Q

How PCIe solid-state cards differ from vendor to vendor

Dennis Martin of Demartek discusses differences between various PCIe solid-state cards available today in this Expert Answer.

For a while there was only one vendor selling solid-state storage on a PCIe card, and now there are a bunch of them. What differentiates these solid-state cards, and is caching the best use of server-side flash?

You are right, there are a lot of PCIe flash vendors including Fusion-IO, Micron Technology, LSIVirident Systems, Violin Memory, sTec, OCZ Technology, SanDisk, IBM/Texas Memory Systems and Smart Modular Technologies.

They all use different techniques to manage the memory -- some use the RAM to manage it, others manage it on the solid-state card. There are lots of different form factors, lots of different price points and different capacities. Just like with a lot of other technologies, there's not usually just one that satisfies every need.

I think caching is a very good use for server-side flash. The nice thing about caching is that you can speed up apps with a relatively small amount of flash.

This was first published in September 2013

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