OCZ's HSDL: A New Storage Link For Super-Fast SSDs

Conclusion

OCZ's HSDL Interface

OCZ's IBIS is an interesting piece of hardware, but I'd argue that it isn't the focus here today. Rather it's the company's High-Speed Data Link in the hot seat, theoretically able to move up to 2 GB/s over a very PCI Express-like bus.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), even a 3.5" drive with four SandForce SF-1200 controllers and 240 GB of Intel NAND flash cannot come close to saturating the interface. Without question, we'll have to wait for the mysterious next-generation IBIS drive OCZ's CEO Ryan Petersen mentioned.

With that said, the stage is set for an interesting evolution. A single HSDL channel and a first-generation drive outpaces what one SAS connection can do, throughput-wise. And OCZ is talking about multiplexing lanes to generate even more performance. You can't do that with SAS. SAS is great for taking four ports, hooking them up to a midplane, and attaching 20 drives. But if performance is your one and only care in the world, you can't take those same four SAS links and route them into a single drive. Even if you could, we haven't seen a single SAS-based device able to push the interface's maximum 600 MB/s--much less the numbers OCZ is throwing around.

It might seem silly, then, to already be talking about a two-channel PCIe x8 card able to move 4 GB/s. Armed with four ports, though, it's almost mind-boggling to think about what a quartet of IBIS drives could do for highly transactional workloads in a single server. I'm almost positive that it'd be impossible for me to justify spending more than a grand on 360 GB of capacity, as an enthusiast. But I know for a fact that there are plenty of business applications for this--environments where the capacity and cost aren't issues, but performance is.

The IBIS SSD

Alright, so we know that HSDL in its current form theoretically has gobs of headroom to spare. Where does that leave IBIS, the first drive family designed to take advantage of the HSDL interface? The way it stands right now, most of the IBIS drives are, simply, expensive. This isn't OCZ's play on performance for the price--that remains the RevoDrive, according to the company. Here, you're paying a premium for product that can deliver more than 100,000 IOPS and streaming read/write performance in excess of what a SAS port serves up. OCZ says enthusiasts are in its reticle here, but I don't really see any practical reason for power users to go this route, unless you have an application you know is outright I/O-limited. The more receptive markets are going to be Web servers, file servers, databases, and email.

Shoot, if OCZ could partner up with a storage software vendor and create a caching package that'd operate similar to Adaptec's MaxIQ or Intel's SSD Cache premium feature key, it'd have a massively powerful solution for speeding up application performance--like a miniature GridIron TurboCharger.

Bearing in mind that the IBIS seems tailor-fit for the enterprise space, my main reservation right now would probably be a lack of features you normally find in more business-class storage solutions, such as battery backup to prevent against loss in the event of power failure. OCZ's SF-1500-driven Vertex 2 Pro employs a capacitor that stands in as a temporary backup, allowing the SSD to finish outstanding operations before losing power. You don't get that concession on an SF-1200-based implementation like IBIS. That'll be something IT decision makers, who are a notoriously conservative bunch, have to consider before jumping on this technology. We're also missing TRIM support here, and it remains to be seen whether this affects performance over the long term.

Regardless, IBIS is OCZ's first generation of what will hopefully turn into a wider range of HSDL-based SSDs. It's incredibly fast today, and the company is talking about forthcoming versions able to tax its interface in an even more significant way. PCIe-based SSDs are cool, but I'm looking forward to seeing HSDL make ultra high-performance drives more flexible. And that's really what this technology is all about. Four super-fast drives plugged into an HSDL PCI Express card is much better in a server than four drives plugging up their own slots.

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    Top Comments
  • Chris I think I'll need to double-check your results. Better send the drive my way.
    23
  • Other Comments
  • I like where they are headed but price still high mates
    5
  • *faints* I will never be able to afford these.


