LSI’s new Nytro MegaRAID Acceleration Cards have been anticipated for some time and are now available to LSI channel partners. It’s certainly one of the more intriguing products on the market as it manages to combine LSI’s Raid-On-Chip technology, software, and flash controllers courtesy of LSI SandForce. From top to bottom, its one of those products that would be hard for anyone else to create.
At it’s heart, the Nytro MegaRAID is a caching solution, but it’s combination of hardware and software is a reflection of LSI’s various disciplines. The Nytro MegaRAID begins with the PCIe Gen3 2208 RAID controller, the PowerPC-based dual core processor behind LSI’s new Gen3 products. Sporting a 8087 port for 4 internal connections and 1024MB of DDR3 memory, the Nytro MR is a certainly a full-on RAID card, but one with other tricks up it’s sleeve.
The business end of the Nytro MR is decidedly the two small-form-factor SSDs located to the right of the RoC. The caching SSDs connect to the RoC via SATA, and are unsurprisingly powered by one of LSI’s newer acquisitions, LSI SandForce Flash Storage processors (FSPs) The onboard storage varies by model, with 100GB, 200GB, and 800GB versions available, each wielding eMLC flash for higher endurance.
Utilizing two SSDs means that the caching drives can be operated in RAID 0, RAID 1, or assigned to two different disk volumes independently. Once the lightweight driver is installed, the whole system is transparent and caching of hot data begins immediately. Dramatically higher IOPS and lower latencies are on tap for cached data, significantly reducing or removing IO limitations. Check out the video!
LSI’s CacheCade 2.0 software lets you bring your own SSDs to the party with one of their other RAID cards if you so choose, but getting the whole self-contained solution from LSI does have it’s advantages. It’s simple to install, simple to set up, and perhaps most importantly, the whole package is validated by LSI. For direct attached storage systems in need of a boost in IOPS, it’s hard to find a more straightforward solution, especially from a cost perspective. The Nytro MegaRAID starts at less than $1800, making it a compelling idea for squeezing more performance from existing direct attached storage (DAS).
Pricing and Availability:
- LSI Nytro MegaRAID NMR 8100-4i $1,795
- (4 internal ports; 100GB eMLC flash capacity)
- LSI Nytro MegaRAID NMR 8110-4i $2,795
- (4 internal ports; 200GB eMLC flash capacity)
- LSI Nytro MegaRAID NMR 8120-4i $6,995
- (4 internal ports; 800GB eMLC flash capacity)
The Nytro MegaRAID is an attempt to balance price, performance, and ease of deployment. As such, it’s success in the market is dependent on several factors. LSI has a keen grasp on the market, and caching is red hot right now, so it’s hard to imagine the Nytro MegaRAID not becoming a bottom-line friendly favorite.
The SSD Review is fortunate to have the worlds first LSI Nytro MegaRAID Acceleration Card on hand so stay tuned in upcoming days for the worlds first report on this exciting product!
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