Fast, high-capacity flash drive
Fusion-io’s impressive demo at DEMOfall07 piqued my interest (see Fusion io – great demo. Now comes the hard part.) and skepticism. They’ve announced some pricing and refined the specs.

The ioDrive

The ioDrive is a PCIe x4 card with 80, 160 or 320 GB of NAND flash. With a claimed performance of a sustained 87,500 8k IOPS – down from the DEMOfall claim of 150,000 IOPS – the ioDrive offers fast relief from disk latency.

While not as fast as RAM with a device latency of 25us – I’d guess driver latency would be more – the non-volatility, higher capacity and competitive price make it a reasonable substitute for more server RAM. Retail pricing starts at $2400, which is the $30/GB they promised. I’d assume the larger versions would have lower $/GB pricing.

The card is supported on Red Hat AS 4.0 and SUSE ES 10.

The StorageMojo take
Flash drive performance on single-user systems has not lived up to the hype. But servers are another story.

The ioDrive gives low-end servers high-end RAID I/O performance at a much lower cost and footprint. Price competitive with RAM the ioDrive offers power-limited data centers another way to increase I/O performance without adding power-hungry arrays.

Kudos to Fusion-io for figuring out how to harness the promise of NAND flash in the real world.

Comments welcome, of course.