Dynamic Network Factory Ships First Hybrid Storage Drive

The company says its new solid-state spinning disk storage system delivers 20 times the I/O performance of conventional drives while lowering power and cooling costs.

High-performance network storage provider Dynamic Network Factory introduced Feb. 1 the first hybrid solid-state, spinning disk storage system, which the company claims is capable of delivering up to 20 times the drive performance of conventional, 15,000-RPM enterprise-class SAS, iSCSI and Fibre Channel disk drives--while aiming to lower the costs of power and cooling.

Hyper Solid State disks combine standard disk drive technology with random access memory in an intelligent design that maximizes performance and energy efficiency, a DNF spokesperson said.

This hybrid technology fits into a standard 3.5-inch drive bay and uses a standard SATA (serial ATA) interface, allowing existing systems to be retrofitted to support the new disk drives.

DNF, which markets some of its wares under the StoneFly brand and also makes SANs (storage area networks), RAID and iSCSI systems, is using its proprietary, energy-efficient HSS (Hyper Solid State) disk drive package in its new configuration. This is a chip-based--not flash memory-based--solid state component in the drive, the spokesperson said.

Hayward, Calif.-based DNF began recently offering the new drives in 120GB configurations as an option across its full DNF product line, with 200GB models becoming available soon, the spokesperson said.

"This is the beginning of smaller, faster disk drives that we will be seeing in the marketplace. DNF is ahead of the curve by bringing these fast, small disk drives to the market today," said Dianne McAdam, director of enterprise information assurance for The Clipper Group in Wellesley, Mass.

There is a key point that should be emphasized with this announcement, McAdam said: energy efficiency.

"These drives use a lot less energy than other drives. Energy costs are becoming a big concern in many data centers today--these data centers are looking to stem the rising tide of electrical costs. These disks use less power--that is great news," McAdam said.

With capacities of up to 200GB per disk, the new drives use 16 percent less power than 146GB, 15,000-RPM SAS disks, and 24 percent less than 15,000-RPM Fibre Channel disks. In addition, with power consumption of only 12.5W, they use less power than a standard 500GB 7200 RPM drive.

"Traditional solid state disks are extremely expensive, at about $250 per GB, and are only available in 8, 16 and 32GB capacities," said DNF CEO Mo Tahmasebi. "DNF addresses these shortcomings with Hyper Solid State disks that offer 15 times the storage capacity at a similar price."

Performance-wise, Tahmasebi said, the HSS also compares favorably with solid state disks.

"Performance is comparable to traditional solid state disks, but HSS offers higher capacities than the readily available 8 and 16GB solid-state disks," he said.

Also designed for high availability, HSS is aimed at storage deployed in transactional database applications, banking and financial processing, high-volume Web sites and online transaction processing, the spokesperson said.

Unlike standard disks, each Hyper Solid State disk features battery-backed cache that maximizes data availability and eliminates the potential for data corruption errors in the event of a power loss. Battery-backed cache at the drive level offers system builders an additional layer of redundancy in each storage subsystem.

The new disks also use a standard SATA interface, thereby allowing any storage subsystem configured for SATA disk drives to be retrofitted with HSS to support transactional applications requiring heavy I/O.

DNF, founded as a U.S. subsidiary of publicly traded Japanese IT conglomerate CSK Electronics in 1989, is privately held. In 2006, DNF completed its acquisition of StoneFly Networks, an iSCSI storage pioneer and developer of complete, turnkey IP SAN hardware and software. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of DNF, StoneFly is headquartered in San Diego.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about DNFs purchase of StoneFly.

DNF has more than 20,000 customers, including consumers and small to midsize businesses, government agencies, universities, hospitals, financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies. Key customers include UC Berkeley, MIT, the Federal Aviation Administration, FBI, Lockheed Martin, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Fujitsu and General Dynamics.

Pricing and availability

DNF is offering HSS to existing customers and OEMs, the spokesperson said. HSS is now available in 120GB capacities, with 200GB capacities slated to begin shipping in early 2007. Pricing is $2,500 per disk. The company can be reached here.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...