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Data://Disrupted: RAID for SSD? Why not.

“Not only classic SSD configurations benefit from SupremeRAID™. With the SupremeRAID™ SR-1010, LIQID achieves maximum flexibility and even more performance with its Honey Badger NVMe storage.” 

December 15, 2022 (Data://Disrupted) — With RAID, as the name suggests: Redundant Array of Independent Disks, hard disks can be combined into a logical, theoretically fail-safe unit. First of all, it doesn’t matter whether it’s HDDs or SSDs. However, there are differences.

A RAID requires a controller. This can be a piece of hardware or it can be mapped in software. Well-known vendors of RAID controllers are Broadcom and Microsemi (now Microchip). In principle, a RAID can also be built with software. The SAS/SATA hard disk controllers are used for this. However, this is at the expense of the CPU, which gives us the advantage of a HW-based RAID controller: its own CPU for RAID calculations. But that’s only half the battle. More important is how the data is transmitted.

An SSD can also be addressed via SAS/SATA, but that doesn’t make sense. So with SATA z. B. the speed is limited to 6Gbit/s. In order to be able to use the full potential of the fast flash memory, NVMe is better suited, but this requires other drivers and an interface other than SAS/SATA. The number of queues and the possible commands in them is quite large in NVMe with 64k queues and 64k commands per queue. SATA has exactly one queue and allows 32 commands in it. In order to be able to use the entire bandwidth, an SSD should communicate via the appropriate interface. However, the AHCI driver normally included in RAID controllers is written for SAS/SATA and cannot do anything with the U.2 interface that is common in SSDs and the AHCI successor NVMe.

But bandwidth and the number of queues or commands are not the only decisive factors. With SAS or SATA, the data has to pass the entire stack from the CPU to the RAID controller and various other drivers and controllers before it finally arrives on the SSD. SSDs can be addressed directly by the CPU via PCIe. For this, however, they need an NVMe-capable interface – also in the servers.

Graid accelerates SSDs and protects investments

SSD technology has developed so quickly that hardware RAID controllers no longer offer sufficient performance and ports to use the full potential of NVMe SSDs in a RAID. On the other hand, companies have invested heavily in server and storage systems that cannot be replaced overnight. With Graid, companies get the chance to upgrade their HW to exploit the full potential of flash storage. But not only that: Flash media connected via NVMe-oF also benefit from a performance boost.

 With the SupremeRAID™ NVMe RAID controller, Graid Technology Inc. has developed a solution that makes better use of the potential of SSD drives, including in a RAID array. SupremeRAID™ is based on the NVIDIA T1000 or NVIDIA A2000 GPU and is integrated into the operating system as a virtual NVMe controller. All RAID operations are computed by the GPU, which offloads the CPU. All drives used for the RAID are connected directly to the system. This means that significantly better values ​​can be achieved in terms of IOPS, data throughput, latencies and the number of drives that can be used in the RAID – regardless of how the drives are addressed.

GRAID comparison with PCIe Gen4
Comparison of different RAID controllers (Source: ITPT)

With the SupremeRAID™ SR-1010, Graid Technology is already launching its second NVMe-RAID accelerator card. The SupremeRAID™ SR-1010 is based on the NVIDIA A2000 GPU (dual slot) and thus brings even more performance for RAID calculations. And since the architecture essentially corresponds to a software RAID, the limitations of conventional hardware RAID solutions such as additional drivers are also eliminated. The SupremeRAID™ SR-1010 uses PCIe Gen 4.0. There are differences in the underlying operating system. With Linux, the performance is much more impressive than in Windows-based systems:

  • Max IOPS (Linux Raid 10): 19M IOPS Read, 6M IOPS Write
  • max. IOPS (Windows Raid 10): 2M IOPS Read, 1M IOPS Write

Graid Technology provides benchmarks for different providers in various white papers. One of them looks at the performance benchmarks of the SupremeRAID™ SR-1000 NVME-oF RAID card with the Western Digital® OpenFlex Data24 NVMe-oF Storage Platform. Another white paper includes data backup performance improvement with Seagate Exos .

SupremeRAID SR-1000 with PCIe Gen3 interface
SupremeRAID SR-1000 with PCIe Gen3 interface

The cooperation with LIQID shows that not only classic SSD configurations benefit from SupremeRAID™. With the SupremeRAID™ SR-1010, LIQID achieves maximum flexibility and even more performance with its Honey Badger NVMe storage. Users of Honey Badger NVMe flash devices and CDI solutions from LIQID should benefit from more data security – without I/O bottlenecks.

“THIS NEW RELATIONSHIP OFFERS TREMENDOUS BENEFITS FOR BOTH COMPANIES. LIQID IS A MAJOR PLAYER IN THE NVME STORAGE AND CDI MARKET AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING CLOSELY WITH THEM AND THEIR PARTNER COMMUNITY.”

Leander Yu. Founder and CEO of Graid Technology

Sumit Puri, CEO and co-founder of LIQID adds: “Our partnership with Graid Technology helps customers get more value from our LQD-4500 (Honey Badger) NVMe storage devices. The Honey Badger is already the fastest SSD in the world at 4M IOPS, but coupled with SupremeRAID™ SR-1010 it delivers over 5M IOPS with solid RAID 6 protection.”

LIQID is a pioneer in the field of composable infrastructure. Graid Technology develops high-performance RAID cards for NVMe storage media. We got an insight into the roadmap as part of the IT Press Tour.

GRAID roadmap
Roadmap of Graid Technology (Source: ITPT)

Simple calculation

The software license is based on the number of connected SSDs. If SSDs are added later, no hardware replacement is necessary. The existing license can easily be extended. A SupremeRAID™Controller supports up to 32 NVMe drives in RAID.

SupremeRAID™ SR-1010 are included in LIQID’s hardware compatibility list and available through channel partners. In Germany there is the SupremeRAID technology from, among others, PrimeLine Solutions , e.g. B. as a bundle with an NVIDIA GPU. Complete systems are available with Intel or AMD processors.

We spoke to Leander Yu, CEO and Co-Founder of Graid Technology, and Thomas Paquette, SVP and GM Americas & EMEA at Graid Technology as part of the IT Press Tour in Palo Alto in October 2022.

Leander Yu, CEO and Co-Founder, and Thomas Paquette, SVP and GM Americas & EMEA

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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