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ioDrive Duo: Meet the Worlds Fastest SSD

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 22 comments
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Last year, the computer industry saw solid state hard drives (SSDs) come into the mainstream. Since that point, the read and write speeds of such drives has been a hotly contested issue, with companies like Intel, OCZ, and A-Data constantly vying for the title of "world's fastest SSD."

Enter Fusion-io. The company's 80 GB ioDrive is able to produce read and write speeds of 700 MB/sec. and 550 MB/sec., respectively (our review confirms this level of performance). Those speeds combined with the ioDrive's ability to reach 102,000 read IOPS and 92,000 write IOPS (In/Out Operations per Second) meant the ioDrive was the fastest solid state drive available...until now.

Fusion-io today announced its newest storage solution: the ioDrive Duo. The Duo picks up where its older brother left off, bringing unprecedented read and write speed with it. According to Fusion-io, the ioDrive Duo can read and write at 1.5 GB/sec. and 1.4 GB/sec., giving it over twice the performance of its predecessor. The Duo can also reach 186,000 read IOPS and 167,000 write IOPS.

“Many database and system administrators are finding that SANs [Storage Area Networks] are too expensive and don’t meet performance, protection and capacity utilization expectations,” said David Flynn, CTO of Fusion-io. “This is why more and more application vendors are moving toward application-centric solid-state storage. The ioDrive Duo offers the enterprise the advantages of application-centric storage without application-specific programming.”

The ioDrive Duo will be available next month three initiial sizes: 160 GB, 320 GB, and 640 GB. Sometime in the second half of 2009, a 1.28 TB version will be released, making the ioDrive Duo the fastest as well as one of the largest solid state-based storage solutions available.

Unfortunately, the ioDrive Duo does come with some asterisks. It cannot be used as a boot drive, and due to its drivers also requires the use of a 64-bit operating system. While the price is TBA, the original 80 GB ioDrive is still over $3,000, meaning the 160 GB ioDrive Duo will be at least that expensive, with the 1.28 TB version probably going for five figures. Whether you plan to spring for one or not, the ioDrive Duo has certainly set a new standard for SSD speed on a myriad of levels. With Steve Wozniak now on the Fusion-io payroll, who knows what the company will think of next.

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  • 2 Hide
    jacobdrj , March 12, 2009 4:53 PM
    TH, you have got to investigate why FusionIO is not able to be a boot drive. Lack of talent? Lack of standardization? I gotta know!
  • 4 Hide
    mavroxur , March 12, 2009 5:30 PM
    I dont see why companies haven't added a boot ROM to these and made them bootable yet. It's not like they're exactly venturing into uncharted waters by making add-in cards bootable
  • -1 Hide
    fuser , March 12, 2009 5:30 PM
    jacobdrjTH, you have got to investigate why FusionIO is not able to be a boot drive. Lack of talent? Lack of standardization? I gotta know!

    Because the major BIOS vendors don't support booting from a pci-e device?
  • 3 Hide
    mavroxur , March 12, 2009 5:32 PM
    fuserBecause the major BIOS vendors don't support booting from a pci-e device?



    That's why bootable add-in cards carry an onboard boot ROM usually.
  • 3 Hide
    fuser , March 12, 2009 5:33 PM
    I was totally guessing. In any case it doesn't matter in an enterprise environment. Servers stay up for months or years at a time, so an extra 30 seconds boot time isn't important.
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , March 12, 2009 6:17 PM
    I would have thought of that myself, except that add-in cards are not theorhetically any different than what FIO is doing. If you can boot off of a RAID card, why not use the same method to boot off a 'MEGA-RAID' card, which in many ways, is what the FIO is.
  • 0 Hide
    A Stoner , March 12, 2009 6:32 PM
    Give it a year, and everyone can enjoy this speed!!! The pace at which SSD's are maturing, unless you are making money off your PC, these things are pointless to buy today, because far superior devices are around the corner. I am happy to wait until a device has matured before leeping into the fray.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , March 12, 2009 6:37 PM
    jacobdrjTH, you have got to investigate why FusionIO is not able to be a boot drive. Lack of talent? Lack of standardization? I gotta know!

    In their review of the first IoDrive, Tom's stated that the IoDrive does NOT present a standard I/O interface, meaning the BIOS doesn't recognize it as a bootable device. This is probably by design, why would you need to boot from the IoDrive? This device is designed (by cost alone) to only be used in Database or datacenter applications. Those machines probably never reboot (barring hardware upgrades). Therefore, why add more complexity to something already expensive and complex? Who cares if your fileserver takes a few extra seconds to boot when it has up-time in the thousands of hours? This is purely a storage device. Next you'll be wondering why you could never boot from your old tape-based DLT drive.
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , March 12, 2009 6:46 PM
    In that same article (IIRC) also had the CEO recognizing that a huge driving force in the tech industry were the extreme gaming enthusiasts, recognizing that there was a niche, and one that trickles down. They can't 'have their cake, and eat it too'. By not offering it as a bootable option, they are less likely to get that bit of market share, and have lost ground, maybe permenently, to cheaper, but similarly effective SSD's. I have to immagine that FIO wants to get their share of this lucrative market, particularly having the de facto fastest storage interface. If there are drivers to make it a storage device, you should be able to write bios to at least interperate this as one as well.
  • 4 Hide
    scarpa , March 12, 2009 6:49 PM
    In a few months they'll need something faster than the PCI-x which only has 2000Mbs when this new Io duo drive already reached 1500MB/s(read) and 1400MB/s(write).

