Skyera: 136TB of SSD in 1U for under $3/GB native

Skyera: 136TB of SSD in 1U for under $3/GB native

On October 29, 2014 Skyera Inc. introduced its second-generation solid-state array, the Skyera skyHawk FS. The first generation skyHawk had 44TB of usable flash capacity inside 1U. This new generation, skyHawk FS, now has 136TB (raw) with more performance.

“The company claims a 136TB Violin Memory configuration would take up 10 times the rackspace of SkyHawk FS and need 16 times as much power. An similarly sized Pure Storage array would need 29 times the rackspace and need 14 times the power draw. EMC’s XtremIO does even worse — 78 times the rackspace and 36 times the power.” – The Register

The entire Skyera product lines claim to offer hardware based de-duplication and compression, though I could not find this in any of their official documentation. Skyera also claims the skyHawkFS takes up to 99 percent less space and consumes as much as 97 percent less power at the same price points to traditional enterprise disk storage systems.

The new system has a 300W nominal power draw, one controller and power supplies, and scales to 4PB in a 40U rack. For performance they claim to offer: up to 2.4GB per second bandwidth for 400K IOPS at Microsecond I/O latency. The skyHawk FS can have up to 136TB raw and 100TB usable storage capacity in 1U before compression. They also support NFS v3 and iSCSI natively to make this a truly unified storage solution. This is through its Skyera Solid State enterprise Operating System (SeOS).

With all these incredible features you would wonder why the skyHawk FS isn’t in every data center in the world. Well there has been some short comings in their architecture, which is only natural for a start up.

The skyHawk FS does offer dual power supplies but remains a single controller platform. They announced a new box called, skyEagle, (now expected 2015) that will introduce dual controllers and densities up to 500TB in 1U. Until then they don’t have any HA within their AFA and each array is managed independently. On top of that Skyera currently lacks asynchronous replication to protect your data in case that single controller goes bottom up. All of their drives are cMLC so they suffer from a lot of the same issues as PURE and Nimble in that area with garbage collection. They also lack the ability to scale up or out, so adding these arrays are just creating islands of storage in your environment. Though they offer NFSv3 and ISCSI, there is currently no Fibre Channel connectivity to-date. Their hardware based de-duplication and compression is not done in-line so it will most likely cause inconsistent performance especially when it comes to garbage collection time.

Architecture is key in AFA offerings. All the speeds and feeds mean nothing if the system isn’t highly available and designed for the future. Though I will say Skyera is very engineering focused and currently 90% of its 40 employees are in engineering. they offer a pretty cool product which offers a lot of potential in the future if they can get the financial backing to do so. I expect most of these problems to be addressed in their future releases. I look forward to seeing what changes are made in their upcoming skyEagle line.

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