Apple: Fusion Drive
I just watched a full keynote session of Apple. It was interesting. The most amazing part is when Chiller presented the new iMac. Damn, it was stunning. I can see a lot of jaw dropping.
And in fact the most amazing part in iMac is Fusion Drive. It was actually the first time I’ve ever heard about Fusion Drive. Apple states: “Fusion Drive automatically and intelligently manages your data so that frequently used apps, documents, photos, and other files stay on the faster flash storage.” The iMac Fusion Drive section adds, “The file transfers take place in the background, so you won’t even notice. As the system learns how you work, Fusion Drive makes your Mac experience even better.”
Interesting, isn’t it?
But when I googled it, it turns out that’s almost exactly how companies like Nvelo and Intel describe the function of their own caching software. The alternative approach would be to use a hybrid hard drive (HHD)rather than a separate pool of SSD cache storage, but Apple states that the Fusion Drive offers 128GB of Flash memory. Seagate’s current Momentus XT, in contrast, uses just 8GB of flash and only accelerates reads.
Deeper exploration, I found that Apple is actually very good at simplifying technology.
So, is it breakthrough Fusion Drive or just simply SSD caching?
I found this on MacObserver: “To be clear, this is not a caching concept, at least not in the current use of the word. Cache would imply that the data on the SSD is duplicated, and it’s not. If you have a 1TB mechanical drive paired with the 128GB SSD, you have a 1.12 TB storage platform. This truly is the fusion of all the space on two separate disks.”
Intel and the others make this caching too complicated. They found all the ingredients, but they build the wrong dish. That’s it. Apple is actually invented auto-tiering. And this simply method boost up the performance of the iMac dramatically. I’m 100% sure of this.
Below picture show stats from the keynote when they do the benchmarking
In a caching solution, like Intel’s, files live on the hard disk drive and are temporarily mirrored to the SSD cache as needed. In an enterprise auto-tiering situation, and with Fusion Drive, the data is actually moved from one tier to another, rather than only being temporarily cached there. The Mac Observer also reports that there are two separate drives that appear as one logical partition. As a result, if your Hard Drive fails, it could be replaced with a 3rd party drive and reconfigured as a Fusion Drive.
I can’t wait to experience this new technology.