Broadly speaking, there are two schools of thought when it comes to flash storage. One holds that flash is perfect for performance-sensitive workloads but spinning disk is cheaper and that hybrid solutions that use both technologies are fine for many customers. The other says it’s time to put flash everywhere — on in servers, in storage. Everywhere.
Count Nimbus Data as one of the all-flash-all-the-time vendors. The South San Francisco company just launched Gemini F400 and F600 arrays that use 1X-nanometer MLC flash throughout and claim to quadruple-write performance and double-read performance — although it was unclear compared to what. Nimbus Data’s press release, with this news, unilaterally “declares hybrid storage obsolete.”
Nimbus Data says the combination of its dedupe, compression and provisioning software plus hardware cuts price per useable gigabyte to $0.78 and thus challenges hybrid HDD/SSD hybrid arrays on price. That’s a claim I’m sure some of the HDD/SSD vendors will be sure to challenge.
The company, which is self-funded — no venture capital! — launched its first all-flash arrays a year ago.
The newest arrays, which will ship in the fourth quarter, come in a 2U form factor and provide 3 TB to 48 TB of hot-swappable flash. Price for the F400 with 8 SFP+ ports for 16 GB fibre channel and 10 Gigabit Ethernet starts at about $60,000. The F600 with 8 QSFP+ ports for Infiniband and 40 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity starts at about $80,000.
It’s clear that flash storage is a big deal — there’s a bevy of startups built on its value and storage kingpin EMC has dropped a lot of dough buying up flash expertise with acquisitions of ExtremIO in 2012 and ScaleIO this past year.
While Nimbus Data and other flash vendors will keep beating the all-flash drum, it’s still way to early to write off hard drives — or even tape — just yet.