ALLONE Cloud Disk Drive 101 RAMDisk Review (32GB) – 500K IOPS of DDR3 Storage


While synthetic workloads do a great job of testing the underlying technology and reporting easy to understand results, they aren’t always indicative of how the drive will be used by the end user. Workloads that simulate enterprise environments try to bridge that gap without being overly complex.


The database profile is 8K transfers, and 67% percent of operations are reads.

At low queue depths, the ALLONE does a terrific job running our database profile.  Unfortunately, the superior high queue depth read performance allows the competition to pull ahead at the end.


The fileserver profile is based on an 80% read/20% write mix. Its made up of blocksizes from 512 to 64K, each making up a different percentage of the access pattern. The pattern is: 512 bytes=10%, 1k=5%,2k=5%, 4k=60%, 8k=2%, 16k=4%, 32k=4%, 64k=10%.

Not much changed in our fileserver testing.  The ALLONE came out strong in the low queue depths, but didn’t have the read performance to maintain it.


The webserver profile is similar to the fileserver profile, but has some additional 128K and 512K accesses thrown in for good measure. Additionally, the profile is 100% read.

This is probably the worse case scenario for the ALLONE, lots of random and sequential reads.  It was able to keep a lead for the first few queue depths, but eventually got left in the dust.


After all of the testing, we came away with a couple conclusions that may seem obvious, but we had to do the testing to prove it.  The first is that the ALLONE Cloud Disk Drive 101 is not an SSD.  Other than the fact that you can write to and read from it, it shares very few similarities.  In some ways, that’s a good things.


We love the fact that this device has unlimited write endurance.  As a caching solution, the ALLONE should be bulletproof against any kind of workload.  But, that excitement is tempered by the use of more commercial components.

We were impressed by the symmetric performance and how previous operation had zero affect on the current workload.  It seriously drives enterprise SSD reviewers up a wall trying to get SSDs to enter and stay in steady-state.  With the ALLONE, that isn’t a factor in any way.

The real issue is that the Cloud Disk Drive 101 is a niche product.  At 32GB, it is limited in size, which will limit its applications.  It performs well in certain areas, but gets thrashed in other areas by PCIe SSDs.  ALLONE has put all of its efforts in touting the drive’s 512B performance, but we aren’t sure how many applications will take full advantage of that.


ALLONE makes it very clear that they are going up against Fusion-io.  When they aren’t calling them out by name in their comparison documents, they are referring to them as Tier-F.  This also helps explain the pricing.  At $15K, the price is going to be a hard pill to swallow for most, but when compared to what Fusion-io charges, that isn’t exactly out of the question.  We have to believe that this is a product that was better suited for 3 years ago.  With NVMe hitting servers as we speak, the gap in performance is closing fast.  In fact, the Intel SSD DC P3700, especially the 1.6TB model, would have beat the ALLONE in almost every way at a third of the price.

After talking with ALLONE, we got a better understanding to where this product belongs.  They want to augment their customer’s tiered storage solution.  They want their product to get in between typical PCIe SSDs and DRAM.  They want to accelerate small block transfers using as little power as possible.   We can understand that.  Their challenge may be convincing customers that their storage rack needs another level of storage.

It’s not all doom and gloom.  If ALLONE can make a few evolutionary changes, such as a PCIe x4 Gen3 interface, more DIMM slots and DDR4 support, that can move that curve back in their favor.  As it stands, this product is for people that need unlimited write endurance for 512B workloads and are willing to pay for it.

User Rating: 5 ( 1 votes)


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    4? Random Reads @ QD1 reached 60KIOPS or am i starting to grow old ‘n’ losing my vision ?

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    How much for this?

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    An overpriced solution in search of a problem. At 32GB about the only thing I could see it being used for is a high speed scratch area for database queries. Fortunately, I could just use a regular RAMdisk for that at almost no cost.
    I expect to see these featured at in the near future………

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    Read the results and realize where the limit is.
    Most SSD are IOps limited, this thing is bandwidth limited. At QD32, it does not matter if you are doing 512B, 4k or 128k, multiply the Iops by the payload and you get the same limit (~600MB/s). They are limited by their PCIe gen1 x4.
    Their RAM should be good for 32bits*4*1600Mbps=25.6GB/s.

    If they can increase their RAM support (to 16GB or more SODIMM), have equivalent MicroSD (bunch of 16GB) and raise their bus to gen3 (4GB/s) or even better widen it to x8 or x16, then they may have an interesting product.

    Until then, it will be *much* cheaper (and with better perfs) to dedicate some RAM for the same task…

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      I have no idea what this product is supposed to be used for. It’s pci-e 1x, no clue why, limits the bandwidth as you said. I’d like to see this with gen3 pciE and either a x8 or even x16 slot. If you need some low latency transactional ram, you purchase more ram. 16GB sticks are around 170 bucks for 1866mhz DDR3 ECC RAM, and around the 220 range for DDR4 2133. I can purchase a hell of a lot of ram before I’d use something like this, and even have so much money left over that I could put battery backups on top of my battery backups ensuring that the server doesn’t go down.

      Additionally, this product seems about as enterprise grade as using a Samsung 840 Evo for your high-write database server. The fact that it uses 1600mhz commodity RAM with no ECC, commodity grade SD cards (That confuses me the most) and is priced at $6k mean that nobody will use this ever unless these are addressed.

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    Please stop making statements like “this is not an SSD”. It is! SSDs cover ALL solid state technologies for storage. While SSDs have become synonymous with flash storage in recent years, the two terms are not interchangeable. Enterprise storage companies rarely use the term SSD because it is non-descriptive of the underlying technology. They prefer to use terms like Enterprise Flash Drive (EFD).

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    With the performance of this, you’re better off getting 2011 platform (which supports 64GB of ram) ram disk software and a decent UPS. Its gonna end up much cheaper and faster.

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      with the storage you can install windows on it, while a ramdrive can’t do that ..;)

      Still too much, if it was like 150-200 euros I might consider it

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    LOL 15K with that money I’d get ultradimm, SSD on ram slots.

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    So enterprise is willing to pay 15k USD for this, but apparently not the significantly less it’d cost to get 1TB of RAM in a machine and use a chunk of it as a RAM drive… Yeah right.

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    They have approximately the right market, but they have over priced an under-performing product. I agree with others that it needs at least PCIe 2.0 x8 and ECC DRAM to be worth half the asking price. But, I found this review because I do have need of a small, fast, infinite write, non-volatile storage for my mail server message queues. So, keep at it.

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    What a fucking ripoff!!!

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    What I want is a cheap unpopulated PCI card that will take all my old 256M, 512M, and 1GB DDR ram sticks and let me use it as a ramdisk for my swap file and temp folders. It’s not worth the effort to sell them and there are only so many keychains I need.

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