HP adding solid-state memory to its servers

Fusion-io's ioDrive NAND product to go into HP server PCI-express slots, adding up to 640GB of flash storage on a single card

Hewlett-Packard and startup Fusion-io Wednesday announced plans to jointly enable the latter's solid-state memory technology to run across HP server products.

The joint effort was announced at the HP Technology Forum & Expo 2008 in Las Vegas. The collaboration will allow a version of Fusion-io's ioDrive NAND product to be plugged into HP server PCI-express slots to add as much as 640GB of flash storage capacity on a single card, said David Flynn, CTO of Salt Lake City-based Fusion-io. He said the capacity will be increased to 1.28TB in 2009,

Flynn declined to disclose pricing plans, product availability dates or packaging information for the joint offering.

Fusion's ioDrive was introduced less than a year ago at the DEMOFall conference. The NAND flash-based storage product offers hundreds of thousands of I/Os per second at very low latency to enhance the speed and performance of read- and write-intensive I/O applications running on servers, said Flynn.

Flynn said adapting Fusion-io's technology to work with the HP technology will allow users to utilize a flash-based storage repository that holds "active" data requiring constant access and changes. HP servers have up to 10 PCI slots on the back of the machines, he noted.

"HP has seen that [solid-state storage] gives them something to use in those PCI Express slots that can actually pump up the performance of applications," said Flynn. He contended that the Fusion-io flash storage technology can boost performance by as much as 40% for some applications.

The race by system vendors to add solid-state technology to servers is heating up. Sun Microsystems last month confirmed plans to support the diskless technology across its server and storage line by the end of 2008. Google also got into the act, announcing last month plans to roll out solid state disk drives from Intel in servers located at its North American headquarters.

To date, however, corporate customers have downplayed their interest in utilizing solid-state storage within IT enterprise environments. They have said they are waiting until prices for the technology drops and durability concerns are sufficiently answered.

Last month, EMC acknowledged that the price of solid state technology must drop before it can be widely accepted by corporate users. The company had announced in January plans to offer solid state technology as an option for its high-end Symmetrix storage arrays.

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Brian Fonseca

Computerworld

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