In recent years, the enterprise SSD market has gained significant traction from organizations looking to reap the benefits of server-side flash. Until now, PCI Express-based flash has been the performance standard for SSD implementation - praised for its high bandwidth and low latency. Although compelling, the improvement over pre-existing technologies (namely SATA/SAS) has served to obscure several shortcomings. While PCIe represents progress, it is still a less-than-optimal approach for applications with strict performance requirements. The introduction of Memory Channel Storage™ (MCS™) eliminates the need for suboptimal trade-offs – thereby unlocking the true potential of flash in the enterprise.
When NAND flash first started gaining popularity, storage protocols and interconnect speeds were the performance bottlenecks. While PCIe’s theoretical bandwidth appears attractive, limitations due to design create significant overhead – thereby reducing its real-world applicability.
PCIe is not a native storage interface and requires an onboard controller to manage resources between flash and server I/O. Handling large amounts of flash create computational complexity, limiting both the performance and reliability of the controller. Thus, despite access to a wide pipe, PCIe-based SSDs are unable to realize the high-speed interface under load – making theoretical bandwidth irrelevant.
The above architectural limitations impact the throughput of data and subsequent IOPS supported for both read and write operations. As a result, when outstanding I/O requests scale beyond controller thresholds, latencies dramatically increase. Furthermore, due to the limited number of card slots, it is often impractical to scale PCIe-based solutions without significant investment in additional IT infrastructure.
To overcome the drawbacks of traditional PCI Express architectures, Diablo Technologies has developed a no-compromise approach that represents the next logical step in the evolution of server-side flash storage technology.
“Memory Channel Storage is a ‘purpose-built’ solution, designed to provide a scalable interface that expands the architectural advantages of flash as memory,” said Riccardo Badalone, CEO and co-founder of Diablo Technologies. “By maximizing parallelism and eliminating the complexity of PCIe-based architectures, MCS accelerates and virtually eliminates the latency overhead associated with data persistence. Applications can now perform several million IO operations per second with ease.”
Diablo Technologies has published results supporting the benefits of deploying Memory Channel Storage over leading PCIe-based solutions. The White Paper detailing the results is available for download at:
MCS is an innovative storage architecture that enables non-volatile media to reside within the memory subsystem. By placing NAND flash into a highly-scalable DIMM form factor, MCS delivers tens of terabytes of flash capacity in a single server, with near-DRAM speed. Diablo’s MCS technology eliminates the I/O performance bottleneck, supporting levels of application acceleration far beyond the capabilities of PCIe-based SSDs.