August 2, 2014

The solid state of enterprise storage

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The new SSDs feature better power-loss management, and updated data redundancy and security features.Intel has launched a new series of solid-state drives (SSDs) this week that likely are a harbinger of things to come in the land of enterprise storage.

The new products, called the Intel Solid-State Drive 320 Series, are based on the company’s 25-nanometer flash memory format, and they come in capacities that range from 40-gigabytes up to 600 gigabytes. The technology boasts improvements in power-loss management, data security and redundancy features. They are intended both for use across a variety of system formats — including data center servers. Here are some specific specifications that you might find intriguing:

  • The ability to support up to 39,5000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) random reads and 23,000 IOPS random writes (on the highest capacity drives)
  • A doubling of sequential write speeds up to 220 megabytes per second
  • Support for 128-bit advanced encryption standard (AES) capabilities

I’ve been exploring the possibilities of SSDs in the enterprise for some time. (“Will 2011 bring an enterprise SSD adoption breakthrough?”) Although pricing continues to be a sticking point for those who don’t look at the bigger picture, the format is gaining ground as businesses look to compress the amount of space their data center commands and to reduce power consumption. SSDs are interesting because they can do both, which makes them a great option for a company trying to green its data centers. The drives also have no moving parts, which (in theory) makes them more reliable than certain hard disk drives.

This blog post at Storagesearch.com gives you an idea of who’s who in the market, but suffice to say, most major enterprise storage players are experimenting with the format. EMC’s new VNX unified storage products, which shipped in early March, are one example of where the market is headed in 2011. The EMC technology is designed to be 25 percent more efficient than competitive products (which means a company, in theory, should be able to provision 25 percent less storage capacity using VNX). An entry-level edition of the VNX products starts at $10,000.

This TechTarget story of mine from about a year and a half ago provides some more market context. And a report from market research firm Objective Analysis (“Solid State Drives in the Enterprise”) pegs the SSD market at roughly $4 billion by 2015, which is almost 17 times the size of the market in 2009 and about 4.1 million units. The projected annual growth rate is 55 percent, definitely worth your attention.

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