The journey to Computex was not as easy as traveling to New York, Chicago or Denver, where the last industry events I participated in took place. After finally arriving at the designated hotel in Taipei after a 14 hour plane ride and 1 hour taxi ride, it still was another 45 minutes to the TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall. The Nangang complex is one of the three venues hosting the giant Computex show. With over 130,000 visitors, Computex needs the 100,000 feet of additional show space Nangang hall provides. And I will tell you from first-hand experience, it is a busy place.
While strolling through Nangang’s two packed floors, I was amazed by the sheer number of computing products available today: from custom computer cases, including those stylized to resemble your favorite super hero, to neon lit power supplies or fans offering the best cooling performance. If that cooling was not enough, there were two different booths featuring competitive teams, promoted like famous prize fighters, who used liquid nitrogen to cool their processors, memory and graphics to allow them to run even faster. There were also gaming mice and keyboards promising more features and better response time and, companies like SanDisk® and SuperMicro were showcasing their next generation offerings in high performance server and PC SSD storage solutions.
The Performance Gap
I was starting to notice a theme here, performance. That is system, processor, memory and storage performance. It was also echoed in the offerings of Acer, ASUS and even Microsoft with their 3rd generation Slate tablet offering. What you might not realize is while many of these systems being architected to run faster and more efficiently, or just faster in the case of gamers, a majority of their systems ultimately access applications hosted in an enterprise data center. These same people who buy all this incredible technology will expect, if not demand, a consistent experience from the websites, transaction portals, massive multi-player gaming sites and streaming video sites. This faster client performance demands faster data center performance.
While this type of customer demand is pressuring today’s data centers to improve performance, financial pressures are demanding it be done as cost efficiently as possible. Though traditional HDD technology provides the capacity, it lacks the necessary performance and reduced power, cooling and footprint necessary to protect the bottom line.
Super Fast Flash in the Enterprise
To address this growing performance gap, SanDisk was showcasing our new ultra-low latency solution, the SanDisk ULLtraDIMM™ SSD designed to meet this performance and efficiency requirement. In addition to demonstrating this in the SanDisk Inc. booth, the new ULLtraDIMMs were also being demonstrated in the SuperMicro booth as part of their SuperServer HFT proof of concept. The demo coupled dual Xeon processors with 4GBs of ECC memory and 3.2 TB of ULLtraDIMM storage to provide a server solution with only 5 microseconds of write latency. Absolutely amazing technology!
New Heights in SSD Density
Where the SanDisk ULLtraDIMM provided SuperMicro a cutting edge performance solution, the SanDisk Optimus MAX SSD provided the colossal capacity. SanDisk was afforded the unique opportunity to partner with both Boston Limited and SuperMicro to highlight the new Optimus MAX 4TB SAS SSD as part of the Boston NXStor Enterprise SSD, a pure SSD unified NAS and SAN solution powered by Nexenta’s NexentaStor 4.0 and 24x Optimus MAX SSDs. Optimized for high performance, high availability storage applications, the NXStor Enterprise SSD provides over 86TB of storage, an incredible flash storage capacity point for a 2U appliance!
Take it to the Cloud
The other big story at Computex was the proliferation of cell phones, tablets, phablets, pads, and laptops like devices. So many devices to play media, take pictures, send texts and update social media accounts. With the fragility of these devices as well as the fact they are so easily lost or even stolen, data backup is critical. Service providers, application providers and even device vendors are offer content storage and streaming from that ethereal place call the “Cloud” for a minimal monthly fee or in some cases, nothing at all. For those in the industry, we know that the storage must physically live somewhere and it is not free to the vendor.
Unlike the enterprise, this type of storage is typically written once and read many times. Companies like SanDisk have designed more cost effective flash storage for these types of read intensive environments. At Computex, SanDisk was showcasing new products specifically designed for this cost sensitive environment. The new CloudSpeed Eco SATA SSDs are specifically designed for cloud data center server and storage environments among other things. Optimized for read-intensive application workloads, the CloudSpeed Eco provides predictable high performance, excellent reliability, and low power consumption to help cloud data center companies to provide the best performance within while not breaking the bank.
In a Nutshell
Computex again showed me that storage performance impacts everyone at some level. From enterprise level application users to those going to the cloud, storage performance can fundamentally impact customer satisfaction. As evidenced the sheer number of offerings, Flash storage is where the market is moving across the board. It is critical that companies make the right choice for their flash storage provider and solutions to make sure their customers have a great experience while providing the best return on their IT investment, and given the myriad of product and vendor choices available, it’s critical to offer a compelling value and user experience. You do not always get a second chance where customers are concerned.