We just got off a conference call hosted by OCZ Technology’s CEO Ryan Petersen on which he discussed the rapidly evolving market for PCIe-based solid state storage solutions and unveiled the company's next generation enterprise-class PCIe storage product, the Z-Drive R4.
The Z-Drive R4 will feature OCZ’s second generation Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0, multiple SandForce SF-2000 series storage controllers, and either MLC or SLC NAND flash memory. OCZ’s VCA 2.0 is touted as a virtualization layer that interfaces with the company’s SuperScale Storage Controller, which combines storage processing and full DMA (direct memory access) cores with PCI Express, SATA and SAS physical interfaces. More information regarding VCA and OCZ’s SuperScale Storage Controller is available in our coverage of the recently released OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2.
According to OCZ, a Z-Drive R4 outfitted with a single SuperScale controller is capable of 2.8GB/s transfer speeds with about 500,000 random 4K write IOPS. A card with dual SuperScale controllers can hit up to 5.6GB/s and 1.2 million IOPS. Wow.
The Z-Drive R4 will be available in two standard configurations, a half-height version designed for space constrained applications and a standard full height version. And yes, we hope to review one of these monsters as soon as possible.
The full press release announcing the Z-Drive R4 is available below.
OCZ Technology Launches Next Generation Z-Drive R4 PCI Express Solid State Storage Systems
The Z-Drive R4 Provides the Ultimate Solution for Big Data and Cloud Computing Applications by Coupling Enterprise-Class Power Fail Protection with Benchmark-Shattering Performance
SAN JOSE, CA - August 2, 2011 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the release of Z-Drive Revision 4 (R4) PCI Express (PCIe) storage solutions designed to dramatically accelerate enterprise applications and significantly reduce total cost of ownership in the data center. The Z-Drive R4 product line features OCZ’s second generation proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0, providing the utmost in performance, flexibility, durability and enhanced reliability features, allowing data centers, for the first time, to rely on a PCIe-based SSD as their primary tier one storage solution.
"Objective Analysis forecasts that the PCIe interface will become dominant in the enterprise SSD market in 2012, with unit shipments greater than the combined shipments of its SAS and Fibre Channel counterparts,” said SSD analyst Jim Handy of Objective Analysis. “This is because the PCIe interface puts less drag on the NAND-to-processor communication channel than do standard HDD interfaces. By 2015, Objective Analysis expects well over two million PCIe SSDs to ship, a number larger than all of the SATA SSDs that shipped in 2010.”
The OCZ Z-Drive R4 is truly unique, melding hardware and software managed solutions with integrated VCA 2.0. This brings traditional SSD technology into a new realm and enhances performance, deployment capabilities, and endurance. VCA 2.0 is a multifaceted virtualization layer and interfaces with the OCZ SuperScale Storage Controller which combines processing and full DMA (direct memory access) cores, as well as internal PCIe, SATA and SAS physical interfaces. When coupled with VCA 2.0 technology, the SuperScale Controller manages critical internal functions such as OCZ’s intelligent Complex Command Queuing Structure (CCQS) with unique queue balancing algorithms. This combination leads to superior performance aggregation and results in significantly higher throughput and reduced burden on the host CPU.
With growing emphasis on cloud computing and big data, enterprises are contending with ever-increasing amounts of data. PCIe-based flash storage systems have the ability to bypass traditional storage overhead, reducing latencies, increasing throughput, and enabling efficient processing of massive quantities of data. A single SuperScale controller equipped Z-Drive R4 is capable of transferring up to 2800 megabytes per second (MB/s) and completing over 500,000 input-output operations per second (IOPS), while a dual SuperScale controller card reaches an astounding 5600 MB/s and 1.2 million IOPS. This level of concentrated performance enables system architects to design more productive infrastructures while lowering costs associated with hardware failure, maintenance, structural footprint, and energy consumption.
“The demand for higher performing PCIe-attached solid state storage continues to grow, and our new Z-Drive R4 represents an increased focus from OCZ to meet the needs of its enterprise and data center clients; it also represents a turning point in the evolution of PCIe SSDs,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. “The Z-Drive R4 provides the best of both worlds for storage architects by merging the industry-leading feature-sets of both the pure hardware and pure software based approaches to data management, while maintaining user-configurable flexibility not found in other devices.”
With the unique VCA 2.0-based virtualization layer, the Z-Drive R4 offers an advanced set of capabilities designed to solve problems inherent to pure software solutions. The Z-Drive R4 features power fail protection, differentiating the drive from software-based solutions where in-flight data resides in host DRAM and the flash translation layer, thus resulting in loss of data during power interruption. In addition, VCA enables user-selectable data recovery and non-stop modes with IntegRecover technology ensuring enterprise-class data integrity. Furthermore, the Z-Drive R4 installation in enterprise computing environments is seamless because OCZ VCA 2.0 supports the industry-standard SCSI command set over a PCIe interface. Other features include consolidated SMART support, increased NAND flash life due to OCZ’s lower write amplification and TRIM/SCSI Unmap Support.
The Z-Drive R4 is available in two standard configurations: a half height version designed for space constrained 1U servers and multi-node rackmount servers, and a full height version. Both configurations support single-level cell (SLC) or multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory with reduced write amplification to extend drive life more than three times the manufacturer’s rating of the NAND. As with all OCZ enterprise products, customer-specific configurations and functionality are available upon request.