Reliable Flash-based Solid-State Storage
Telecommunications applications such as routers and switches employ the DAS architecture and generally require storage devices that can handle a fairly large number of transactions per second in remote and sometimes hostile environments. Routers used in Wide Area Networking (WAN) applications have historically used a small form factor Flash Disks as the boot device and for back up of routing tables. There is a compelling desire for even more reliable, denser and higher performing Solid State Flash Disks to achieve High Availability Level (HAL) targets and further reduce fail over time (time to recover from failure) in some of the more advanced optical switches used in Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN). High data access rates are critical to achieving minimized fail over time for large software operating systems used in telecommunication equipment. Typically the installations require a HAL of 5 with less than 5 minutes of downtime per year (99.999% reliable) and less than 30 seconds fail over time.
ISP, ASP, E-commerce, and networking applications typically employ the SAN or NAS architecture and generally require storage solutions to handle a significant number of transactions per second. Solid State Disk is normally used as a read/write cache to significantly improve user response time, in addition to RAID systems as well as being a storage component of the RAID system. User response time rises almost logarithmically with the increased operations per second of the computer server being used. Solid State Disk also provides enhanced performance to users when used for "hot files", database indexes, journals and logs. A high performance Solid State Disk front end to SAN or NAS terabyte installation can be used to provide the service that these applications typically require. Rather than buying additional servers to improve the transactions per second, a Solid State Disk is all that is needed; a storage solution with the smallest total cost of ownership.
Our E-Disk?砰erformance is comparable to that of the DRAM-based Solid State Disk and has the added advantage of being non-volatile. Therefore, it does not require a back-up battery or a Hard Disk Drive to save the data in the event of a power outage. Since the E-Disk?砨as no need for these backup accessories, it is more compact, has higher capacity and consumes considerably less power than a DRAM-based Solid State Disk. Since E-Disk?砨as the same form factor as the HDD, it can fit into an existing system without occupying additional floor space, as the oversized DRAM-based Solid State Disk solutions. E-Disk?砩s the best choice as a front end to SAN and NAS terabyte installations that will provide the service that these applications typically require.
Financial and On-Line Transaction Processing ("OLTP") Applications
Financial and on-line transaction processing applications not only have the requirements as mentioned above but also have a significant cost associated with any system downtime. Again, these applications typically employ the SAN or NAS architecture. A DRAM-based Solid State Disk is normally used as a read/write cache to significantly improve user response time, in addition to RAID systems as well as being a storage component of the RAID system. Banking services, financial services, stock exchange, reservation systems, health systems, as examples, all require a HAL of 5. Although the files transported are rather small (2KB of data or text), these databases are huge and growing continuously in size. Therefore, reliability, high I/O per second (IOPS), and scalability are key requirements for these applications.
Aerospace, Industrial, Government and Military Applications
Aerospace, industrial, government, and military applications typically use the DAS architecture and require a small form factor, ruggedness, significant reliability and performance standards, and the ability to withstand hostile environments in field deployments. Many applications require a HAL of 5 or 6, with downtime of less than 30 seconds per year and less than 10 seconds fail over time. F-SSDs are currently the only viable product available to these applications. Some examples of these applications are: air transports such as airplanes, weather balloons, NASA spacecrafts, missiles; water transports such as ships, amphibious vehicles; submarines; land transports such as trains, trucks, tanks; arms such as hand held rocket launchers; military portable computers; industrial equipment such as oil pipeline monitors, automobile factory robotics, computers for remote areas, computers for secured government facilities such as embassies.
In addition to having higher performance, the desired small form factor, reliability, and ruggedness, our E-Disk?砯ffers additional security and data protection features required by these applications that are not offered by any other supplier.
Portable Computer Applications
Notebook and laptop computers will use Solid State Disks as the main external memory storage because of their low power consumption and resilience to mechanical stress. There is no need for the external memory storage to withstand environmental conditions that are better than those required by the LCD screens. LCD environmental requirements are generally more restrictive than those for mechanical disk drives.
The majority of portable computers will continue to be equipped with magnetic and optical mechanical drives. The competition in this market will be challenging because the customers in this market will be price sensitive. We still believe that some customers who need the higher performance and reliability of our E-Disks?砍 will be willing to pay more.
Direct Attached Storage Applications
Solid State Disks will be used primarily in high-end workstations and servers for I/O and bandwidth performance gains. They can be attached either as main external disk storage or as cache-disk as illustrated in Figure 1.
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