Josh-D. S. Davis

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OCZ Z-Drive Rev2: p88 / 512GB - 2TB / 8 x PCI-E / 8 x SATA / MLC NAND
Computer Drive
joshdavis
OCZ Technology announced the Company's plan to enter mass production of the Z-Drive R2 Solid State Drive (SSD) Series. The Z-Drive family is a bootable 8-way RAID 0, and connects via an 8-lane PCI Express slot. It claims to be the only bootable and field serviceable PCIe SSD option on the market today. The NAND modules are socketed to enable field-upgrade.

Amazon prices range from $1268 for a 250 GB m84, to $10,300 for a 2TB p88. The eSeries is not available yet.

Common Specifications:
NAND Flash Components: Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND Flash Memory
Interface: PCI Express
Form Factor: x8 slot full height PCI Express
Life Expectancy: 1 million hours Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF)
Reliability: ECC is BCH with 8, 12 or 16 bits correctable, depending on NAND
Product Health Monitoring: Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology
Operating Temperature: 0C - 70C
Storage Temperature: -45C - +85C
Certifications: RoHS, CE, FCC
Performance Optimization: Background Garbage Collection (GC)

The 84 modules Specifics:

Cache: 256MB on board Cache
Max Read: up to 800MB/s, Max Write: up to 750MB/s, Sustained Write: up to 500MB/s
Max Random Write IOPS: 7500 IOPS (4KB 32QD), Max Random Read IOPS: 29000 IOPS (4KB 32QD)
Power Consumption: Active: 12Watts

The 88 modules specifics:

Cache: 512MB on board Cache
Max Read: up to 1.4GB/s, Max Write: up to 1.4GB/s, Sustained Write: up to 950MB/s
Max Random Write IOPS: 14500 IOPS (4KB 32QD), Max Random Read IOPS: 29000 IOPS (4KB 32QD)
Power Consumption: Active: 20Watts

Press Release:
http://www.oczenterprise.com/news/ocz-technology-launches-next-generation-z-drive-pci-express-solid-state-drive-ssd.html


Question and Answer with Patrick Kiley, WW OEM Sales Mgr for OCZ Technology
JD: So the individual modules are roughly 200MB/sec read and write, and you have 4 or 8 mounted on an 8-lane PCI express SATA controller?

OCZ> This is extremely close to being correct. We have 4 or 8 SSD controllers mounted on a board using an LSI 1068E SAS controller.

JD: Is the RAID-0 transparent, or will drivers be required?
OCZ: Drivers are required for the 1068E to be identified by the OS, however the RAID0 is done in hardware and is transparent.

JD: What's the form factor of the board?
OCZ: The P84 boards are full height and close to full length. The P88 boards are the same, but double width.

JD: Will it need a bracket on the tail end if mounted horizontally?
OCZ: Some form of extra support would be suggested for horizontal applications (1u, 2u as examples). Since each platform is different OCZ does not have an off the shelf solution. We would be happy to work with customers on a case by case basis where the business makes sense.

JD: Will this be MLC, SLC or a combination?
OCZ: M84, P84, and P88 are MLC. E84 and E88 which will be launching soon are SLC

JD: How much RAM cache?
OCZ: The LSI 1068E does not have an external cache on it. Each of the SSD controllers has 64MB of cache.

JD: Does the long term performance require TRIM to be enabled?
OCZ: This depends on how the drive is used. If its used for sequential writes then no it should be fine without TRIM. If the drive is relatively full to capacity and has a lot of small file random writes then TRIM is very helpful in maintaining performance. Currently TRIM does not work because the individual controllers are behind the RAID controller in an array. OCZ is working on developing drivers that will enable TRIM, as well as a consolidated SMART reporting

JD: Will the modules be hot-swappable?
OCZ: No

JD: Will in-place capacity upgrades be supported? (eg, replace one bank of modules, let it sync up, then replace the other bank)
OCZ: No, all modules will need to be replaced at the same time. Keep in mind this is RAID0 so regardless, data is lost.

JD: Will other RAID levels be supported than RAID0? If so, is the processing done on the board, or in the OS? If it's on the board, what sort of CPU/DSP is involved?
OCZ: Not in this generation no, RAID0 only and processing is done in the 1068E.

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spiffy stuff

but wow.. look at that price.... give it 2 years, bet the price point is MUCH improved ;)

OCZ Z-Drive Rev2: p88 / 512GB - 2TB / 8 x PCI-E / 8 x SATA / MLC NAND

I agree. For the 250G unit, The DIMMs are roughly 32G each with 32M ram on each one. Each one should do about 100MB/sec read and write. Those are worth about $55 each. The controller is worth about $120 if you throw in $9 for the SODIMM sockets. That's about $560 in retail value for the low low price of $1267?

Plus, you can't mount it horizontally without further engineering work. That means you're looking at 4U systems and desktops, but not 2U and not tower.

The card is SOFTWARE RAID, and if you disable that, you disable the boot BIOS completely.

Might be OK if IBM systems recognize the board as a ServerRAID card, but not good for intel systems.

Then again, enterprise SSD is purchased for random IOPS (database) and not sequential access. Without TRIM, the random IOPS will fall drastically within 6 months.

So the have (M)ainstream, (P)rofessional, and (E)nterprise. I bet the SLC (E) class will be out in Feb around $12/gig. I think the M and P models will drop to under $4/g when that happens. I think the market will be poor for this and MLC will be $2.60/gig by the end of 2011.

I think a better solution would be to pick up an LSI Logic card separately, and connect up eight 2.5" intel drives, and run SW RAID, and have a mess of thin SATA cables with the sheathing peeled off. :)

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