OCZ launches 16TB flash card

The R4 CloudServ card acts as flash cache in a server

OCZ Technology today released a PCIe NAND flash server card with up to 16GB of capacity, more than five times its predecessor.

OCZ originally announced its new Z-Drive R4 CloudServ PCIe flash card at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. During that show, the company also announced its next-generation PCIe NAND flash card, the Z-Drive R5, which uses the OCZ and Marvell co-developed Kilimanjaro controller. The R5 card, which is expected to ship in the second quarter, is a PCIe x16 Gen 3 flash card that supports up to 16GBps of total bandwidth and up to 2.52 million IOPS and 7.2GBps sequential transfers per card.

The new Z-Drive R4 CloudServ PCIe card is being marketed for cloud computing environments as it can sustain up to 1.2 million I/Os per second (IOPS) and 6.5GBps throughput. OCZ did not release pricing for the card.

The Z-Drive R4 CloudServ PCIe card can hold up to 16TB of data

"With this new solution, system architects are able to design more efficient and dynamic cloud computing infrastructures while simultaneously reducing system complexity and the high maintenance costs associated with traditional infrastructures," Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology, said in a statement.

Last fall, OCZ released the fifth generation of its PCI-Express card, the Z-Series SSD R4, which has a maximum data read rate of 2.8GBps. That drive doubled the performance of the previous generation flash card.

The fifth-generation R4 card came in capacities ranging from 300GB to 1.2TB on a half-height card and from 800GB to 3.2TB on a full-height card.

The new Z-Drive R4 CloudServ card comes in capacities that range from 300GB to 16TB and performance that peaks at 1.4 million IOPS, OCZ said.

PCIe-based flash cards are becoming more popular for environments with virtualized servers, big data analytics and cloud services because they can improve server I/O performance more than 100 times. EMC recently released its own rebranded PCIe card, the VFCache card, and Fusion-io has been selling high-capacity cards for about four years.

Fusion-io's ioDrive drive PCIe cards come in modules (essentially DIMMS) called ioMemory modules that hold up to 10TB of data in a 1U (1.75-in high) form factor.

With increasing emphasis on cloud computing and the sheer growth in data, PCIe-based flash storage systems have the ability to bypass traditional storage overhead by cutting out the storage network. Server PCIe cards reduce the space and power traditionally required for storage arrays and allow large data sets to be processed closer to the server CPU.

OCZ's latest R4 drive, is managed using the company's Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0 and OCZ's SANRAD VXL virtual acceleration caching software. R4 CloudServ card works as a type of flash cache that in conjunction with the VXL software dynamically allocates flash resources to accelerate virtual machine performance.

"This maximizes the performance of critical applications and provides a seamless migration from one host to another without the loss of cache data," OCZ stated in its news release. "As these virtual machines are migrated from one host to another, they must retain full access to the flash cache without loss of performance or interruption of service."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com .

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