Last month, Toshiba completed the acquisition of OCZ, and now the company is known as OCZ Storage Solutions, a Toshiba Group Company. Today, the group has unleashed a new enterprise SSD series and software combination in a PCI Express (PCIe) form factor, the Z-Drive 4500 SSD, that offers 800GB, 1.6TB and 3.2TB usable capacities.
Yesterday, in an interview with EETimes, Erik Jones, director of product management for PCIe SSDs, Dr. Allon Cohen, vice-president of software and solutions, Rodolfo Campos, product manager, and Scott Harlin, marcom director for OCZ Storage Solutions, talked about the new SSD/bundled software product line.
In an interview with EETimes earlier this year, Jim Handy, Objective Analysis, noted that “SSDs will continue to penetrate the datacenter. (This will come at the expense of DRAM and servers. Enterprise HDDs will also suffer, but not client SSDs.)” OCZ Storage Solutions has aimed its Z-Drive 4500 SSD series squarely at the challenges of the datacenter, introducing new thermal and management features.
To develop the Z-Drive 4500 series, Jones explained that the team selected Toshiba 19nm MLC NAND flash and developed a “more robust architectural design” than the company’s previous R4 Series. In addition, the drive comes bundled with a new software acceleration product. Performance was verified by Calypso Systems PCIe SSD performance tests
To address the specific needs of the datacenter, Jones explained that the new SSD has undergone a complete redesign of the drivers, using OCZ’s visualized controller architecture (VCA), which makes the eight processors appear and act as a single drive to the host system. In addition, the team aimed to get the NAND to run at cooler temperatures. Jones says that many datacenters are looking to do away with chillers, and are asking vendors to develop products that handle up to 40 degrees C standard operating temperature. “Thermal engineering went into the mechanicals of the Z-Drive 4500 Series to keep the NAND as cool as possible,” notes Jones. The product includes a temperature-controlled casing and a thermal throttling feature (as a safeguard in case of high temperatures in the data center).
The Z-Drive 4500 series comes bundled with the company’s new WXL Caching Software, a Windows environment that gives a centralized view of all of the Z-drives in the network. Managers can configure the drives as flash, flash cache, or both. In addition, they can see any SSD from OSZ and can update firmware, perform secure erase, on any drive from the software.
The new drives also work with the company’s existing VXL Virtualization software, a virtual machines (VM) acceleration product that pulls together and distributes the flash resources on the 4500 SSD. It is designed to reduce traffic to the storage area network (SAN) and also acts as a SAN-less solution.
The Z-Drive 4500 is specified with endurance ratings at up to 2500 Terabytes written (TBW) for five years. Sustained performance is: read bandwidth up to 2,900 MB/s; write bandwidth up to 2,200 MB/s; 4K random read up to 252,000 IOPS; and 4K random write up to 76,000 IOPS. Housed in a full-height, half length form factor, available models include 800GB capacity (Model ZD4RPFC8MT300-0800), 1.6TB capacity (Model ZD4RPFC8MT310-1600), and 3.2TB capacity (Model ZD4RPFC8MT320-3200). All drives include a five-year warranty.
As for future developments, Harlin explained the new focus now that the company is part of Toshiba. “We will continue to develop client and enterprise products,” he said, “As an organization, we have the resources to be the only provider who can develop our own controller technology and our own firmware, and we also develop our own ASIC. Now with Toshiba as our parent, we have direct NAND supply.” OCZ will maintain its design centers throughout the world. After selling off its power supply business, OCZ has 325 employees, with 180 in the US.
— Janine Love , UBM Tech