DDR SSD claims a massive 300,000 IOPS

Palo Alto (CA) – There is a new company that offers a solid state drive solution that targets all those applications that need the highest IOPS performance available. DDRdrive claims that its DDRdrive X1 can hit 300,000 IOPS, the highest performance we are aware of in this segment, and even more if DDRdrives are daisy-chained.

If the new DDRdrive can deliver on the promises of its manufacturer, it may have the potential to grow into a contender no one saw coming. It isn’t the typical SSD you would buy for your home PC, but if you are looking for massive IOPS performance without spending half a million dollars, for example to accelerate a certain portion of a database, this may be an interesting product to look to.

The DDRdrive X1 is a PCIe Gen 1-based hybrid SSD, combining 4 GB of DDR memory and 4 GB of NAND flash memory. The DRAM portion is used to take advantage of speed when needed while the NAND part is used for backups. The manufacturer claims that a full 4 GB backup can be performed in about 60 seconds and the drive can scale 1:1 with multiple drives in operation. So, for example, you could use eight cards for a 32 GB capacity and still do a 32 GB backup in 60 seconds, which is an amazing feat.

We were told by DDRdrive CTO Christopher George that the drive was designed with a maximum IOPS performance in mind. A single drive can hit 300,000 IOPS (512B and read; 200,000 IOPS write; 50,000 IOPS in 4K read and 35,000 IOPS in 4K write), which, if true, not only outpaces Intel’s fastest SSDs (35,000 IOPS in 4K read and 3300 IOPS in 4K write), but also Fusion IO’s enterprise drives, which are estimated at 200,000 IOPS (512B read) and consumer SSDs, which are rated at about 100,000 IOPS (512B read). And those 300,000 IOPS can be achieved with a maximum power draw of 9.91 watts.

Since the X1 uses a PCIe Gen 1 interface the actual read/write data transfer rate isn’t as spectacular – about 215 MB/s in reads and 155 MB/s in writes. So you don’t want to use it as a generic SSD, but, for example for that specific portion of an application that can use that kind of performance. The index of a database for example. A move to PCIe 2 could alleviate the data transfer issue, but George told us that he did not want to develop a generic and universal device, but a targeted solution. Plus, PCIe 2 would not have been a feasible solution in terms of power consumption at this time, he said.

And, if used for that targeted solution, there is much more IOPS performance available than can be achieved with today’s computer hardware. He mentioned that the possible IOPS are purely limited by the processors driving the applications. A current 4 GHz CPU would be necessary to test the limits of a single DDRdrive X1, he said, while two drives can “take down” any CPU available today, George said. He did not elaborate the highest IOPS achieved in his lab, but said that “more than 500,000 IOPS” are possible.  Using Microsoft Windows built-in RAID support, DDRdrive X1 devices can be spanned (for capacity), striped (performance), mirrored (redundancy), and RAID-5 configured.

The 4 GB/4GB DDRdrive X1 sells for $1495.

Ryan Shrout has reviewed the drive already. You can read the review here.