HGST Helium-Filled HDDs Rise to New Levels; Achieve Industry-Leading Milestone in Field Reliability

March 28, 2015

Driving Down Data Center TCO: The Value of HelioSeal Technology

With the amount of new data being created and replicated doubling every two years, data center architects have a lot to consider when planning for future growth. Capacity growth is only one piece of the equation. The additional power, cooling and floor space required to operate that extra storage is another, and can add up. Leveraging the inherent benefits of Helium, HGST’s HelioSeal technology delivers today’s lowest TCO for enterprise and cloud data centers through:

  • Greater power efficiency – Disks spin more easily in a helium-filled environment, resulting in 23% lower operating power. The 8TB helium drives consume just 5.1 watts during idle operation, a 44% reduction in watts-per-TB compared to conventional 6TB air-based HDDs, creating greener data centers with reduced energy costs and carbon footprint.
  • Leading storage density – Helium is essential to maintaining the required reliability for future generation drives beyond 8TB. Industry-leading 8TB capacity in a 3.5-inch HDD footprint, which are plug-and-play in virtually any data center environment, delivers 33% more storage capacity for mainstream applications than competitive 6TB offerings.
  • Lower cooling requirements – HGST Helium-filled drives typically run 4˚–5˚C cooler, which lowers power and cooling costs and leads to better field reliability, allowing HGST to increase its MTBF specification for the He6 and He8 drives.
  • Better weight-per-TB – Up to 38% lower weight-per-TB for improved environmental conditions in high-density deployments and allows for more storage capacity where building codes enforce floor loading limits.
  • Environmental robustness – Use them virtually anywhere, including ambient air, free cooling data centers. Many air-filled drives use a breather filter leading to reliability problems when used in environments with high levels of carbon or dust, or in high altitudes. This problem does not exist with HelioSeal drives as they’re hermetically sealed.
  • Value $/TB – Higher volume production for its second-generation 8TB HelioSeal HDD leads to lower cost to the market.

HGST is shipping its 6TB Ultrastar He6 and 8TB Ultrastar He8 helium-filled drives in volume today. HGST’s 10TB Helium HDDs with SMR are sampling with select customers. For more information, please visit:http://www.hgst.com.


Flash drive meltdown fingered in Swedish IT blackout: EMC FAIL

January 16, 2012

This recent post from THE REGISTER dovetails nicely with my previous entry:  CLICK HERE


Looks For Large Gains From Solid State Drives Storage Wars

January 5, 2012

(Seeking Alpha Repost)

As cloud computing (data centers), smartphones, and tablets continue stratospheric growth rates, the market needs faster, more reliable, and less power-hungry storage options. The digital junk has to be stored somewhere, and these new devices don’t have the storage capabilities of traditional desktop computers loaded with large hard disk drives.

Enter the SSDs, or Solid State Drives (read The SSD Revolution for a good overview of the sector) which provides a better alternative than traditional hard drives, though at a higher cost.

Between analysts raising estimates for Fusion-IO (FIO) and OCZ Technology (OCZ) upping estimates for Q4, the sector has startling growth potential for 2012. Numbers that caught me by surprise.

Fusion-IO is seen as the industry leader and innovator. Not only is the company a recent IPO darling, but Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple (AAPL), is the chief scientist, giving the company the instant street credibility that helps with customers and stock valuations.

The company sells plug-in boards that accelerate access to corporate server computers such as those needed in cloud computing operations.

Analysts from Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley recently upped the estimates for Fusion-IO, even suggesting that new revenue from current and pipeline accounts could double the CY12 revenue estimate of $372M:

Fusion-io is well-positioned to ride the surge in enterprise flash given its leading market share, recent low-cost product introduction (ioDrive2), and growing partnerships / distribution, in our view. Our $30 price target applies an 8x EV/Sales multiple, upper-end of comparable data center peers, to our CY12 revenue estimate of $372M. We believe our estimates are conservative, especially if FIO converts new accounts in its pipeline that have the potential to be multimillion customers. We believe conversion of new revenue in current and pipeline accounts could at least double our CY12 revenue estimate.

Fusion-IO has impressive gross margins in the 50%+ level. The company though trades at lofty multiples. The forward PE clocks in around 70 and the Price/Sales multiple is over 9. The stock is definitely expensive, but if growth accelerates as the analysts think might be possible the stock will end up being cheap. One major caution is that prime customer Facebook could at any point leave it without a major revenue stream.

OCZ Technology is the opposite of Fusion-IO. The company has been around for 10 years and just recently made a move into SSDs. Hence the company remains relatively unknown, even though the revenue growth has been nothing short of spectacular.

Back in December, OCZ guided to higher revenue numbers that amount to 30% sequential increase from Q2 2012 — amounts that exceed those of Fusion-IO by a wide margin. The total fiscal 2012 revenue will now exceed the previously announced top end of $350M. That’s impressive growth for a company that just entered the space a little over a year ago.

