After Samsung’s SmartSSD, it’s IBM turn to disclose that it is working on an enterprise storage solution based on its own proprietary technology. It’s called FlashCore Module 2 (or FCM2) and marries some very old concepts (as old as computing itself) with some cutting edge features in an SSD.
The latter comes in the shape of Everspin’s magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM), which provides an inherently non-volatile write cache that is as fast as system memory found in smartphones or computers.
The other significant move is the use of 96-layer QLC rather than 64-layer TLC, which might be a step too far for purists who believe QLC doesn’t offer enough endurance/data retention.
As for the old-turned-new concept, FCM2 compression is similar to Doublespace in MS-DOS or compression software Stacker (remember that?).
Again, here, Big Blue uses technology that comes from its IBM Z mainframe line; line-rate transparent compression allows it to achieve an average compression ratio of about 2.28:1, compared to 2.5:1 for LTO tape and 3:1 for Samsung’s SmartSSD.
IBM will deliver FlashCore modules with capacities ranging from 4.8TB to 38.4TB, with rated compressed capacities between 11TB and 88TB. Given that Micron has announced 178-layer NAND with 200+ layers on the horizon, FC modules with capacities beyond 100TB are within the realms of possibility.
IBM’s FlashSystem storage appliances can pack up to 24 drives in a 2U rack, offering up to 0.76PB native capacity with a throughput of 40GBps. A 42U cabinet should therefore deliver a total capacity of 12.13PB, albeit with an eye watering price tag.