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Fusion io - the power of 1000 hard drives in the palm of you

from TG Daily News

San Diego (CA) – A new flash storage card from Fusion io could make huge storage area networks go the way of the dinosaur and DoDo bird. The company’s upcoming ‘ioDrive’ combines hundreds of gigabytes of flash storage onto a small computer card and company officials claim that the tiny card could replace banks of hard drives.

Check Page for flash videos!


We caught up with Fusion io’s CTO David Flynn at the Demofall 07 conference in San Diego. He explained that the ioDrive is a PCI Express card with a controller and NAND flash chips. This isn’t a controller for other drives, but rather a self-contained storage device that can be easily popped into an empty motherboard slot.

Flynn told us that the cards will start at 80 GB and will scale to 320 and 640 GB next year. By the end of 2008, Fusion io also hopes to roll out a 1.2 TB card. You can even put multiple cards into a computer for extra performance and fault tolerance.

So how fast is the ioDrive? Flynn said the card has 160 parallel pipelines that can read data at 800 megabytes per second and write at 600 MB/sec. He even proved it by running a Linux drive I/O benchmark. But for large corporations running busy databases, operations per second is a much more important number than bandwidth.

Flynn set the benchmark for the worst case scenario by using small 4K blocks and then streaming eight simultaneous 1 GB reads and writes. In that test, the ioDrive clocked in at 100,000 operations per second. “That would have just thrashed a regular hard drive,” said Flynn.

The company plans on releasing the first cards in December 2007 and will follow up with higher capacity versions later. Linux drivers will be included and Flynn said Windows Server, XP and Vista drivers will be available three months after that. He even hinted that the company is looking into some gaming applications, but didn’t want to give any further details.

“If you were crazy enough, you could use this in a high end game machine.”

So how much will these cards cost? Flynn told us that the company is aiming to beat $30 dollars a GB, something that should seem very cheap to large corporations, adding “You can drop ship or Fedex this card and be up and running in a few minutes… you can’t do that with a storage area network.”

That's pretty darn cool.
With today's flash technology, I've wondered how long it would take them to develop such storage device, and here it is! Very Happy
It shouldn't cost much as well (compared to the crazy prices of the really fat HDs) in the future not so far away from as... maybe in 2 or 3 years we'll all use this device.
if we get any competition soon, they'll be pretty cheap in 1 year or so Smile I hope even earlier
fadirocks wrote:
if we get any competition soon, they'll be pretty cheap in 1 year or so Smile I hope even earlier

So does this potentially mean an end to the hard drive? It sounds promising if it's economical, otherwise hard drives today can be found pretty cheap.
snowboardalliance, I believe this little device will soon take over the storage market, and we won't use HD's any longer. Flash memory is advancing quite fast, and becoming cheaper and cheaper to produce, so I guess yeah, we'll still be alive to see the end of the hard disk era Very Happy
am i the only person who read the article thoroughly, 30 dollars a gigabyte. What a joke. IN what way would that sound cheap to anybody. For Hard-disk we pay less then a dollar a gigabyte. and it doesnt matter about the speed increase this offers because you can easily get 15 hard-disk running in RAID so that you have similar speed and much higher reliabilty. This technology will not become viable for the home user for at least 10 years as a hard disk replacement. I mean, who is going to pay 2400 for 80 gigabytes.

EDIT: There is also new hard drive technology been worked on using lasers to write to the disc to provide much higher transfer rates. The hard drive and magnetic storage are going to last a lot longer then you would think with this io drive technology.
In an effort to squeeze more performance from hard drives, scientists have been experimenting with replacing traditional magnetic heads with laser beams.

Using a technique called heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), the boffins have been able to write data to a hard drive using polarised laser light.

Rather than a magnet changing the polarity of a bit on the surface of the hard disk, heat generated by the laser is used to do the job. By focusing the beam on a very small area, it causes the polarity of the bit to change, thereby storing either a zero or a one.

The researchers, based at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, found that using this technique increased disk write speeds by around 100 times compared with magnetic methods. That equates to a bit transfer rate of a blistering 40 femtoseconds - that's 40 millionths of a nanosecond - which has hardware experts around the world very impressed.

One of the biggest challenges now faced by the Dutch scientists is getting the technique to work in a more dense storage environment. The successful experiment used a 5-micron wide section of disk, but this doesn't compare with the sub-micron areas used by traditional magnetic storage devices.

However, not to be deterred, the team has donned its white coats once more and is now working hard to get its methods to work in smaller areas. This, it is hoped, will eventually result in hard drives that offer both massive storage capacities as well as super-fast write times.

Although the techniques have been made to work in a laboratory, prototypes of disks that use the new technique could still be years in the making. Don't expect to see them on the shelves of the local PC store any time soon - they're more likely to be 13 to 15 years away.
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