Two new vendor initiatives are attempting to strengthen and enhance the business case for solid-state storage and the opportunities available to the channel. Texas Memory Systems has set new SPC-1 records for flash storage performance and value, and Dataram Corporation ( has released a tech alert outlining the business benefits of solid-state storage appliances. Together, they make a compelling case for at least exploring alternatives to traditional disk solutions.

Texas Memory Systems has submitted a record setting SPC-1 result for its RamSan-620 Flash Solid State Disk (SSD), producing 254,994.21 SPC-1 IOPS with average response time of 0.72 milliseconds from a 2U rack-mount chassis. The company says the cost of $1.13 per SPC-1 IOPS is better than any competing RAID or flash solution.

The SPC-1 benchmark for storage subsystems simulates the demands placed upon storage in a typical server-class computer system. The RamSan-620 is a general-purpose storage solution, with each unit able to support two to eight Fibre Channel or InfiniBand ports.

The results are significant to the channel because they help debunk a number of SSD myths, says Woody Hutsell, President of Texas Memory Systems. There a number of myths channel sales people are encountering when trying to sell SSD, including flash is too slow or it’s really intended for consumers and small business.

"One of the conclusions you can draw from this test is that flash is actually quite a capable solution." In fact it has the third or fourth highest price/performance score for any storage device tested by the Storage Council, he said.

The bottom line, he said, is that flash is fast enough for the enterprise and "it is the best value when it comes to price performance." And while still a bit pricey for the non-enterprise market at $280,000 for a 5Tb configuration, Hutsell says they also offer a solution suited for smaller businesses that starts at under $10,000.

With the channel accounting for 80-90 percent of the company’s sales, he says Texas Memory Systems’ business has been good, with "dramatic growth. The volume of solid-based disk we’re shipping has been increasing greatly for the last year."

Rather than debunking myths, Dataram is more interested in educating the channel and market about the SSD market, says Chief Technologist Jason Caulkins.

"Whatever your impression of solid state is, there are new things out there every day. Not only is solid state a benefit to partners, but there are lots of ways to attain those benefits."

The market is being flooded with new vendors, new products and new announcements about caching and tiering. "From a customer perspective, it’s kind of a confusing space." As a month ago, there were more than 155 SSD vendors in the market touting things like superior price performance, ease of use and dynamic management.

Caulkins adds that fortunately there are channel partners who are really good in this market and can help provide the answers. Dataram is 100-percent channel focused, typically with midsize partners generating $100 million in annual revenues. He said partners are looking to SSD vendors like Dataram to differentiate themselves from their peers and for the opportunity open up a new dialogue with their customers. "We think that’s an important conversation channel partners can have with customer."

Like Texas Memory Systems, Dataram says the channel conversation is about how solid-state storage is increasingly becoming an attractive alternative to traditional hard disk drive arrays. SSD technology can help companies improve application performance, leverage existing IT investments and cut costs, powerful motivators in today’s economy.

"Solid-state storage appliances offer customers significant benefits due to their ability to seamlessly integrate into existing SANs, dynamically cache I/O-intensive data, dramatically accelerate application performance and provide an immediate return on investment, said Caulkins. For instance, application performance can be improved by as much as 30x, and total cost of ownership can be cut by more than 50 percent on average.