Marvell has just announced two new versions of its DragonFly PCIe board series: the DragonFly NVRAM and the DragonFly NVCACHE. Both boards contain a mixture of PCIe controller, SDRAM, SLC NAND Flash, supercapacitors, and software to create plug-in boards for expanding enterprise-class server storage capabilities.
Both boards interface to the server over a PCIe Gen 2, 8-lane implementation. The goal is to provide the server with consistently high IOPS capability through caching. The DragonFly NVCACHE board includes four SAS SSD interfaces and can control as many as four drives with a combined storage capacity of as much as 1.5 TBytes. The DragonFly NVRAM board is designed to work with external disk storage interfaces.
Using these new PCIe boards, server designers can achieve 4K random read/write performance of 220K IOPS with less than 22 microseconds of latency. The integrated ultracapacitors preserve the cached data long enough to back it up to the on-board NAND Flash memory in the event of a power loss, which is critical for enterprise-class servers.
Here’s an IOPS graph showing you the difference in storage performance over an interval of hours with and without the Marvell DragonFly board.
Note: The SSD write cliff has already occurred before this plot starts so the blue and pink plots initially start at the same IOPS level somewhere to the left of this graph. Then the uncached SSD’s performance drops severely after the drive fills, initiating the write cliff, while the caching and drive-management software provided by the Marvell DragonFly board sustains a high IOPS performance level.
If you go to the Flash Memory Summit taking place in Silicon Valley this week, you should be able to see these boards in action at the Marvell booth.