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More SSD Partnerships Announced – LSI and Seagate

LSI and Seagate announced a partnership to enter the PCI express-based enterprise Solid-State Storage market. Go to PR Newswire for the press release. By combining LSI PCIe SAS host adapters and Seagate’s recently announced SSD Drive technology the collaboration should establish both companies in the SSD enterprise segment. Although the press release did not specifically mentioning ‘Pulsar’, the only SSD ‘Drive’ technology that Seagate offers is Pulsar. The board-level solution will therefore require, as a minimum, a repackaging of Seagate Pulsar technology from 2.5″ drive form factor to something that would enable a “board-level solution”. I would expect the new form factor to be consistent with Seagate’s high-volume qualification and manufacturing capabilities.

LSI does offer high-performance RAID and non-RAID SAS/SATA host controllers that could aggregate and manage multiple Pulsar technology drives. Last year LSI demonstrated one million IOPs with three 6Gb/s 8-port LSISAS2108’s controllers. This is roughly 42,000 IOPs per SAS port, consistent with the SSD peak performance levels shown under “SATA SSD Product Announcements – Pre/Post CES 2010 “. Since SSDs already protect the data and have a more predictable reliability profile, maybe the most important value of this collaboration would be the aggregation and management of SSDs vs. actual RAID data protection. As noted elsewhere this is a direct challenge to FusionIO. Both this collaboration and FusionIO are addressing the latency gap between the processor complex and storage. In a follow-on post I will add these solutions to Latency – How far have we come in a decade?

As of this post neither LSI nor Seagate are the supplier of the SSD Controller and the Flash Translation Layer (FTL) IP. For Pulsar drives the SSD controller and FTL are 3rd party IP. The question left on the table for either LSI or Seagate – Is this a wait-and-see strategy related to NAND-based SSD technology or is there more to come?

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