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4/3/2012
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LSI Storage Bundles Eye Speed

Nytro portfolio includes second-generation PCIe Flash SSDs, caching software, and MegaRAID DAS accelerator to increase speed and ease server workload.

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LSI on Monday announced its new Nytro product portfolio consisting of both hardware and software to provide application and storage acceleration. The product portfolio provides data center managers with multiple options for using flash memories to boost performance, which can be up to thirty times the speed of access to high-cost rotating media.

The second-generation Nytro WarpDrive PCIe-based application acceleration cards provide from 200GB to 3.2TB of flash capacity on a single card. Customers can choose from single-level cell (SLC) or multi-level cell (MLC) memories, which are controlled by the SandForce processors and interfaced with LSI Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) technology. (LSI completed the acquisition of SandForce in December last year.) The advantages of this architecture include the ability to communicate with the cards like any SAS drive, minimizing server overhead, which can be extensive in competitors' PCIe SSDs.

For applications where the complete data set cannot be contained in the PCIe devices, the Nytro XD caching software can be used along with the WarpDrive to accelerate access to shared storage area networks (SAN) or direct attached storage (DAS). Customers choosing this approach can greatly minimize the capacity of the WarpDrives because the caching software will keep only the hot data in the WarpDrive. This technique, called a write-through read cache, ensures that data is always written to the SAN or DAS while remaining available in the Flash memory for subsequent reads.

[ Read about Quantum's approach to cloud-based storage security. See Quantum Launches Hybrid Data Protection. ]

Any direct attached storage (DAS) can be accelerated using the Nytro MegaRAID SAS adapter card. This card has on-board flash memory, which it uses to automatically accelerate access to the DAS by caching hot data on the board. This is all done without impacting the server because the cache algorithm runs entirely on the silicon on the adapter card.

LSI Nytro solutions are currently sampling with OEM customers and are expected to be generally available beginning in the second quarter. Pricing for Nytro WarpDrive cards starts at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $6,601 for a 200GB SLC version. Nytro XD bundles start at $9,400 MSRP for a 400GB MLC WarpDrive, Nytro XD software, and a one-year support contract. Pricing for Nytro MegaRAID 8100 card starts at $1,699 MSRP.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.

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