OCZ IBIS HSDL Solid State Drive Preview

HSDL and IBIS Architecture

The primary differentiator of the IBIS drive is OCZ's new HSDL (High Speed Data Link) interface. OCZ notes that HSDL leverages existing PCI Express technologies by bonding four PCI Express compatible lanes together into a single high speed serial interface capable of up to 20Gb/sec throughput.

The chart above notes the new interface's bandwidth advantage over existing technologies such as 6Gbps SATA, Serial Attached SCSI and Fibre Channel.  There's no question 10Gbps is boatload of bandwidth and in 2011 OCZ claims they'll be able to double that.

The implementation for the IBIS drive we're testing here is a single HSDL connection to a single port HSDL X4 PCI Express adapter card.  We'll look at the hardware level technologies employed shortly but, at a high level, the HSDL interface is comprised of 4 LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling) pairs (8 total) bonded together in a single channel.  High speed LVDS pairs are used in a myriad of serial interconnect technologies from HyperTransport, to Firewire, SCSI, SATA, RapidIO and of course good ol' PCI Express. LVDS is simply the physical medium to transmit a low voltage signal over copper. OCZ reports that the HSDL interface utilizes an 8/10b bit encoding scheme much like PCI Express to transmit its data and also utilizes a PCI Express logic layer, so it's compatible with existing PCI Express architectures.  






Though we're testing with a single port adapter card, OCZ also will be offering a 4-port card and as you can see in the diagrams above you can do some pretty interesting things with it.  Future incarnations of IBIS drives could be super high-bandwidth four port SSDs with theoretically up to 40Gbps of available bandwidth for read/write transactions.  Where we come from, we'd call that drinking from the firehose but of course these are all just theoretical numbers until we see the design running on a test bench.  Finally, traditional RAID arrays can also be built from multiple IBIS SSDs as well, as is illustrated in the bottom diagram here and of course, you could just have multiple individual IBIS volumes installed in a system.

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