#SFD4 – Vendor 5: Virident (HGST)

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This post is part of a series of 10 vendors that have presented their technology to the TechFieldDay attendees, gathered for this edition of Storage Field Day 4. You can find all background about the project here: http://techfieldday.com/event/sfd4/ – This series of blogposts were live notes, published at the end of the presentation but reviewed afterwards. Disclaimer: the attendees are not personally compensated other than our transport and lodging, nor are we obliged to write anything at all.

Virident

Company

  • Founded: 2006
  • Founders: Vijay Karamcheti (CTO), Kumar Ganapathy (VP Product Strategy)
  • Financial Status: acquired october 2013 by HGST for $685mln (Western Digital)
  • CEO: Mike Gustafson – now SVP Reporting at HGST

Technology

Virident/HGST in essence builds Flash SSD cards and PCIe Express flash cards but the strength of the IP is the software layers they have build on top of that hardware. The solutions we spoke about in this presentation 

One of the weird parts was that writing to the flash (ioScale 3.2TB) is faster than reading from flash and it’s because the writes go into RAM on the card before it gets offloaded to the flash cells. This way thay can get over 200k iOPS random write on less than 600 microseconds.

The next part we have is the FlashMax Connect which allows you to share the storage over an Infiniband (Mellanox HBA) backplane. However today the data on these cards are not distributed to the other cards so in essence each card is a single point of failure … for today *hint hint* 

What you see in the picture below is that sharing the cards to the other nodes but you see that there is no lines between the cards as such.

Virident

vCache then is a Write Through – Write Back – Write Around caching software. As write-back is the hardest to do, there were a lot of questions towards consistency and data protection. Let’s say … for today … we weren’t really convinced that has been taken into account.

My Take

Virident failed to impress. This was a hardware company that has a single product with some side projects. Whether or not it is well done, got lost in a layer of vendor bashing at the address of FusionIO. I do have a feeling that the hardware products as such are not that bad but everything beyond hardware are things we have already seen better implemented at other companies. Now that Virident is part of HGST/WD we’ll hopefully see a decent story where everything fits together in the next 6 months.

Links

Video

The items of Storage Field Day 4 presentations were: Introduction / Overview / FlashMax II / FlashMax Connect / Use Cases

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