CES 2015: Storage Visions Sightings Part 2: OWC, Intel, Micron, Samsung

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2015 - 12:40 AM |
Tagged: storage visions, ssd, Samsung, owc, micron, Intel, ces 2015, CES

We covered some other Storage Visions sightings in a prior post, so now that a bit of the CES dust is settling down, here's the rest of what was cool to see at Storage Visions:


We'll start off with the Sonnet Tempo SSD Pro Plus, seen here with a pair of OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSDs installed. This is a PCIe to 4-channel SATA HBA. The controller does not appear to employ RAID, leaving that functionality up to the host system OS. Two 2.5" SATA devices can be mounted directly to the PCB, and an additional two SATA channels are available through the rear panel eSATA ports. This card is marketed primarily as a storage expander for Mac products, and can be connected to a Mac Pro via a Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expander.


Here is an ASUS Copper, which bridges M.2 (enclosed within a 2.5" housing) to a SATA Express link. This may be handy for current generation PCIe 2.0 x2 M2 devices, but with PCIe 2.0 x4 and 3.0 x4 SSDs on the horizon, a SATA Express device of this type will rather quickly become a throughput bottleneck.


Various recent enterprise SSDs. Bottom left is our first sighting of a P3500, sitting next to a Micron P420M, which is just below a Micron M500DC. The right side is all Samsung, and includes an XS1715, which is not SATA, but PCIe/NVMe via an SFF-8639 connector. There are a few M.2 units in the center, and what appears to be another 1715 HHHL unit (PCIe/NVMe) at the bottom right.

That wraps up the Storage Visions goodies. Stand by for more storage related posts as we comb through all of the press releases and photos from the meetings we attended earlier this week.

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PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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CES 2015: Storage Visions Sightings Part 1: HGST He8, DriveSavers, and SanDisk

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2015 - 10:34 PM |
Tagged: CES, storage visions, ssd, sandisk, hgst, He8, DriveSavers, ces 2015

Many of the storage announcements this year are under embargo until tomorrow or later in the week. Fortunately there was plenty of things on display out in the open - meaning fair game for me to photograph and present to you in this quick photo walkthrough.


The HGST Ultrastar He8 was on display. This is a 7-platter Helium filled HDD. The lower density atmosphere enables more platters and higher spin speeds without producing too much heat for the drive to handle.


The added platters also enable a very large capacity of 8TB, all while consuming less power than most other available non-He HDD's, which is attractive for enterprise usage where racks upon racks are filled with these drives.

The display model we saw here was covered with plexiglass, but the DriveSavers folks had one completely open in all of its glory:



Seeing the head pack out of a drive is rare, as you're supposed to only get to that point in a clean room environment (unless you don't want your data back, that is). DriveSavers told us the challenge to recovery from an He HDD is getting the Helium back into the housing prior to closing it back up after a failed component replacement. Here's a closer look at that head pack. Note the small logic die built into the ribbon - this component needs to be mounted as close as possible to the heads to minimize interference and signal loss from the very high frequency signal coming from the read heads:


DriveSavers also has recently announced data recovery capability and partnership with SanDisk. There is a separate announcement we will be covering later in the week, but since we're talking about SanDisk, here is a look at the non-embargoed products we were allowed to show for now:


From left: UltraDIMM, FusionIO Atomic, Optimus Max, Optimus MAX (opened), Optimus ECO. More interesting here is that SanDisk is able to pack 4TB into the Optimus form factor. They accomplish this by a unique folding PCB design shown below in unfolded form:


That's it for this update, more to follow shortly.

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CES 2015: Storage Visions: Western Digital SATA Express SSD+HDD Spotted

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2015 - 05:15 PM |
Tagged: CES, western digital, storage visions, ssd, SATA Express, hybrid, hdd, ces 2015

At the SATA-IO booth at Storage Visions, they have a functional demo of Western Digital prototype hybrid HDD/SSD's.