    Those HDDs cost more then my entire comptuer
    9
  • I do want to try out one of these, maybe sell my car?
    8
  • Chris I think I'll need to double-check your results. Better send the drive my way.
    23
  • Optic link technology may be more exciting. Can't wait to see lightpeak or similar stuffs to become real.
    -3
  • First time saw those numbers, i gasped for air... OCZ, can you try to saturated with PCIe 2.0 x16 bandwidth? And can anyone tell me how much is it in Write and Read speeds at that bandwith?
    0
  • Very nice to see secondary storage tech at orders of magnitude beyond what we're used to. Can't wait for this type of tech to become mainstream.
    2
  • Stuff like this makes me wish I was involved in an enterprise-class technology environment that could actually benefit from 130,000 IOPS in a package like this. I guess I don't need to ditch my Agility 60, but I like where OCZ is headed.
    0
  • Yet there are already drives that outperform these by a large margin available for a while now, like this:
    http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=RGS0256M&title=Super-Talent-RAIDDrive-GS-256GB-RAID0-PCI-Express-x8-Solid-State-Drive

    Read 1.4GB/s, Write 1.2GB/s

    At those speeds, it's like writing to RAM, only it's your hard drive.
    There were also capacities up to 1TB that cost about $4,000. There were even SLC models (which cost 4x more, approx. $15,000) which are slightly faster still.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind having 1TB of "slow" RAM as my hard drive, but it's just beyond my budget.
    0
  • h8signinginYet there are already drives that outperform these by a large margin available for a while now, like this:http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.ph [...] tate-DriveRead 1.4GB/s, Write 1.2GB/sAt those speeds, it's like writing to RAM, only it's your hard drive.There were also capacities up to 1TB that cost about $4,000. There were even SLC models (which cost 4x more, approx. $15,000) which are slightly faster still.Personally, I wouldn't mind having 1TB of "slow" RAM as my hard drive, but it's just beyond my budget.


    Yup, check it out! =)
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/super-talent-raiddrive,2513.html
    0
  • OK sorry to say i that i do not see how you can compare Super Talent to this one. first its based on an X8 slot as opposed to an x4, but if you want to im sure someone out there will compare the x8 releas of this technolagy to the super talent, second if you read not so closely the super talent uses 4 raided SSD drives whitch means your 3 drives over for comparison, this is after all the performance from a single drive and a single controller and its already half way to the bandwith of the super talent, drop in a second card and you still have room to spare for bandwith, drop in there announced x8 card and you have 4x 740mb read 690mb write VS the 4x 355mb read 215mb write that might be used in the super talent last time i checked 2760mb read was much more then a 1420mb read not to mention that even at those speeds the OCZ flaver still has 1.25 gigs of bandwith open on there x8 card... then again i can be wrong about this entire shpeal...
    0
  • WOW! I kinda want show this to my boss to see if we can upgrade our servers. *sigh* Wish we were one of those give-me-more-performance-at-any-cost kind of companies. Oh well, can't wait for the trickle down to enthusiast level, I'm itching for a new build. :)
    1
  • If money buys happiness then I can't afford it, OCZ is Expensive!
    0
  • comptonStuff like this makes me wish I was involved in an enterprise-class technology environment that could actually benefit from 130,000 IOPS in a package like this. I guess I don't need to ditch my Agility 60, but I like where OCZ is headed.

    I just showed this and the Revo drive to my boss and he is going to get the funds to do some testing.. In our clusters we are mainly limited by drive speed and we have previously tested the Fusion IO Drive Duo but they are just too expensive..
    0
  • eh heh, my predictions were right.
    On this "AsRock Wants the Best Mobo ideas"

    I've posted give an idea of this

    "4. Add SAS ports as they can also run regular SATA as well as them 15K drives. But most might say SSD is faster. If that is why not a SAS SSD?"


    And here it is!

    SAS SSD!
    W00T!

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/mobo-design-contest-x58-p67,11308.html
    0
  • lp231eh heh, my predictions were right.On this "AsRock Wants the Best Mobo ideas"I've posted an idea of this "4. Add SAS ports as they can also run regular SATA as well as them 15K drives. But most might say SSD is faster. If that is why not a SAS SSD?"And here it is! SAS SSD!W00T!http://www.tomshardware.com/news/m [...] 11308.html
    -2
  • Wow... that is FAST!
    0
  • Warning... completely useless post incoming:

    o.O

    Woooooow....Maybe in 4 years the prices will drop enough to make this sort of thing mainstream?
    2
  • Impressive.

    Tom's: any chance of a giveaway contest with these drives? /wishful thinking
    0
  • I would have loved to see Windows boot time numbers with this thing. I'd imagine pairing this thing with a super-fast posting board would make you computer turn on almost instantaneously.
    -1