At the Flash Memory Summit 2016 conference today, E8 Storage unveiled a storage array built using solid-state drives (SSDs) based on a Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) Express interface that when attached to a high-speed network provides access to shared storage at speeds that are comparable to a locally attached SSD.
E8 Storage CEO Zivan Ori says IT organizations today need to be able to provide multiple applications with access to shared storage. The challenge they face is that storage attached to a single server is difficult to share with applications residing on other servers. By connecting the E8-D24 storage array to a 40/50/100G Ethernet network, applications are able to achieve speeds that are 10x faster than traditional all-Flash arrays, says Ori.
“What the market really needs is high-performance storage on a converged network that is always available,” says Ori.
While the NVM Express interface has been under development for many years, Ori says the E8-D24 is the first array to make use of the specification. Designed around an open architecture that lets IT organizations plug in their own NVM Express drives, Ori says many IT organizations are looking to replace SSDs attached to local servers in order to better manage Flash storage at scale. Each E8-D24 array can support up to 100 servers.
Historically, many locally attached SSDs were acquired by members of the IT staff that were aiming to accelerate a single application. With the arrival of NVM Express and higher-speed networks, Ori says, that same level of performance can now be afforded to every application using shared storage. In addition, Ori notes that the E8-D24 will enable IT organizations to consolidate the number of SSDs they need to acquire, while at the same time providing access to more actual usable storage on those SSDs than when they are attached to a local server. Scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter, an E8-D24 can be configured with up to 70TB of SSDs. Next year that capacity will increase to 140 TB.
It's not quite clear what the right balance is between deploying SSDs in an array versus directly attaching them to a server. But as NVM Express arrays become more widely available over the course of the coming year, chances are high that many IT organizations will be looking for a way to provide more applications than ever with access to high speed storage in the most cost effective way possible.