Intel and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies are teaming up to produce solid-state drives for servers, workstations and storage systems. The partners plan to deliver enterprise-class products equipped with Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Fibre Channel (FC) interfaces.
The jointly produced offerings will be exclusively sold and supported by Hitachi GST, beginning in early 2010.
"Intel and Hitachi GST share a common objective in delivering SAS/FC products based on solid-state technology that will help enterprise customers meet the skyrocketing demands for performance while reducing space, power and cooling costs," said Randy Wilhelm, the general manager of Intel's NAND Solutions Group. "The new solid-state drives for the enterprise include a number of architectural breakthroughs and improved performance and energy-usage models that will change enterprise computing."
An Exciting Innovation
Though the enterprise market for solid-state drives is still in its infancy, SSD technology is poised to become the most exciting innovation in system and storage design in more than a decade, said Sun Microsystems Executive Vice President John Fowler.
"This technology will completely change how server and storage infrastructure is designed and deployed in enterprise centers," Fowler said earlier this year. "By mid-2009, it will be in the majority of servers and deliver more capacity than DRAM and far greater overall system performance and energy efficiency."
When stored on solid-state drives, enterprise data becomes immediately available and therefore can be processed more efficiently. Intel and Hitachi expect their forthcoming SSD products to be used in storage applications that require extremely high input/output operations per second (IOPS) performance.
SSD technology also delivers improvements in system utilization and scalability that promise to enable enterprises to reduce server and storage sprawl in data centers. Even better, deployment within data centers promises to deliver substantial savings on energy costs compared to traditional FC hard drives.
"We understand the needs of today's enterprise customers and are committed to delivering breakthrough products that increase their data-center performance and reduce total cost of ownership," said Shinjiro Iwata, an executive vice president at Hitachi GST.
The memory chips for the partners' forthcoming SSD products will be produced by IM Flash Technologies -- a joint venture between Intel and Micron Technology that is gearing up to produce 32Gbit flash memory chips.
Rival Samsung Electronics is looking to gain immediate market traction by launching its own offerings for enterprise applications. The semiconductor maker announced late last month that it is already mass-producing 25GB and 50GB SSDs for performance-optimized server applications such as video on demand, Web serving, and online transaction processing.
Among other things, Samsung is looking to attract the attention of data-center managers looking to go green. The company's enterprise-class SSDs consume just 1.25 watts of power in active mode and 0.3 watts when idle, which Samsung notes is less than 25 percent of the power consumption demanded by a conventional 2.5-inch 15K SAS hard disk drive.
Samsung also says that servers equipped with its latest SSDs for enterprise applications will place a far lower heat load on data-center air conditioning than servers featuring high-rpm HDD devices.