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Nimbus Elevates the Bar on Flash Memory Performance and Resiliency with its New Gemini Array

If you’re an end user or service provider that needs higher levels of IOPS or transactional throughput for your business-critical database or virtualization applications, the new Gemini all-flash memory array from Nimbus Data may be for you. This new solution delivers big increases in performance and resiliency, while shrinking space (by packing more capacity per rack) and power requirements.

The all-flash Gemini array provides a big boost in performance over the current Nimbus S-Class scale-out system, leveraging its patent-pending Parallel Memory Architecture (PMA) and Distributed Cache Architecture (DCA) to achieve up to 12 GB per second of throughput and 1 million IO’s per second, with latencies at less than a tenth of a millisecond. The PMA enables all flash drives to run at line rate simultaneously, providing total bandwidth levels on the order of 6x those available from off-the-shelf hardware. The DCA provides scale-out write cache in each flash drive, instead of in the controller, enabling cache to scale as capacity expands.

Nimbus’ Flash Lifecycle Management (FLM) provides significantly increased resiliency, supporting 1.2 PB of data writes per week for up to 10 years using MLC technology, and backed by a warranty. The FLM ensures that write IO’s are always page-aligned and evenly distributed across all flash, while Nimbus’s ASIC-based “flash characterization” capability optimizes endurance by individual cells. The 10-year life is noteworthy by itself, but their ability to accomplish this in MLC is even more impressive.

The Nimbus Gemini array stands out in at least two other ways: availability and versatility. The flash is RAID-protected, and all the key Gemini array hardware components are redundant and hot-swappable, allowing Nimbus to achieve five nines of availability with the system, and to provide customers with non-disruptive software updates and capacity expansions. The Gemini ports are software-programmable, giving them a “dual personality” capability that enables users to switch from one protocol to another simply by changing transceivers. All major block and file storage protocols are supported, and Nimbus supports the fastest available data rates – up to 40GbE, 16 Gb Fibre Channel, and 56 Gb Infiniband. In addition, all of Nimbus’ HALO storage management capabilities are included with the system for no additional charge.

What allows Nimbus to bring to market all of these advances simultaneously, ahead of other all-flash suppliers? We think Nimbus’ biggest differentiator is its vertically-integrated design, combined with its ownership of all the key hardware and software components in the system. This allows Nimbus to innovate concurrently on multiple fronts, while ensuring that all the hardware and software works together reliably. The Gemini release should get the attention of other flash memory players, and if you’re an IT buyer or service provider, should get your attention as well.

  • Premiered: 08/20/12
  • Author: Jeff Byrne
Topic(s): Storage Nimbus Flash


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