    SSD are improving very fast, I say we should support it by buying only SSDs even though it's cheaper to get a HDD.
  • 0 Hide
    fuser , March 12, 2009 8:00 PM
    Given the pace of innovation in this area I'm expecting to be able to buy a SSD by the end of this calendar year.

    An Intel X25-M for $200 would do it.
  • -1 Hide
    jacobdrj , March 12, 2009 8:47 PM
    Heh, I already got a G.Skill for my lappy. It made the vibration go away, and I am less worried about magnets. The peace of mind alone is worth it IMHO. Battery life is a little up, and startup is much more manageable. However, that stutter issue is annoying. If I get another SSD, it will probably be an Intel X25-E 64GB ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 13, 2009 12:30 AM
    The only problem with using these cards for enterprise database or application servers is that they only provide storage to one server. Almost all production database servers are clustered which means we need to have at least 2 servers with access to the same shared storage.

    We really need to have a small disk array of these things which can be shared to 2 or more servers. The big storage vendors are already in the process of doing this at the high end but it seems like this is an opportunity for the little guys to compete with the EMCs of the world in providing very high IOPS storage subsystems for a fraction of the cost / IOP.

  • 2 Hide
    mavroxur , March 13, 2009 12:45 PM
    hellwigIn their review of the first IoDrive, Tom's stated that the IoDrive does NOT present a standard I/O interface, meaning the BIOS doesn't recognize it as a bootable device. This is probably by design, why would you need to boot from the IoDrive? This device is designed (by cost alone) to only be used in Database or datacenter applications. Those machines probably never reboot (barring hardware upgrades). Therefore, why add more complexity to something already expensive and complex? Who cares if your fileserver takes a few extra seconds to boot when it has up-time in the thousands of hours? This is purely a storage device. Next you'll be wondering why you could never boot from your old tape-based DLT drive.




    Yeah, because booting from a FusionIO card and a tape drive is a logical comparison. That argument started out descent until that last sentence.
  • 0 Hide
    martin0642 , March 13, 2009 3:07 PM
    I'd like to know if VMWare can see this as a local storage device. It would be great to get a 1.2TB unit in each ESX server.

    Also, I think FusionIO could rake in some major cash by licensing their tech to motherboard manufacturers as an add-in motherboard card. I would like to see drives plug directly into motherboards just like SO-DIMMs go into laptops. It would clean up the case and allow for up to PCIs x16 lanes to the SSD.

    I think an interesting offshoot of this is going to be that now, Gigabit Ethernet has become the bottleneck in General PC usage. I am used to moving large files around and in the past it could be said that the write speed of the drive was a limiting factor, soon we'll have an excuse to Demand 10Gbit Ethernet come on the motherboards.

    I guess after that a 1GiG Verizon FiOS link will be the slowdown. Drives like this are also going to bring hardware costs and power bills down for companies, freeing up funds for workers and new projects. It will also mean a lower entry cost for startup ideas that have high hardware requirements.

    It's win/win. Combine that with the new LiON batteries they say charge in 30 seconds and weigh less than half of a current battery, and I'll call it a good year.
  • 0 Hide
    jon1245 , March 13, 2009 5:30 PM
    "This device is designed (by cost alone) to only be used in Database or datacenter applications."

    Errr...actually, no IT manager in their right mind would ever use a nonhot-swappable storage device in any mission critical server. They especially would never use any storage device that would require a total system shutdown to replace. There are many other reasons but I'll only state the obvious.

    My guess is that this is more for the enthusiast that wouldn't necessarily have a need to swap out their drive w/o shutting down their system.
  • 0 Hide
    spagunk , March 13, 2009 6:41 PM
    Actually, I thought that PCI-Express has Hot swapping capabilities? Not that anyone utilizes it, only that the specifications allow such a thing
  • 0 Hide
    spagunk , March 13, 2009 6:44 PM
    http://www.pcisig.com/news_room/faqs/faq_express/

    (Wish there was an "edit comment" function...)
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 21, 2009 10:13 PM
    We use it in a mission critical server, we just bought two of them and mirrored them.
  • 0 Hide
    moonwave , August 2, 2009 10:20 PM
    Well, it's not the fastest drive out there even if they are trying to claim that. There is another super talent that's just it it's just a tad faster. Something like 1590MB/sec, but it's close. And it's also not the 1st since super talent drive has been out. But I'm sure being thank Woz is there, they will adapt the apple way and claim they are first as they do with every thing. While some may use it in specialized applications like in a movie editing house, it clearly wasn't designed for main stream. And you can't boot from it. One of the nicest perks of the SSD is being able to boot your OS faster, and having all the OS files on the SSD. I believe the super talent is bootable. Wozniak? I guess now they can make deceptive "Im a Fusion" commercials and make fun of the other drives. LOL. That way they can gain market share. But seriously, it's just a really fast, specialized drive for a few that really, really need and can afford it. If I were going to plunk down several thousand, I'd want it to also be able to boot.
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