The company only trades at roughly 1x those fiscal year 2012 estimates, a far cry from the valuations of Fusion-IO. The one catch with OCZ Tech is that gross margins remain low at just above 21%. Is OCZ undercutting competition by selling their products at low margins? Typically the technology companies that thrive are the ones selling products for premium prices. Once your product becomes a commodity, the stock never makes the high returns desired by investors.

OCZ trades at a very reasonable 12x forward earnings. Any upside to those numbers could result in serious gains for the stock. Investors should focus on whether gross margins move towards the 30%+ range.

Preliminary Highlights

  • OCZ expects revenue for Q3’12 between $100 and $105 million, an increase of approximately 90% compared with the revenue of $53.2 million reported in Q3’11, and an increase of approximately 30% compared with the $78.5 million reported in Q2’12.
  • OCZ now expects revenue for its fiscal year 2012, ending February 29, 2012, to be in excess of the top end of its previously announced range of $320 to $350 million; this does not take into consideration any potential increase in demand for the company’s products arising from the widely reported hard disk drive shortage.
  • “We expect to report record revenue in Q3’12, driven primarily by increased traction for our enterprise and server SSD offerings along with initial shipments of our new PCIe-based offerings,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. “Based on the exit bookings rates from November, interest in these products is exceeding our expectations, due to accelerated adoption of our SSDs by server OEMs and enterprise customers,” he added.

Though listed by some as a market leader in the enterprise flash storage sector, STEC (STEC) appears to be the laggard these days. Not only did the stock plunge back in July when it was revealed that the SEC may recommend a civil injunction against the company, but earnings estimates for Q4’11 and 2012 were lowered dramatically. The 1-2 punch led to a 50% drop in the stock and no ensuing recovery has taken place though the sector is gaining steam. STEC remains a show me stock that should be avoided for now.

The analyst predictions on Fusion-IO and the continued guidance raises by OCZ Technology suggest that investors should take a further look at this sector. The combination of being a cloud computing storage option and fast growth could provide the catalyst for large stock gains.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in OCZ over the next 72 hours.

Additional disclosure: Please consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.


SSDs choked by crummy disk interfaces: NVMe and SCSI Express Explained

December 13, 2011

This is the complete repost of Chris Mellior’s terrific article from last week:

Gotta be PCIe and not SAS or SATA

By Chris Mellor • Get more from this author

Posted in Storage7th December 2011 15:43 GMT

Free whitepaper – VMready

A flash device that can put out 100,000 IOPS shouldn’t be crippled by a disk interface geared to dealing with the 200 or so IOPS delivered by individual slow hard disk drives.

Disk drives suffer from the wait before the read head is positioned over the target track; 11msecs for a random read and 13msecs for a random write on Seagate’s 750GB Momentus. Solid state drives (SSDS) do not suffer from the lag, and PCIe flash cards from vendors such as Fusion-io have showed how fast NAND storage can be when directly connected to servers, meaning 350,000 and more IOPS from its ioDrive 2 products.

Generation 3 PCIe delivers 1GB/sec per lane, with a 4-lane (x4) gen 3 PCIe interface shipping 4GB/sec.

You cannot hook an SSD directly to such a PCIe bus with any standard interface.

You can hook up virtually any disk drive to an external USB interface or an internal SAS otr ATA one and the host computer’s O/S will have standard drivers that can deal with it. Ditto for an SSD using these interfaces, but the SSD is sluggardly. To operate at full speed and so deliver data fast and help keep a multi-core CPU busy, it needs an interface to a server’s PCIe bus that is direct and not mediated through a disk drive gateway.

What could go wrong with this rosy outlook? Plenty; this is IT. There is, of course, a competing standards initiative called SCSI Express.

If you could hook an SSD directly to the PCIe bus you could dispense with an intervening HBA that requires power, and slows down the SSD through a few microseconds added latency and a hard disk drive-connectivity based design.

There are two efforts to produce standards for this interface: the NVMe and the SCSI Express initiatives.

NVMe

NVMe, standing for Non-Volatile Memory express, is a standard-based initiative by some 80 companies to develop a common interface. An NVMHCI (Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface) work group is directed by a multi-member Promoter Group of companies – formed in June 2011 – which includes Cisco, Dell, EMC, IDT, Intel, NetApp, and Oracle. Permanent seats in this group are held by these seven vendors, with six other seats held by elected representatives from amongst the other work group member companies.

It appears that HP is not an NVMe member, and most if not all NVMe supporters are not SCSI Express supporters.

The work group released a v1.0 specification in March this years, and details can be obtained at the NVM Express website.

