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Jul 11 2017

Attack of the Monster SSD

California-based storage vendor Viking Technology, a specialist in non-volatile, DRAM and high-density stacking technologies, has launched a line of SAS SSDs with raw capacities of 25 and 50 TB.

The new drive, which goes by the name of Ultra-High Capacity (UHC) Silo Series, sports a 3.5-inch form factor and uses planar MLC NAND flash components to pile up hitherto unparalleled amounts of storage space in a single SSD. According to the official product announcement, Viking explicitly wanted to build a device that "balances performance, capacity, cost, and energy efficiency" – that is, a drive that combines the qualities of high-speed, low-latency enterprise-class HDDs running at 15,000 RPM with those of high-capacity nearline models. Judging from this description, the UHC-Silo Series drives should easily fit into any conventional 3.5-inch SSD array and would allow for rack capacities of up to 5 PB.

Since both UHC-Silo SSDs clearly outdo regular hard disk and solid-state drives from rivals like Seagate or WD on the capacity front, IT departments with huge storage demands will more than likely welcome the new product line. Users looking for exceptional performance, however, may be a little harder to win over: Equipped with a dual-port SAS 2.x interface in active-active configuration, the new Viking SSDs reach random read and write speeds of 60,000 and 15,000 IOPS respectively, while sequential read and write speeds amount to 500 and 350 MB max. In other words, users will have to make do with typical 6 Gb/s data rates, and it stands to reason whether that's enough or even "ideal" for cloud computing, big data, and technical applications, as Viking claims. Power consumption on the other hand amounts to 16 watts in active and 10 watts in idle mode – round about twice as much as what regular server SSDs require, although they offer only one fifth or less of a UHC-Silo's storage space. This, in turn, could help customers realize massive cost reductions; Viking says they could save up to 80% per TB in power, space, and cooling costs. And since endurance is at one drive write per day for five years, this is a long-term savings opportunity.

Viking's UHC-Silo Series SSDs are available immediately; unfortunately, pricing info wasn't out at the time of writing. For more information, please see the product page and data sheet (PDF).


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