OCZ said its latest Z-Drive series of PCIe solid-state drives are ready to serve as cache or storage -- or a combination...
of both -- and can be used to increase virtual machine performance.
The company said the 4500 series cards feature OCZ's Windows Accelerator Software, a flash management and caching product for Windows Server applications. The software allows IT managers to use the cards as cache, a local flash storage volume, or a mix of both, according to OCZ. The software automatically moves most-used data to the SSD when it is being use as cache.
The card also offers OCZ's virtualization resource management software, which the company said allows flash resources to allocate to virtual machines in order to accelerate performance.
The San Jose, California-based flash vendor said the new Z-Drive 4500 series uses parent company Toshiba's 19 nanometer MLC NAND, and is available in 800 GB, 1.6 TB and 3.2 TB capacities. The cards are built around LSI Sandforce SF-2582 controllers and offer read speeds of up to 2,900 MBps and writes of up to 2,200 MBps. The cards are also equipped with power-loss protection, 128-bit AES encryption, and TRIM to help maintain flash lifespan. They feature a full-height and half-length design and carry a five-year warranty.
From a price-per-gigabyte perspective, the value of allowing managers to choose how to use the flash is determined by how important it is to have certain data available in high-performance storage, according to Marc Staimer, president and CDS of Dragon Slayer Consulting. Staimer noted that this option to use flash as a volume served as an answer to not having cache pinning.
"If they had cache pinning, they would not need to have this capability. However, functionally it is the same," Staimer said.
He noted that virtualization resource management wasn't a huge advantage, as companies like VMware and Microsoft already offer similar features, although he noted the OCZ offering could include additional quality of service possibilities.