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A Modern Adaptec Is Born – FST Blog

(FileStorage.Blogspot.com, Philippe Nicolas, October 11, 2022)

” Graid Technology seems to be building a modern Adaptec, the king of RAID for many years.”

 Graid Tech Logo

Graid Technology, an emerging leader in data protection for production data, has participated for the very first time to The IT Press Tour this week in California. This session was the right opportunity to learn more about the company, the team, the ambitious, the company strategy and products.

The company has today around 45 employees and raised so far $18 million and they plan a new round in the next couple of months to sustain their growth as the demand took off and has accelerated during the last few quarters. It was expected but the pace is rapid as they have today 40 partnerships since the product introduction. They even expect some investments from some key partners, let’s say storage and servers vendors. Definitely their approach fills a real demand on the market. The HQ is in Santa Clara with R&D site in Taipei, Taiwan.

So what do they do exactly? Graid designs, develops and builds a GPU-based RAID PCIe card to provide data protection for active data, I mean production data. It’s a radical change that illustrates once again the limitations of RAID, we now that some RAID assembly level presents some disadvantages, capacities of drives also triggered a window of exposure during rebuild time, this is why the industry introduced double parity. Large volume of data and large data sets also have boosted the commercial development and presence of erasure coding with more checksums or parities segments based on Reed-Solomon or derivatives. It was and still largely visible in object storage segment for more than a decade. We all remember that Cleversafe introduced this approach in 2005 with some software implementation to support dispersed storage infrastructure. Other limitations beyond the data integrity exposure and potential lost are performance with throughput and IOPS especially with SSD and in particular with NVMe connectivity largely adopted today. And this challenge will be even exposed with PCIe Gen 5 coming.

The Solution: SupremeRAID Promotional Image

The Graid SupremeRAID™️ card exist in Gen 3 and Gen 4 today and supports up to 32 SSDs per card and the team plans to add configuration with 2 and more cards, but 32 is already a good number for servers. Leander Yu, CEO and founder of the company, explained during the session that 32 is a software limitation. Beyond NVMe and NVMeoF support, the card support also SAS and SATA connections but no plan for NVMe-based HDD. Each card supports 4 disk groups and 8 NVMe volumes can be used configured per disk group for a total of 32 volumes globally.

Composable ready, Graid awaits the arrival of the CXL protocol to exploit all the resources of the PCI 5.0 interface.

MSRP price is $3995 for the SupremeRAID Gen 4 card – the 1010 model – for 32 SSDs and the Gen 3 – model 1010 – in similar configuration costs $2500. Pricing is built for 4, 8, 16 and 32 SSDs configurations.

Leander has insisted that the solution is a software solution coupled with a card for processing power. This card embeds a GPU plus AI capabilities to boost protection algorithm in the write phase. For reads, the card is not involved as reads come from SSDs directly after placement and assembly information are given to drives by the card itself. Users have to install a small agent on server to expose to OS the card and drives.

For uses cases, the Graid solution seems to be adequate for high-demanding sustained workloads such AI training, 4k video surveillance, automotive, aviation and drone, NAS and SAN systems and databases.

I mentioned partnerships, the product is sold via distributors worldwide such Arrow. On this side the company has clearly accelerated as the SupremeRAID is a perfect oem candidate. Liqid will validate soon the card and a significant deal should be announced with Supermicro in a few weeks. It is of course validated with Kioxia, Seagate, Western Digital, Gigabyte and AIC. So far, Graid don’t work with hyperscalers.

The product is offered as Enterprise Edition today with a coming 1.3 release with dual card support for HA and 1023 virtual drives and the team is thinking about DataCenter edition in 2023, with some features differences. Erasure Coding will appear next year, VMware and Kubernetes support an PCIe Gen 5 as well. We see also thin provisioning, dedup, encryption and compression coming later.

 Graid Roadmap as of October 2022

In terms of competition, they are way back in terms of throughput and IOPS results. At the same time with a rapid growth, Graid appears to be a good prey for many vendors, servers for sure but also connectivity or infrastructure players such Intel, Broadcom or Marvell, many of them are direct competitors or even Nvidia.

 Graid Competition Chart

Graid gives me the feeling that they are building a modern Adaptec as this company was the king of RAID for many many years. Will the market let Graid expand its business or will one player understand that something big is coming and decide to make an offer, we’ll see.


About Graid Technology

Chosen by CRN as one of the Ten Hottest Data Storage Startups of 2021 and a 2022 Emerging Vendor in the Storage & Disaster Recovery category, Graid Technology Inc. has developed the world’s first NVMe and NVMeoF RAID card to unlock the full potential of enterprise SSD performance. We’re headquartered in Silicon Valley, with an R&D center in Taiwan, and are led by a dedicated team of experts with decades of experience in the SDS, ASIC and storage industries. Graid Technology Inc. is redefining performance standards for enterprise data protection: a single SupremeRAID™ card delivers 19 million IOPS and 110GB/s of throughput. For more information on Graid Technology Inc., connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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