaller storage capacity and cost more
than hard disk drives so the devices have not made a lot of headway into
typical desktop PC designs.
a hybrid system, flash memory is used to accelerate data transfer and caching
while the hard disk is employed as a pure high-capacity storage device. While
long discussed within the storage industry, available hybrid storage products
are scarce. Seagate
Technology's Momentus XT
drive is one of the few, with 4GB of SATA memory
and a large 32GB cache. Adaptive memory technology on the Momentus XT figures
out which application and file is used most frequently, and caches it for
solution combines the flash and hard disk drive controller functions into a
single SATA 6G-bps SATA interface controller. Unlike Seagate, Marvell decided
HyperDuo will allow any size of supported drives; the total storage is
flexible. However, only one flash disk is supported at this time.
other companies, Marvell's approach does not depend on any operating system and
embeds the flash management hardware in the SATA controller. OCZ
's RevoDrive product is operating system dependent.
handles automated tiering, as it brings the cached data to the SSD
are two modes for the controller: Capacity and Safe. Desktops with the 88SE9130
6G-bps SATA storage controller installed in Capacity Mode with an SSD
and HD will actually see a single, virtual SATA storage disk with all the
storage capacity pooled together for the maximum size, Marvell said. Under
testing conditions, the hard disk achieved up to 80 percent of the high-speed
SATA SSD's performance, Marvell
said. Under Safe Mode, all data is replicated on the SSD
and the hard disk in case of catastrophic disk failure.
to Marvell, Gigabyte, Asus, MSI and ASRock
have already agreed to add the controller chip to their motherboards. MSI
is expected to use the HyperDuo chip on its high-end motherboards for Intel's Sandy
Bridge processors. The controllers
will also support Micron SSDs and hard disks from both Seagate and Western
Digital. The chips can come mounted on the motherboard or be installed with an
add-on card, the company said.
the target markets are desktop motherboards, the company is also considering
other applications for the controller, such as in the home cloud market with
network-attached-storage devices, digital video recorders and set-top boxes,
Daniel Yoo, a Marvell spokesperson, told eWEEK.
motherboards and chips are expected later this quarter, and production is
expected to start before April. Actual products should begin arriving in the
second half of 2011, depending on how evaluations go, Marvell said. While exact
pricing was not available, Yoo said it was expected to be less than "two
times premium" over a non-HyperDuo 6G SATA controller.