Data center hardware continues to become more specialized for cloud deployments.
SandForce, which makes solid-state chips that interact with volume flash memory to deploy both primary and I/O-intensive data storage applications, on Dec. 12 released a new multilevel cell (MLC) flash solid-state drive (SSD) that it claims is the first such processor optimized specifically for use in cloud systems.
What difference does it make to a processor if the system it runs happens to be either a cloud or a standard on-site deployment?
The answer is that different workloads have different processing performance requirements, and cloud-related workloads most often require higher performance and endurance because more data tends to be moved from one place to another in geographically dispersed systems.
"As the SSD market matures, architectures are being developed to satisfy the specific needs of various market segments," said Jim Handy, SSD analyst for Objective Analysis.
"SandForce is targeting one of the most important SSD markets by tuning a variant of its high-performance SSD processor to the needs of the Internet data center. This should be a good deal both for SandForce and for the company's cloud computing customers."
The SF-2481 SSD processor features improved endurance and nearly twice the normal error correction strength as standard MLC flash. Other features include:
- SandForce DuraWrite, for balanced performance, lowest write amplification and efficient garbage collection;
- Balanced sequential read and write speeds of up to 500M bps;
- Balanced random read and write speeds of up to 60,000 I/Os per second;
- User-configurable over-provisioning to provide increased flexibility when balancing endurance with performance to further optimize individual cloud environments.
The SF-2481 SSD processor is sampling at OEMs now and will ship in mass production in January 2012, SandForce said.