Texas Memory kicks off bootable PCIe flash card capability

Texas Memory Systems upgrades its RamSan native PCIe flash cards, allowing them to directly boot server OS systems without disk drives.

Texas Memory Systems Inc. (TMS) announced an upgrade this week that will allow its RamSan PCIe flash cards to natively boot server operating systems.

The native boot feature is delivered through a firmware upgrade to the RamSan-70 single-level cell (SLC) card and the RamSan-80 enterprise multi-level cell (eMLC) card. Native boot will allow most common servers to load OS systems without using traditional disks or associated support hardware with native solid-state PCIe flash card technology.

The native PCIe boot eliminates the need for legacy SAS and SATA interfaces to access flash storage. "As opposed to taking a lot of discreet components, we've built a system where everything is integrated very tightly, and that translates into performance and reliability," said Texas Memory senior analyst Erik Eyberg.

Eyberg said the native boot feature means administrators who planned to use PCIe flash cards can now deploy servers without disk drives or supporting hardware, saving potentially hundreds of dollars per server.

The most likely use case for deploying a bootable PCIe flash card for storage is within high volume server deployments, such as cloud environments with large sets of compute nodes requiring high performance, he said.

Texas Memory's main PCIe flash card competitor is Fusion-io's ioMemory platform, EMC's VFCache and cards offered by LSI Corp., Micron Technology Inc., and OCZ Technology Group Inc.

The bootable OS feature is available now for free to TMS customers and will be included in all future TMS RamSan products for no additional charge, according to the company.

TMS introduced the RamSan line in May 2011. The RamSan-70 offers up to 900 GB of SLC flash storage, while the RamSan-80 includes 450 GB of eMLC flash storage.

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