Micron and Intel Launch a Wave of Enterprise Storage Products

Subject: Storage | April 12, 2016 - 11:30 AM |
Tagged: vmware, ssd, S600DC, S3100, P3520, P3320, Nexenta, micron, Intel, D3700, D3600, Ceph, 9100, 7100, 5410s, 540s, 5400s

There has been a lot of recent shuffling about in the world of enterprise storage. I’m writing up this post from a Micron product launch event in Austin, Texas. Today they are launching a round of enterprise SSD products. These lines cover the full storage gamut from M.2 to U.2 to HHHL. While prior Micron SSDs were bottlenecked by AHCI and PCIe 2.0, these new lines are using Marvell controllers and are capable of PCIe 3.0 x4 speeds (plus NVMe).

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The workhorse of the lineup is the 9100, which will be available in HHHL and U.2 2.5” 15mm form factors.

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Lighter workloads are handled by the 7100 series, which is available in U.2 2.5” 7mm and M.2 22110. The slower serial bus remains covered by their S600DC SAS SSDs.

Micron is not the only company pushing further into this space. Less than two weeks ago, Intel ran their ‘Cloud Day’ event, where they launched a new Xeon CPU and a plethora of new SSDs, some of which were based on IMFT 3D NAND tech (SSD DC P3320). Intel also launched the client 540s and business 5400s product lines, which are based on Silicon Motion SM2256 controllers driving SK Hynix hybrid (SLC+TLC) flash. While these controllers and flash are coming from external sources, they must still pass Intel’s rigorous qualification and compatibility validation testing, so failure rates should be kept to a minimum.

Another aspect of this Micron launch day is their push into the production of not only SSDs, but all-flash storage devices. Dubbed ‘Micron Accelerated Solutions’, these are devices built, serviced, and supported by Micron. They naturally contain Micron SSDs, but also draw on other vendors like Supermicro and Nexenta. The products range from VMware SANs, to Ceph solutions capable of 1 million IOPS and 140 Gbps, to software-defined storage. I’ll be sitting through briefings and asking questions about these products when this post is set to go live, and I will update this space with any additional juicy tidbits once we wrap up for the day.

**Update**

Apparently we are going to see consumer IMFT 3D TLC NAND *this month* in the form of a Crucial MX300!

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...and in a couple of months we will see Crucial M.2 PCIe SSDs:

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There was also some discussion on XPoint (spoken 'cross point') and where Micron sees this new storage being implemented. Expected to see scaled production in 2017 and 2018, XPoint is non-volatile (like flash) but extremely fast (like DRAM). There was not much said beyond generalities, but they did have a wafer, and you know I love die shots:

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I was not permitted to get a better die shot of the wafer at this event, as the Micron rep specifically requested that journalists only use photos that were shot from stage distance. Fortunately, this was not the only event where I have photographed a XPoint wafer. Here is a photo I caught at a prior event:

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**End update**

Here is a quick breakdown of the products launched by both Intel and Micron over the last two weeks:

Intel:

  • SSD DC P3520 and P3320
    • First SSDs to use 256Gbit/die 32-layer IMFT 3D NAND.
    • PCIe 3.0 x4 HHHL and 2.5” U.2
    • 450GB-2TB
  • SSD DC D3700 and D3600
    • PCIe 3.0 x4 2.5” U.2 dual-port design.
      • Dual-port means two hosts can access a single SSD through the use of a special backplane that merges the PCIe lanes from two separate systems into a single U.2 connector. This is a move for increased redundancy, as one system can fail and the same flash storage will still be available to the failover system.
    • 800GB-1.6TB
  • SSD DC S3100
    • SATA 2.5” SLC+TLC hybrid for enterprise
      • Intended for boot OS / caching / index storage duties
    • 120GB-1TB
  • SSD 540s and Pro 5400s
    • Silicon Motion SM2256 + SK Hynix SLC+TLC hybrid flash
    • Pro 5200s adds Intel vPro / OPAL 2.0 and Microsoft eDrive support
    • 120GB-1TB
  • SSD E 5400s and E 5410s
    • Silicon Motion SM2256 + SK Hynix flash
    • Small capacity M.2 2280 and 2.5” SATA
    • 48GB-180GB

Micron:

That’s a whole lot of flash related product launches in a very short period of time. I’m excited to see large pushes into the enterprise because that means we will see this tech trickle down to consumers and power users that much sooner!

The Micron NVMe press release was a bit light on details, so I’ve included their Accelerated Solutions release after the break.

