STEC may not have been quite ready to reveal their next-generation ZeusRAM solid-state disk (SSD), but they are demonstrating it anyway at EMC World in Boston this week. The ZeusRAM is a fundamentally different animal from the existing ZeusIOPS drive in one critical way: Rather than using flash memory for primary data storage, the ZeusRAM uses DRAM. This improves reliability and longevity and ought to raise the bar on performance as well.
The ZeusRAM is small (just 8 GB) but STEC claims massive performance: 80,000 IOPS for both read and write (versus 80,000 read and 45,000 write for the 6 Gb SAS ZeusIOPS) and 500 MB/s sustained read and write (versus 350 and 300 for the ZeusIOPS). These numbers are well beyond the capabilities of whole shelves of traditional hard disk drives.
Should it lose power, the ZeusRAM will de-stage its content to flash RAM using power stored on internal super-capacitors. This is a major differentiator from in-system RAM disks which require whole-system battery backup and software to de-stage.
STEC has not announced pricing or availability information for the ZeusRAM drive at this point. We noted much interest in the drive from EMC staff at the EMC World show, and would not be surprised to see the ZeusRAM show up in a future Symmetrix or CLARiiON.
Check out the DDRdrive X1 a PCI Express based DRAM/Flash solution that has been shipping for over a year at http://www.ddrdrive.com.