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Network Appliance has partnered with Texas Memory Systems to certify
interoperability between its V-series open storage controller and TMS’
RamSan-500 solid-state disk, allowing solution providers to boost customers’
storage performance and simplify data management.

"IT departments are under unprecedented pressure to boost performance
and leverage their existing storage architecture," says Woody Hutsell,
executive vice president at Texas Memory Systems, and SSD
technology is one way customers can achieve those objectives.

Until late in 2007, TMS’ products were
mainly RAM-based, which was expensive, but
provided fast performance, says Hutsell. As flash SSD
technology became more popular in consumer electronics such as the iPhone,
Hutsell says there was a need to integrate flash SSD
technology into hard disk form factors for use in laptops, servers and
enterprise storage hardware.  

Regardless of its affordability and relative speed improvements over
traditional hard disks, Hutsell says flash does have its drawbacks.

“Flash isn’t optimal in many ways. It’s slower than RAM,
its performance can degrade slightly over time, and it’s not easily scalable
for increased capacity. But overall, for customers, it’s much faster than a
hard drive, and if your focus is on performance rather than sheer storage
space, it’s a winner,” Hutsell says.

Despite the solution’s focus on performance above capacity, Hutsell says
that doesn’t exclude the solution from being used by enterprise customers as
well as in the midmarket and among SMBs.

“This is not necessarily just for the midmarket and SMBs—we have a number of
Stock Exchange customers who use the RamSan-500 to run a number of smaller
databases in addition to the major database that’s running their company,” he

And the RamSan-500 can create up to 4 terabytes of capacity, which isn’t
anything to sneeze at, says Hutsell.

TMS, with its RamSan-500, which it introduced
in late 2007, made flash technology cost-effective for the enterprise by
introducing a product that was, in essence, RAID for the flash module, says

Priced to fall between inexpensive RAID and exorbitant RAM-based
SSDs, Hutsell says the RamSan-500 can replace massive RAID installations that
customers build to generate increased performance. A single RamSan-500 can
deliver performance that’s roughly equal to that of a hard-disk-based RAID
system with hundreds of disks, while consuming only 300 watts of power. Hutsell
adds that the RamSan-500 can replace an entire rack of storage hardware in a
form factor that’s only 4U tall, saving customers money on hardware, physical
space and energy costs.

Despite the RamSan-500’s higher price tag, it delivers much greater
performance and much lower energy usage that justifies its cost, he claims.

Ensuring interoperability between the RamSan-500 and the V-Series allows
solution providers to accelerate customers’ applications and extend legacy
storage life cycles, since the products can now integrate seamlessly into
existing SAN (storage area network) and NAS (network-attached
storage) deployments, Hutsell says.

NetApp’s V-Series storage controller and integrated Data ONTAP software
streamline data consolidation and virtualization to further simplify management
and increase capacity utilization. Administrators can use the V-Series to
easily partition networks and storage, including the RamSan-500. The V-Series’
thin-provisioning and deduplication capabilities also further reduce costs,
says Hutsell.

Currently, about 10 joint customers are working with the solution in a pilot
phase, says Hutsell. He says both NetApp and TMS
customers were clamoring for the solution, and he expects a rapid adoption rate
once it is more widely available.

“There are great opportunities for TMS
and NetApp resellers to work either together to bring these solutions to
customers, or for one reseller to bring both solutions to the customer’s
table,” says Hutsell.