Source: Micron

VMWare makes vCloud Connector free

Subject: General Tech | February 17, 2014 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: cloud, vmware, vcloud connector

Getting familiar with virtualization, especially VMWare's take on the technology is a wise decision for anyone planning on starting or continuing a career in IT.  Even if you never end up hosting your own cluster of VMs, being aware of what they are capable of will help you deal with vendors and salespeople.  It is now even easier to expand your knowledge of how multiple virtual machine clusters can communicate as VMWare has made their tool free to use.  This does assume you have VSphere and ESX based clusters but as that software is also available at no cost, that is not a tough prerequisite to meet.  Check out the links from The Register to see about creating your own interlinked cloud, or perhaps hooking into a friends.

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"VMware has released version 2.6 of its vCloud Connector tool, and dropped its price to $0. At current exchange rates that's £0 and $AUD0, for UK and Australian readers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Google & VMware Partner for Windows Apps in Chrome OS

Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 13, 2014 - 10:18 PM |
Tagged: Chromebook, google, vmware

Google has just announced a partnership with VMware for "cloud access" to virtualized Windows desktops through Chrome OS. The Verge takes the narrative that Google is looking to hurt Microsoft via their enterprise market. Honestly, I think it just makes sense as a business.

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As time passes, the list of tasks which require native applications is diminishing. Legacy applications, which cannot be reprogrammed for copyright or development reasons, are still on a leash to their intended platform, however. Google knows that their customers want access to those programs and utilities. Virtualization is one of the easiest ways, especially since it is already happening.

Some will prefer native apps on a dedicated machine (and that is okay).

Google also notes that Windows XP is nearing its end of life. They claim that Chromebooks and virtualized Windows instances nullifies security vulnerabilities and compatibility woes. Of course, you are never perfectly secure but at least Google puts their money where their mouth is.

VMware Horizon View 5.3 is currently available "as an on-premise service".

Source: Google

Ditch the home server and run a dozen VMs on a laptop

Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2014 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: vmware, vTardis, home lab, win8

Thanks to the shortsightedness and inadequate investment of the currently popular style of IT Manager who just might be able to turn on a computer without requiring assistance the idea of a computer lab at work to allow you to test new software or infrastructure has more or less disappeared.  This has lead to the rise of home labs for many, as the repercussions of rolling out untried modifications can be very serious as can falling behind of the latest trends and technology.   With that in mind Simon Gallagher discovered a new use for vTardis; to set up ESX clusters on a laptop which is much easier on your electrical bill.  With the specific improvements to VM performance on the Core i7 3720QM and a laptop capable of handling 32GB of RAM he was able to set up ten ESX instances, complete with nested virtual machines.  There is one more trick to setting these clusters up, it seems you need Windows 8 to be able to pull it off though The Register does not specify why.  You could pull this off with an AMD processor as well, as long as it has Rapid Virtualization Indexing.

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"At last year's Melbourne VMware user group (VMUG) conference, VMware's Mike Laverick opined that IT pros need a home lab these days, because bosses have stopped shelling out for training."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Beware VMWare VSphere 5.5

Subject: General Tech | September 24, 2013 - 01:14 PM |
Tagged: vmware, oops, vsphere

Words like irreversible are enough to turn a sysadmin's hair grey and fall out in large clumps and unfortunately that is a word that applies to those who upgrade to VSphere 5.5 while running VMWare 5.1.  The good news is that if you have not upgraded yet, you can now get the VMWare 5.5 update which is compatible with VSphere 5.5 and will ensure you do not have to install VMWare 5.1 again from scratch and rebuild everything.  Follow the knowledge base links from The Register to update or to attempt to save your replications if you upgraded prematurely.

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"But as explained in this knowledge-base article, “if you have Automatic Check and Install updates selected the vSphere Replication appliance will automatically upgrade to version 5.5”. If that happens on an existing vSphere 5.1 installation, very bad things will happen."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Why talk about Win8 when you can hear about Windows Server 2012

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2012 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: HyperV, microsoft, windows server, WS2012, vmware, virtualization

Today is launch day for WS2012, the first new Microsoft server OS many years and it brings with it a host of changes.  While advertisers talk about 'the Cloud', server admins are into virtualization and that is a big part of the update to WS2012, with Hyper-V arriving an integral feature of the new server OS and highlights Microsoft's next target.  They've demonstrated the robustness of their virtualization implementation by running Bing and TechNet on Hyper-V, something very important for a relatively new piece of enterprise software to accomplish.  The specifications are impressive, from the amount of CPUs and addressable memory which can be granted to a VM, to the virtual Level-2 switches which can be created. Of course it is not all virtuality, a new ReFS disk format and built in file deduplication make this a much more impressive upgrade than the previous Server 2003 to Server 2008.  Read more and catch some movies at The Register.

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"In 1985, Commodore held the UK launch of the Amiga 1000 at the World of Commodore Show at the Novotel in Hammersmith. Twenty-seven years later, Microsoft used the same venue to host the Technical Launch of Windows Server 2012."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register