Anobit unites the best of two worlds for faster, cheaper SSDs
June 24, 2010
Solid state drives (SSD) have been around for some time. Unlike other data storage devices, however, their cost per GB seems reluctant to drop quickly enough to make sense economically not just to consumers, but to enterprises as well. Using a recently patented technology, the Israeli startup Anobit has announced an SSD series that makes a huge step toward making SSDs a tangibly faster and more affordable solution for the enterprise world.
With no moving parts, more resistance to physical damage, considerable speed and virtually no noise, flash memories are extremely appealing and convenient for high-speed data storage and transmission. However, when it comes to opening the wallet and making a definite choice, enterprises and consumers alike are often faced with a serious dilemma.
The end users, in fact, need to choose between two types of SSDs. Single-level cell (SLC) SSDs, in which only one bit is stored in each memory cell, offer great speed and endurance, but with high costs and low storage density (meaning bulkier drives). Multi-level cell (MLC) SSDs, in which more than one bit is stored in the same cell, feature higher storage density and lower cost per GB, but also slower speed and a much shorter lifespan. The majority of SSDs that are commercially available today employ MLC technology.
Through a patented technology called Memory Signal Processing, Anobit managed to remove MLC limitations at the NAND level and achieve the low latencies and high endurance typical of single-level cell SSDs, combined with the low cost and high storage density of MLC-based SSDs. Using their technology, the lifespan of multi-level cells increases 20-fold, from the standard 3K read/write cycles to the 50K cycles that are typical of single-level memory cells. The SSD's cost would drop by 75 percent to around $1.60 per GB which, while still not properly "cheap" to an ordinary user, becomes a far more acceptable solution for big datacenters, server infrastructures and complex real-time applications where speed is the number one priority.
The first generation of Anobit Genesis SSDs delivers 180 MB/s sustained write and 220 MB/s sustained read, comfortably ahead of today's hard disk drives. Anobit said the Genesis series SSDs are available for OEM qualification, and will be available with 200GB and 400GB capacities. There is still no word as to whether and when the company plans to further refine its technology in order to launch a product aimed at the consumer market.