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Fusion-io unveils 1.6TB ioFX platform for workstations

Creative professionals will see significant improvements to workstation application performance

Flash storage vendor Fusion-io has announced a 1.6TB version of its ioFX workstation acceleration platform, intended for creative professionals.

Four times the size of the original 420 GB version, the high capacity ioFX is ideal for video editing, computer assisted design (CAD), 4K and stereoscopic production, and digital intermediate (DI) finishing, according to Fusion-io.

"If you've seen The Hobbit, they went from 2K to 4K, which is really four times more data, and it's 3D, so that's two movies that you're actually watching. They also did the new high frame rate, so they went from 24 frames per second to 48 frames per second," said Vincent Brisebois, director of visual computing for Fusion-io.

"So it's four times more image, doubled because it's 3D and doubled again because it's double the frame rate. So dealing with that amount of data is really one of the things that we're targeting to help do on the workstation."

Brisebois said that some of the workstations on the market today have almost infinite CPU and GPU power, but they are connected to spinning disks and SSDs that cannot provide the bandwidth to keep all the cores busy.

He said that the Fusion ioFX removes traditional data storage bottlenecks to allow high performance CPUs and GPUs to operate at their full potential.

"That's one thing that's interesting for a workstation vendor is it means that with proper I/O, I will now potentially purchase a bigger workstation."

The new ioFX product, based on the Fusion ioMemory platform, will first appear this summer in HP's Z820, Z620 and Z420 Workstations. However, it will also be available as a stand-alone product, so that professionals can add it to their existing workstations.

Brisebois said that, as well visual effects, ioFX's high capacity allows Fusion-io to expand into other markets where capacity is critical, such as upstream exploration of oil and gas, computer-aided design (CAD) and medical research.

"Size-wise, the big market is really energy, oil and gas," he said. "If you have one workstation on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean, you want to be able to do a lot with it, you don't want to have to have 4 machines.

"This allows us to go up to 6TB inside a single workstation, and that's never before seen. That's a massive amount of capacity in a single system."

List price for the 1.6 TB Fusion ioFX will be announced in summer 2013, but Brisebois said that it would be around $5,995. The 420GB version is already available from Fusion-io and Value Added Resellers around the world for a list price of $1,995.

Fusion-io is mostly targeting workstations that are $8,000 and up, but Brisebois said that in some cases a fairly inexpensive workstation can benefit from the product. In the oil and gas industry, for example, one company added a 420GB ioFX to a $2,000 workstation and got a 9x performance increase.

"It really isn't like a price per Gig thing, it's a price per unit of process that matters, and that's why we've been really working heavily with the software vendors, so that they optimise their applications to really make good use of our not just bandwidth but latency as well," he concluded.


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