Making our rounds at Storage Visions 2015, the SATA-IO booth really caught our eye. SATA-IO is and independent organization which provides guidance and support for implementing the SATA specification. At the booth they are demonstrating SATA Express (SATAe) with some 4TB WD hybrid prototype drives as well as an M.2 SSD connected to an M.2 to SATAe adapter.
SATAe was created by SATA-IO in 2011 to enable a path beyond SATA 6Gb/s for PCIe-based client SSDs. Along with the development of NVMe, it can allow for speeds of up to 4GB/s! The physical connector was designed with legacy support for SATA devices as well.
In the below system are two prototype II 4TB hybrid drives. Inside each is a 128GB of NAND flash memory that is detected as a separate device within the system. This type of hybrid drive would be perfect in an all-in-one type system, where the user needs high amounts of storage for content as well as high speed performance for the OS.
As you can see on the demonstration, the drives are able to reach 1GB/s in RAID 0 consistently while a video was being played off of the platters. This is possible due to the SATA Express standard allowing for full duplex performance, which means that the drive can read and write data at the same time.
Furthermore, there is another prototype in which WD is utilizing the 128GB flash memory as a large cache for the drive, called prototype I. This prototype is aimed towards gamers with large game libraries that want the speed boost of SSD storage, but need large capacity to store their games.
Next up, using an ASUS x99 platform, they are also demonstrating the speeds of a single PCIe 2.0 x2 SATAe connection. For the device, they are utilizing a 64GB SanDisk U110 M.2 SSD in an Asus adaptor. Speeds are able to reach near 750MB/s!
And finally, they have on display some of the many drive form factors that utilize the standards created by them. There was also a Tempo SSD Pro Plus by Sonnet Technologies, which can combine two 2.5” SATA 6Gb/s drives, and gives users two eSATA ports to connect to multi-drive external storage systems. This device supports both OS X and Windows RAID features.
Stay tuned for more as we peruse through the exhibition floor here at Storage Visions 2015!