Toshiba's OCZ cranks up speed on new 3.2TB solid state drives

The Toshiba subsidiary's Z-Drive 4500 SSDs have software tools for caching

OCZ's Z-Drive 4500 SSDs

OCZ's Z-Drive 4500 SSDs

OCZ Storage Solutions is starting a new chapter in its enterprise operations with shipments of a new line of solid-state drives (SSDs) that offer maximum storage capacity of 3.2TB.

The Z-Drive 4500 SSDs also come in capacities of 800GB and 1.6TB. OCZ was acquired last month by Toshiba for $35 million after coming out of bankruptcy, and the new SSDs are made using the Japanese company's latest manufacturing process.

OCZ already offers 3.2TB drives through the Z-Drive R4 SSDs, but the new drives are faster, OCZ said in a statement. The 3.2TB drive is priced at US$6,533, 1.6TB at $3,806 and 800GB at $2,355. The drives offers endurance of 2.5PB, and random read times of 252,000 IOPS (I/O per second) and random write times of up to 76,000 IOPS.

At 3.2TB, OCZ is offering the highest storage available in SSDs. SSDs are catching up fast to hard-drives, which have reached a maximum capacity of 6TB. However, SSDs remain more expensive than hard drives.

OCZ will continue to offer its own line of SSDs, and nothing is affected by Toshiba's acquisition, said Scott Harlin, director of marketing communications for enterprise at OCZ.

"Toshiba will continue to develop, produce, and market their own line of Toshiba-branded SSDs while we will focus on developing, producing and marketing OCZ-branded SSDs that leverage our in-house technology," Harlin said in an email.

The Z-Drive 4500 SSD plugs into a PCI-Express slot, and also uses software as a tool to speed up read and write operations. OCZ is bundling Windows Accelerator software, which manages the SSD storage when it is functioning as cache. Enterprises running data-intensive applications like databases and analytics are using SSD arrays as temporary storage -- also called cold storage -- before moving the processed data to long-term storage in hard drives. The software manages caching and storage arrays for Windows Server software.

Other software included is OCZ's VXL virtualization software, which manages the deployment of virtual machines across blocks in SSD arrays to minimize resource wastage. The software ensures quicker deployments of VMs and faster read and write times.

Questions have been raised in the past about the reliability of OCZ's drives, but the company is offering a five-year warranty with the new products.

The SSDs are MLC (multi-level cell), in which multiple bits are stored in one cell. The drive is also equipped with security and features to protect data in case of a power outage. The drivers for Windows and Linux have been rebuilt from scratch, OCZ said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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