A white paper on that site says:

The standard includes the register programming interface, command set, and feature set definition. This enables standard drivers to be written for each OS and enables interoperability between implementations that shortens OEM qualification cycles. …The interface provides an optimised command issue and completion path. It includes support for parallel operation by supporting up to 64K command queues within an I/O Queue. Additionally, support has been added for many Enterprise capabilities like end-to-end data protection (compatible with T10 DIF and DIX standards), enhanced error reporting, and virtualisation.

The standard has recommendations for client and enterprise systems, which is useful as it means it will embrace the spectrum from notebook to enterprise server. The specification can support up to 64,000 I/O queues with up to 64,000 commands per queue. It’s multi-core CPU in scope and each processor core can implement its own queue. There will also be a means of supporting legacy interfaces, meaning SAS and SATA, somehow.

blog on the NVMe website discusses how the ideal is to have a SSD with a flash controller chip, a system-on-chip (SoC) that includes the NVMe functionality.

What looks likely to happen is that, with comparatively broad support across the industry, SoC suppliers will deliver NVMe SoCS, O/S suppliers will deliver drivers for NVMe-compliant SSDs devices, and then server, desktop and notebook suppliers will deliver systems with NVMe-connected flash storage, possibly in 2013.

What could go wrong with this rosy outlook?

Plenty; this is IT. There is, of course, a competing standards initiative called SCSI Express.

SCSI Express

SCSI Express uses the SCSI protocol to have SCSI targets and initiators talk to each other across a PCIe connection; very roughly it’s NVMe with added SCSI. HP is a visible supporter of it, with there being SCSI Express booth at its HP Discover event in Vienna, and support at the event from Fusion-io.

Fusion said its “preview demonstration showcases ioMemory connected with a 2U HP ProLiant DL380 G7 server via SCSI Express … [It] uses the same ioMemory and VSL technology as the recently announced Fusion ioDrive2 products, demonstrating the possibility of extending Fusion’s Virtual Storage Layer (VSL) software capabilities to a new form factor to enable accelerated application performance and enterprise-class reliability.”

The SCSI Express standard “includes a SCSI Command set optimised for solid-state technologies … [and] delivers enterprise attributes and reliability with a Universal Drive Connector that offers utmost flexibility and device interoperability, including SAS, SATA and SCSI Express. The Universal Drive Connector also preserves legacy investments and enables support for emerging storage memory devices.”

An SNIA document states:

Currently ongoing in the T10 (www.t10.org) committee is the development of SCSI over PCIe (SOP), an effort to standardise the SCSI protocol across a PCIe physical interface. SOP will support two queuing interfaces – NVMe and PQI (PCIe Queuing Interface).

PQI is said to be fast and lightweight. There are proprietary SCSI-over-PCIe products available from PMC, LSI, Marvell and HP but SCSI Express is said to be, like PQI, open.

The support of the NVMe queuing interface suggests that SCSI EXpress and NVMe might be able to come together, which would be a good thing and prevent the industry working on separate SSD PCIe-interfacing SoCs and operating system drivers.

Of course this imagining could be just us blowing smoke up our own ass.

There is no SCSI Express website but HP Discover in Vienna last month revealed a fair amount about SCSI express, which is described in a Nigel Poulton blog.

He says that a 2.5-inch SSD will slot into a 2.5-inch bay on the front of a server, for example, and that “[t]he [solid state] drive will mate with a specially designed, but industry standard, interface that will talk a specially designed, but again industry standard, protocol (the protocol enhances the SCSI command set for SSD) with standard drivers that will ship with future versions of major Operating Systems like Windows, Linux and ESXi”.

HP SCSI Express cardHP SCSI Express card from HP Discover at Vienna

Fusion-io 2.5-inch, SCSI Express-supporting SSDs plugged into the top two ports in the card pictured above. Poulton says these ports are SFF 8639 ones. The other six ports appear to be SAS ports.

A podcast on HP social media guy Calvin Zito’s blog has two HP staffers at Vienna talking about SCSI Express.

SCSI Express productisation

SCSI Express productisation, according to HP, should occur around the end of 2012. We are encouraged (listen to podcast above) to think of HP servers with flash DAS formed from SCSI Express-connected SSDs, but also storage arrays, such as HP’s P4000, being built from ProLiant servers with SCSI Express-connected SSDs inside them.

This seems odd as the P4000 is an iSCSI shared SAN array, and why would you want to get data at PCIe speeds from the SSDs inside to its X86 controller/server, and then ship them across a slow iSCSI link to other servers running the apps that need the data?

It only makes sense to me if the P4000 is running the apps needing the data as well, if the P4000 and app-running servers are collapsed or converged into a single (servers + P4000) system. Imagine HP’s P10000 (3PAR) and X9000 (Ibrix) arrays doing the same thing: its Converged Infrastructure ideas seem quite exciting in terms of getting apps to run faster. Of course this imagining could be just us blowing smoke up our own ass.

