Introduction and Packaging
Today we take a look at OCZ’s newest offering in next generation Solid State Storage technology, coupled with a completely new take on storage interface technology. When USB3.0 and even SATA 6Gb/sec are not fast enough, just invent something new!Introduction:
OCZ has been cooking up some goodies in their kitchen for the past few months. While the norm for them is a new drive every few months, with the occasional new controller thrown in, this time they are pushing some entirely new tech:
The High Speed Data Link (HSDL) is OCZ’s crack at increased storage transfer rates within the PC chassis.
SATA and SAS are the more common storage interfaces at present.
HSDL promises to push the data transfer rates further and faster than the older tech.
Here we see the interface cable. Those familiar with high end SAS RAID cards may find it familiar – it’s the same type of ‘mini-SAS’ connector. OCZ opted to go with the physical standard, but changed the electricals around considerably. Whatever you do, don’t plug an HSDL device into a SAS RAID card (or vice versa)!
SFF-8087 cables (mini-SAS) contain four Low Voltage Differential data pairs, meaning four channels of data per cable. Where they usually carry SAS or SATA data streams, OCZ had a different purpose in mind – PCIe signals.
Above we can get an idea of where all of this is going. We take a standard PCIe adapter card with a simple buffer chip, and effectively extend four channels of the PCIe bus. This extension passes via the HSDL cable to the device – in this case the OCZ Ibis we are looking at today. Previous RAID enabled SSD’s had to pass through RAID chips via SATA, while the Ibis is able to contain a bona-fide PCIe RAID solution. This is significant as solutions for the former always hit a brick wall on ultimate IOPS performance, as they do not support passing on Comamnd Queueing – vital to high IO’s in a RAID configuration. Another point of interest is that the above configuration is the simplest possible with HSDL, as it’s meant to scale much further:
A larger HSDL interface gangs together four Ibis units via a single card, theoretically quadrupling the available bandwidth.
An even more advanced (presumably next generation) Ibis could accept four ports directly, giving it a full PCIe 16x link.
So, what does all of this look like in reality? Behold:
One 240GB OCZ Ibis prototype. How long can this stay assembled you ask???