These are not hybrid in the traditional sense, as the SSD portion (128GB JMicron based controller driving Toshiba flash in the case of these prototypes) is logically separated from the HDD portion (a standard 4TB Black in this case).



Given that a SATA Express link can simultaneously pass a PCIe 2.0 x2 link in addition to a SATA 6Gbit/sec link, this one unit can link an SSD and an HDD simultaneously and independently. Above you see the standard SATA Express connector, and below is how those pins are connected at the drive itself:


Note the additional pins at what is usually the black side of the connector.


The rest of the connector is mostly a standard SATA connector that you are used to seeing.

At the demo, we saw a single 3.5" hybrid unit booting from the SSD portion and using the 4TB HDD for mass storage, all from the same device. The second demo had a separate boot drive and linked a pair of these prototype units in a dual RAID. Configured through Windows dynamic volumes, a RAID of the HDD's offered the increased performance you might expect from a pair of 4TB WD Blacks. The SSD portion of each unit was also RAIDed, and we saw their combined throughput as just over 1GB/sec. That was not much more than what a pair of RAIDed SATA 6Gb/sec SSDs would do, but realize this was being accomplished in addition to (and independently of) the HDD portions.

We were not allowed to start removing screws, but here's a look at the accessible portion of the logic board for this drive:


There is a JMicron controller paired with a single package of Toshiba flash. Toshiba has shown they can contain 128GB in a single package, so no problems there.

We're not sure where this technology is headed as the recent trend has been towards sticking with the standard SATA link for mass storage and M.2 SSDs plugged directly into the added port we've been seeing in many recent motherboards. We'll keep an eye on this technology moving forward, but for now at least we have seen it in the flesh and fully functional.

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Storage Visions - FusionIO shows off ioDrive II and ioFX

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2013 - 09:31 PM |
Tagged: storage visions, fusionio, ces 2013, CES

At Storage Visions, we checked out new products from FusionIO, namely the ioDrive II and ioFX:


There was a demo running with a pair of ioFX units paired together:


The pair were driving a demo which was streaming 12 uncompressed HD streams, playing back simultaneously, and drawing a continuous 3GB/sec from the storage:


More important was the conversation I had which hinted at bootability coming to these drives soon (albeit only with UEFI due to the demands the FusionIO device driver places on the host system). Also of interest was that ioSphere, the front end manager for FusionIO products, now has a HTTP / web-based interface, meaning administrators can now manage and push firmware updates to dozens or hundreds of ioDrive's simultaneously.

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A first look at CES 2012

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2012 - 11:31 AM |
Tagged: CES, storage visions, Intel, sandforce, 520 Cherryville

The theme of this years Storage Visions is 'Heavy Storage for Thin Clients' but that is not the biggest bit of new that Legit Reviews gathered from their meeting with the organizers.  They got confirmation that Intel will indeed be using a Sandforce based controller in an upcoming SSD, the 520 Cherryville, which will replace the 510 series.  As well, Micron was showing off their 20nm NAND, Crucial has a new Adrenaline drive to test and IOSafe will provide you a fire and waterproof housing to keep it in.

Don't forget about OCZ though, the card you can see below is the newest Z-Drive and it sports 8TB of flash storage (12TB max) available in MLC, SLC and eMLC depending on your needs and budget.  It is a PCIe 3.0 compliant card, one of the first available on the market.  You can also read about OCZ and Micron's joint project in the full post at Legit Reviews.


"OCZ and Marvell have teamed up and are showing off the Z-Drive R5 for the very first time at Storage Visions. The OCZ Z-Drive R5 is the industries fastest PCI Express (PCIe) storage device. The reason that Z-Drive R5 features a jointly developed "Kilimanjaro" OCZ and Marvell native PCIe to NAND flash controller platform, allowing for completely scalable performance and redundancy while eliminating the need for a separate storage controller, thus reducing the cost to deploy high performance solid state storage systems in the data center. It uses a PCI-Express Gen3 x8 slot to get up to 1.6M IOPS!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


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