El Reg’s takeaway from all this is that NVMe is almost a certainty because of the weight and breadth of its backing across the industry. We think it highly likely that HP will productise SCSI Express, with support from Fusion-io and that, unless there is a SCSI Express/NVMe convergence effort, we’re quite likely to face a brief period of interface wars before one or the other becomes dominant.

Concerning SCSI Express and NVMe differences, EMC engineer Amnon Izhar said: “On the physical layer both will be the same. NVMe and [SCSI Express] will be different transport/driver implementations,” implying that convergence could well happen, given sufficient will.

Our gut feeling is that PCIe interface convergence is unlikely, as HP is quite capable of going its own way; witness the FATA disks of recent years and also its individual and admirably obdurate flag-waving over Itanium. ®


Get to know Pinaki Mukerji: Queplix EVP & Chief Product Officer

September 25, 2011

Pinaki Mukerji
Queplix EVP & Chief Product Officer

Pinaki Mukerji has more than 20 years experience in the software industry and delivered many market leading products. He joined Informatica in 1995, at a very early stage of the company. Over the past 15 years, Pinaki played a pivotal role in growing Informatica from $0 MM in revenue in 1995 to $650MM revenue at the end of 2010. Over the years, Pinaki built a highly talented engineering team spanning multiple geography and grew the product portfolio. Pinaki is responsible for the Informatica Platform Technology and the Data integration product.

As Chief Product Officer at Queplix, he is responsible for managing our engineering team and guiding the company’s technology development. Mukerji joins Queplix from his most recent position as Senior Vice President, Platform Technology R&D at Informatica®, Inc. (INFA). While at Informatica® Mukerji was one of the key driving forces behind many of their key product initiatives.

“Pinaki did a brilliant job at Informatica® and I expect he will do even more at Queplix,” said Mark Cashman, chief executive officer for Queplix. “There is no executive with more relevant experience than Pinaki. Our platform delivers an open, business user ready, enterprise platform for data integration and data management. Pinaki pioneered many early data integration successes with Informatica® and he is supremely qualified to lead our product vision forward.”

“The Queplix platform for cloud and on-premise is an industry first.  Business users are now empowered to bring projects from concept to deliverable without IT programmers,” said Mukerji.  “Advanced data virtualization is the future.  It is a game changing technology for the data integration world.  It reduces cost and risk and enables performance more than any other technology or architecture.  I am extremely pleased and excited to join the company at such a critical time in the company’s evolution.”



QUEPLIX ANNOUNCES PINAKI MUKERJI JOINS QUEPLIX AS EVP AND CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER

September 13, 2011

Company Moves to Expand Executive Team With
Recognized Data Integration Leader

SUNNYVALE, Calif., September 13, 2011 – Queplix™ Corp., a leader in data integration and data management, today announced that the company has named Pinaki Mukerji as the new executive vice president and chief product officer.  Pinaki Mukerji, a Silicon Valley veteran, brings many years of research, development and engineering experience to the Sunnyvale-based company.

As Chief Product Officer, Mukerji will be responsible for managing the Queplix engineering team and guiding the company’s technology development.  Mukerji joins Queplix from his most recent position as Senior Vice President, Platform Technology R&D at Informatica®, Inc. (INFA).  While at Informatica® Mukerji was one of the key driving forces behind many of their key product initiatives.

“Pinaki did a brilliant job at Informatica® and I expect he will do even more at Queplix,” said Mark Cashman, chief executive officer for Queplix. “There is no executive with more relevant experience than Pinaki.  Our platform delivers an open, business user ready, enterprise platform for data integration and data management.  Pinaki pioneered many early data integration successes with Informatica® and he is supremely qualified to lead our product vision forward.”

“The Queplix platform for cloud and on-premise is an industry first.  Business users are now empowered to bring projects from concept to deliverable without IT programmers,” said Mukerji.  “Advanced data virtualization is the future.  It is a game changing technology for the data integration world.  It reduces cost and risk and enables performance more than any other technology or architecture.  I am extremely pleased and excited to join the company at such a critical time in the company’s evolution.”

Tweet This: @Queplix Hires Pinaki Mukerji as EVP and Chief Product Officer

Follow Queplix on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/QueplixCorp

Resource library: For more information about data integration and management, visit Queplix Resource Library.

About Queplix Corp.

Queplix™ is a leader in data integration and data management. Our products enable customers to securely integrate, deploy and manage cloud and on-premise applications and data with speed, simplicity and automation. Uniquely, no programming or SQL is required. Our data virtualization and powerful data management automatically harmonize the data between applications. Our customers benefit from greater cost savings, a rapid return on investment and the strategic benefits of true data mobility. Queplix has thousands of users around the world, serving customers such as The Home Depot, Homesite and Sony Ericsson. Please visit http://www.queplix.com for more information.

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