This may be the first and last time you hear of SandForce, but if you're looking to finally buy into the solid state drive
arena within the next few months, you'll probably get acquianted one way or another. You see, SandForce is leaving its self-described "stealth mode" today with the introduction of its unique, hasty line of SSD controllers. The SD-1000 SSD Processor family are highly integrated silicon devices which are said to "address the inherent endurance, reliability, and data retention issues associated with NAND flash memory, making it possible to build SSDs that deliver unprecedented performance over the life of the drive with orders-of-magnitude higher reliability than enterprise-class HDDs."
The secret here is in the patent pending DuraClass technology, which addresses key NAND flash issues allowing MLC flash technologies to be reliably used in broad based, mission critical storage environments. Mike Desens, Vice President for System Design, IBM, even noted that "these innovations can be truly disruptive and will accelerate the adoption of Solid State technologies across the data center." DuraClass technology involves DuraWrite -- which optimizes the number of program cycles to the flash effectively extending flash rated endurance by 80x or more when compared to standard controllers -- and Recycler, which intelligently performs garbage collection with the least impact on flash endurance.
As for specs, the SF-1000 crew features a standard 3 gigabit-per-second SATA host interface connecting up to 512 gigabytes of commodity NAND flash memory, and delivers 30K IOPS (random 4K read or write transfers), and 250MB/s performance (sequential 128KB read or write transfers) with 100 micro-second latency. SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) connectivity is easily achieved via a third-party SAS-SATA bridge available from multiple sources. On the matter of reliability, SF-1000-based SSDs can sustain peak performance for 5-year enterprise lifecycles without artificial daily usage restrictions or costly over-provisioning techniques.
We're told that SF-1000 Enterprise and Mobile Computing SSD Processors will be available in prototype quantities later in the second calendar quarter of 2009, with major OEMs to produce SSDs based on this innovation within the next year.