Fusion-io, a manufacturer of various PCI-E based solid state drives, has released a software development kit (SDK) that allows developers to access the NAND flash memory directly. Debuting at the DEMO conference, the SDK gives software developers direct access to the memory and how it operates. As Allyn mentioned on the podcast, the Fusion-io drives use rather dumb controllers and rely on software and the host machines processor to do the heavy lifting.
But because of the way the Fusion-io drives work, and being PCI-E based, they are able to present the NAND flash to software without going through other layers of abstraction such as the SATA interface and internal drive controller processing. Software is then able use the NAND flash as storage for applications that demand high input/output operations per second. And because of the direct access, latency is greatly reduced.
The full press release is below:
Subject: Storage | April 17, 2012 - 01:11 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ssd, ioFX, fusion-io, enterprise ssd
Popular PCI-E SSD maker Fusion-io recently announced a new product aimed at professional content creators. Based on the company’s ioMemory technology, the new Fusion-io ioFX is a professional SSD designed to speed up video encoding, CAD work, 3D renders, and motion graphics.
The new solid state drive uses the PCI-E bus and 420 GB of fast QDP MLC NAND flash to deliver less than a millisecond of sustained access speed and an impressive 1.5 GB/s of bandwidth. The PCI-E SSD uses a physical x8 connector but is electrically a x4 connection. What I found interesting about the device was the presence of a fan, which our Storage Editor Allyn says is necessary in order to keep the super fast flash chips from overheating. When the SSD needs active cooling, that at least implies this drive is going to scream performance wise!
Another interesting aspect about this new drive is a piece of software called the ioSphere. The software will allow studios to remotely monitor all the Fusion ioMemory products deployed in the studio through a single interface. Unfortunately, there is not much more in the way of detailed performance specifications but I will definitely keep an eye on this for the drool factor alone. Fusion-io is currently listing the ioFX for $2,495 USD, and it will be available later this Spring 2012. More information should be posted to their site as the SSD gets closer to launch here.