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Most Flash Vendors Significantly Overcharge Customers To Meet Capacity Claims, Say Experts At Skyera

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to fulfill the usable capacity thresholds promised in their products' spec sheets and marketing materials, many suppliers of enterprise SSD arrays need to build in a remarkably high amount of overprovisioned flash memory, the cost of which is paid unknowingly by the customer, say experts at Skyera Inc., founded by an executive and engineering team with unsurpassed backgrounds in the solid-state, storage and networking arenas.


Vendors use overprovisioning to increase the life expectancy and write performance of SSDs by including additional flash in their devices with the extra sitting in reserve to compensate for when the memory degrades over time.  But even with the deployment of further data optimization techniques, most flash array vendors are still overcompensating by nearly a third of their advertised capacity because their hardware and software is simply not optimized for flash storage.

According to analyst estimates, almost every enterprise SSD that is purchased for the data center comes with 28 percent or more actual memory than what is made available to the servers and applications accessing it.  The cost of this overprovisioned flash is then passed onto the customer as a hidden charge, helping to explain why all flash-based SSDs are often viewed as prohibitively expensive.

"Significant overprovisioning of SSD arrays artificially drives up the price of flash-based storage," said Radoslav Danilak, CEO and co-founder of Skyera.  "Paying for an extra 28 percent memory – or more – that is not being sufficiently used because of a vendor's ineffective design is just plain wrong.  Flash arrays can be price-competitive with enterprise disk-based systems while enjoying the performance advantages that the technology provides.  When data is intelligently written to the flash so that the media doesn't degrade as much in the first place, overprovisioning can be kept to a minimum, thus eliminating the need to overcharge the customer."

Using an advanced understanding of NAND memory and controller design, Skyera manipulates the way it writes data to minimize degradation of the flash in order to increase durability without increasing costs.  Skyera uses less than 10 percent of overprovisioned capacity combined with hardware-based deduplication, compression and flash-optimized RAID-SE to deliver the best performance and life expectancy per flash cell at the most cost-effective capacity per dollar. 

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