June 14, 2010 – Not so long ago, performance claims of one million IOPS seemed impressive (and suspect, and irrelevant). But 1.5 million IOPS?!
Startup Kaminario launched today with the introduction of its aptly-named K2 storage system. An entry-level configuration is spec’d at 300,000 IOPS and a high-end configuration delivers 1.5 million IOPS, or 16GBps of throughput, according to company officials.
There’s only one way to get that level of performance, and it ain’t short-stroking. In fact, it’s not even SLC NAND flash SSDs. You have to go with the fastest, most expensive type of storage device – DRAM.
Kaminario’s K2 RAID array is officially dubbed the K2 Performance Enterprise Data Appliance. The blade-based, scale-out architecture has two key building blocks: ioDirectors and Data Nodes.
The ioDirectors interface with hosts via 8Gbps Fibre Channel ports and, together with kOS software, are responsible for directing all read/write I/O requests. The Data Nodes store all data in DRAM (up to 288GB per node), although each node also includes two mirrored SAS disk drives, which are used only for data backup. The Data Nodes appear as a single logical unit. Users scale performance by adding ioDirectors.
The entry-level configuration that provides 300,000 IOPS and 3.2GB of throughput includes two ioDirectors. The 1.5-million IOPS configuration includes eight ioDirectors. The system has equal performance for both random and sequential I/O operations, according to Kaminario product manager Arik Kol.
Not surprisingly, all that performance comes at a steep price. The entry-level configuration (300,000 IOPS) with 1TB of DRAM is priced at $200,000. Yes, $200,000 per TB.
However, why go with a startup? Kaminario isn’t the first company to build super-fast storage systems with DRAM. Texas Memory Systems, for example, has been selling DRAM SSDs for decades.
If you’re in the market for systems of this caliber and cost, I’m sure you have the wherewithal to do in-depth evaluations, and there are many factors to consider, but let’s take a cursory look at some performance-price-capacity comparisons:
Kaminario is charging $200,000 for 1TB of DRAM capacity and 300,000 IOPS of performance.
You can buy two Texas Memory RamSan-440 DRAM arrays with 1TB of capacity and 1.2 million IOPS for $280,000. That’s 4X the performance for an extra $80k.
Kaminario isn’t the only vendor making solid-state memory news this week. Stay tuned to infostor.com’s News & Analysis section on Tuesday for info about two startups with interesting SSD plays – one with an SLC-based PCIe device, and another with an MLC-based SSD that the company claims rivals SLC SSDs in endurance – at a fraction of the cost.