Marvell Unveils World’s First Caching SSD with Non-Volatile RAM

Marvell Introduces DragonFly Nvdrive Caching PCIe Solution

by Anton Shilov
01/03/2013 | 06:55 PM



Marvell this week announced the availability of the Marvell DragonFly Nvdrive, a turnkey enterprise-class PCIe SSD caching solution with built-in SSD modules that extends the company’s DragonFly NvCache and NVRAM adapter product offerings first announced last August. DragonFly Nvdrive is aimed at large-scale Internet and cloud computing data centers and dramatically scales both bare metal and virtualized server applications.

 “The Nvdrive is a game-changing extension of the popular DragonFly NVRAM and NvCache family. It delivers the same unprecedented application acceleration as the existing NvCache solution, but now seamlessly integrates with onboard SSD modules for plug-and-play ease of use,” said Alan Armstrong, vice president of marketing of Marvell Semiconductor’s storage business group.

Marvell Dragonfly Nvdrive provide up to 1.5TB of useable SSD capacity with the industry’s largest integrated non-volatile DRAM cache and cache mode sustained performance exceeds 200 thousand 4K random IOPS, 3GB/s throughput and sub-10ms average latency. The solution also features enterprise-class embedded write-back cache software; robust data protection, including RAID and HA peer-to-peer synchronous mirroring software; rich command line interface (CLI) and cache policies for granular file/block object level configurations; application-transparent OS filter driver supports all major protocols – SCSI, iSCSI, NFS, FCoE and FCP; hypervisor integration enables virtual machine migration, HA, snapshots, clones and more.

The DragonFly Nvdrive is powered by Marvell’s storage system-on-chip and seamlessly merges large capacity non-volatile DRAM with onboard SSD modules to enable up to 100 times higher performance for random read- and write-heavy application workloads as compared to traditional disk-based solutions. Additionally, automated caching removes the guesswork, maintenance and high capital costs required by manual data tiering approaches. Unique to the industry, DragonFly write back caching is fully powered by ARM-based storage processors and enables storage administrators to configure granular cache policies at either a file or block level.

Data protection and reliability are ensured via intelligent RAID software and peer-to-peer synchronous mirroring to prevent data loss against any failure – server, adapter, SSD module or NAND components. An ultra-thin filter driver residing in Linux or Xen is transparent to applications and supports caching across all storage protocols, including SCSI (local DAS), NFS, iSCSI, FCoE and FCP.

“The innovative application of non-volatile DDR memory, highly optimized caching algorithms, and entry enterprise SSD modules creates a converged solution that is ideally suited for mixed-workload cloud data centers. The Nvdrive raises the bar on affordability and performance, and its unique cache automation and consistent write latency capabilities will be sought after by both OEM and cloud computing customers who require predictable performance at reasonable costs,” added Mr. Armstrong.

The Marvell DragonFly Nvdrive will be sampling later in Q1 with OEM and cloud computing customers. DragonFly Nvdrive is offered at 750GB and 1.5TB capacity points. Pricing starts at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $2995.

Marvell’s partners and OEMs are already expressing strong enthusiasm for the Dragonfly Nvdrive.

“The SanDisk X100 mSATA SSDs provide small form factor, low-latency, high-performance and cost-effective non-volatile storage for the Marvell DragonFly Nvdrive. Optimized for entry level enterprise workloads, the Marvell Nvdrive based on the X100 SSDs provides an ideal solution for customers seeking performance demanding business-critical data center applications,” said Kevin Conley, senior vice president and general manager of client storage solutions at SanDisk.