Hitachi to ship SSDs with high-end arrays

The storage vendor is expected to use Intel's X25-E solid-state disk drives

HDS Monday announced it will offer flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs) for its high-end Hitachi Universal Storage Platform V and VM storage arrays.

Roberto Basilio, vice president of storage platforms product management for HDS, said that the SSDs -- expected to become available near the end of January -- will offer hundreds of times the I/O per second (IOPS) current Fibre Channel hard drive technology does. Basilio added that SSDs are likely to become available in HDS' midrange storage array systems in the future.

"One array of solid state disks -- say eight drives -- can give you 40,000 IOPS. To do the same with Fibre Channel disks would require hundreds of drives," he said. Hitachi said pricing for the drives is not yet available, but SSDs are typically up to 40 times more expensive than enterprise-class hard drives. According to IDC, enterprise-class spinning disks cost about 90 cents per gigabyte while enterprise-class SSDs are US$35 to $40 per gigabyte.

"Near term, the high cost of SSDs as compared with HDD-based storage device solutions from a dollar-per-gigabyte perspective will continue to be an issue for SSD adoption in enterprise data centers," said Jeff Janukowicz, IDC's research manager for solid-state drives and hard-disk drive components. "But over time, as SSDs become more affordable, IDC believes system OEMs and users will gain a better understanding of how maximize and capitalize upon the benefits of SSDs."

According to IDC, HDS' announcement shows the possibilities for a high IOPS class of SSDs targeted at tier 0 applications that can use the highest level of fast-access storage. SSDs offer a number of benefits over HDDs, including better IOPS performance, lower power consumption, less heat generation, lower acoustical noise,and form factor flexibility.

HDS' SDD announcement follows similar ones by vendors such as EMC, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard

Basilio said HDS took its time in rolling out the 3.5-inch SSD drive technology in its high-end storage arrays because there are few suppliers of the technology, there is a relatively limited request for it among HDS's customer base and it wanted to get the technology interface right.

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