Hard to believe that we spotted OCZ Technology's original Z-Drive at CeBIT 2009. Just over two full years have passed, and already we've seen the 600MB/sec claims offered on that fellow eclipsed by a few successors. Today, the latest in the line is making its debut, with the Z-Drive R4 offering 2,800MB/sec and over 500,000 IOPS with a single SuperScale controller; step up to a dualie, and you'll see 5,600MB/sec transfer rates coupled with 1.2 million input-output operations per second. Not surprisingly, this guy's aimed squarely at enterprise users -- folks who can genuinely take advantage of the speed, and are willing to pay the unpublished rates (yeah, we asked!) that go along with it. It's retaining the PCIe-based form factor, and will be shipped in two standard configurations: a half height version designed for space constrained 1U servers and multi-node rackmount servers, and a full height version. Each of those will be made available with SLC / MLC NAND flash memory, and as with all of OCZ's enterprise kit, customer-specific configurations and functionality are available upon request. Full release is after the break, big spender.
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OCZ Technology Launches Next Generation Z-Drive R4 PCI Express Solid State Storage Systems

The Z-Drive R4 Provides the Ultimate Solution for Big Data and Cloud Computing Applications by Coupling Enterprise-Class Power Fail Protection with Benchmark-Shattering Performance


SAN JOSE, CA-August 2, 2011-OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the release of Z-Drive Revision 4 (R4) PCI Express (PCIe) storage solutions designed to dramatically accelerate enterprise applications and significantly reduce total cost of ownership in the data center. The Z-Drive R4 product line features OCZ's second generation proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0, providing the utmost in performance, flexibility, durability and enhanced reliability features, allowing data centers, for the first time, to rely on a PCIe-based SSD as their primary tier one storage solution.

"Objective Analysis forecasts that the PCIe interface will become dominant in the enterprise SSD market in 2012, with unit shipments greater than the combined shipments of its SAS and Fibre Channel counterparts," said SSD analyst Jim Handy of Objective Analysis. "This is because the PCIe interface puts less drag on the NAND-to-processor communication channel than do standard HDD interfaces. By 2015, Objective Analysis expects well over two million PCIe SSDs to ship, a number larger than all of the SATA SSDs that shipped in 2010."

The OCZ Z-Drive R4 is truly unique, melding hardware and software managed solutions with integrated VCA 2.0. This brings traditional SSD technology into a new realm and enhances performance, deployment capabilities, and endurance. VCA 2.0 is a multifaceted virtualization layer and interfaces with the OCZ SuperScale Storage Controller which combines processing and full DMA (direct memory access) cores, as well as internal PCIe, SATA and SAS physical interfaces. When coupled with VCA 2.0 technology, the SuperScale Controller manages critical internal functions such as OCZ's intelligent Complex Command Queuing Structure (CCQS) with unique queue balancing algorithms. This combination leads to superior performance aggregation and results in significantly higher throughput and reduced burden on the host CPU.

With growing emphasis on cloud computing and big data, enterprises are contending with ever-increasing amounts of data. PCIe-based flash storage systems have the ability to bypass traditional storage overhead, reducing latencies, increasing throughput, and enabling efficient processing of massive quantities of data. A single SuperScale controller equipped Z-Drive R4 is capable of transferring up to 2800 megabytes per second (MB/s) and completing over 500,000 input-output operations per second (IOPS), while a dual SuperScale controller card reaches an astounding 5600 MB/s and 1.2 million IOPS. This level of concentrated performance enables system architects to design more productive infrastructures while lowering costs associated with hardware failure, maintenance, structural footprint, and energy consumption.

"The demand for higher performing PCIe-attached solid state storage continues to grow, and our new Z-Drive R4 represents an increased focus from OCZ to meet the needs of its enterprise and data center clients; it also represents a turning point in the evolution of PCIe SSDs," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. "The Z-Drive R4 provides the best of both worlds for storage architects by merging the industry-leading feature-sets of both the pure hardware and pure software based approaches to data management, while maintaining user-configurable flexibility not found in other devices."
With the unique VCA 2.0-based virtualization layer, the Z-Drive R4 offers an advanced set of capabilities designed to solve problems inherent to pure software solutions. The Z-Drive R4 features power fail protection, differentiating the drive from software-based solutions where in-flight data resides in host DRAM and the flash translation layer, thus resulting in loss of data during power interruption. In addition, VCA enables user-selectable data recovery and non-stop modes with IntegRecover technology ensuring enterprise-class data integrity. Furthermore, the Z-Drive R4 installation in enterprise computing environments is seamless because OCZ VCA 2.0 supports the industry-standard SCSI command set over a PCIe interface. Other features include consolidated SMART support, increased NAND flash life due to OCZ's lower write amplification and TRIM/SCSI Unmap Support.

The Z-Drive R4 is available in two standard configurations: a half height version designed for space constrained 1U servers and multi-node rackmount servers, and a full height version. Both configurations support single-level cell (SLC) or multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory with reduced write amplification to extend drive life more than three times the manufacturer's rating of the NAND. As with all OCZ enterprise products, customer-specific configurations and functionality are available upon request.

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OCZ's Z-Drive R4 PCIe SSD offers 2,800MB/sec, 500,000 IOPS, plenty of thrills