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back to article ZeusRAM is STEC's next SSD

STEC is developing a ZeusRAM non-volatile cache product and a PCIe-connected solid state drive (SSD). Zeus is STEC's product line for enterprise-class solid state drives (SSD) and the current ZeusIOPS SSD product is used by EMC, IBM, and many others. Spotted at EMC World, ZeusRAM comes with a standard 8GB of RAM capacity and …

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STEC 'ZeusRAM' -- predictable, but stupid.

DRAM-based SSD has failed in the marketplace, over and over again for almost 30 years.

It has failed because it is a monumentally stupid idea.

Question: Who in their right mind would spend ridiculous sums on a battery-backed DRAM subsystem and then put it a million miles away from the CPU (in latency terms) -- way the hell on the OTHER side of an ANSI T-10 "block device" storage interface? Especially when they can (a) put the same amount of DRAM in the system itself, (b) do it for 1/10th the cost and (c) access that DRAM 100x faster than is possible going through a storage interface?

Answer: No one is going to do this, because it's just as stupid as it sounds. That's why no DRAM-based SSD technology has made even a tick-turd sized impact on the market.

Larger Question: STEC and the rest of the NAND Flash SSD-hypesters keep telling us that all the performance problems with NAND Flash are going to disappear with the next generation of Flash controllers, FTL software, and new NAND parts. If that's true, why the need for STEC, the undisputed Flash SSD market-leader, to now float a DRAM-based SSD?

Answer: Cause the Flash-fix ain't gonna happen. The dirty secret that all the Flash-hypesters are hiding is that NAND flash parts are getting slower as density increases, and there's not a thing that can be done about it.

A couple of weeks ago a big three-letter IT company put out a service alert to their worldwide systems-engineering staff (paraphrasing):

DO NOT PUT (database) JOURNAL RECEIVERS ON FLASH SSD, THIS WILL SLOW DOWN YOUR SYSTEM (compared to spinning disk).

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=%22Journal+receivers+on+solid+state%

Imagine that -- Flash SSD will slow down your database to the point you need to move back to spinning disk!

Meanwhile, a big two-letter IT company published a TPC-C benchmark on Flash SSD in April, and the response time ballooned to 3x - 7x higher than the same system built on spinning disk.

I think this is the part of the "hype-cycle" that Gartner calls "The trough of dissillusionment".

This is going to be a deep trough indeed!!!

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