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Startup Skyera unveils 44TB flash array

Posted: 15 Aug 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flash memory? Nimbus Data? Violin Memory? SkyHawk?

Startup Skyera Inc. has launched a flash-based storage appliance for business networks that it claims will rival prices of some hard-disk arrays. According to the company, the SkyHawk system will pack 44TB of flash memory in less than a 1U rack for $3/GB or a dollar per gigabyte when using data compression.

Skyera enters a rapidly emerging sector where competition is hot. More established startups including Nimbus Data and Violin Memory have been shipping flash arrays for some time at prices below $10/GBe. Earlier this month SSD maker Fusion-io announced software that will make its drives in servers look like flash arrays.

Danilak said the Fusion-io software lacks the business networking features of appliances from Violin and others. But those appliances are still significantly more costly than SkyHawk, he added.

Skyera designed into SkyHawk new flash and RAID controllers, implemented as FPGAs or gate arrays and a new communications protocol between them. The flash controller sports novel DSP-based error correction code and the protocol helps reduce the typical overhead in write operations.

The startup designed its own flash modules so that its chassis uses less than a full 1U rack slot in depth. An unidentified network controller acts as system host, chosen for its ability to easily terminate TCP and iSCSI traffic.

SkyHawk builds in an Ethernet switch with 10 and 1GbE ports to link to storage networks. Users will be able to stack future versions of the system to create larger arrays. They also likely will support other popular storage networks such as Fiber Channel, he said.

Skyera claims SkyHawk, based on 20nm flash chips, supports up to 300,000 flash writes for an estimated lifetime of five years. The system will be available before April in 12, 22 and 44TB models for prices starting at $48,000.

The startup is operating on self-funding from its founders and $6.35 million in seed funding from an unnamed storage vendor.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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