Fusion-io and IBM test solid-state storage

Project Quicksilver aiming to reduce latency and bottlenecks when storage is virtual or frequently accessed.

Two months after winning a deal with Hewlett-Packard, Salt Lake City start-up Fusion-io (DEMOfall 07) Thursday announced it's also working with IBM to improve the data-access performance of IBM's clustered storage systems while reducing power consumption.

Called Project Quicksilver, the effort, started several months ago, adapted Fusion-io's enterprise, solid-state drive technology designed to reduce problems like latency and bottlenecks that often get worse when storage is virtual or frequently accessed.

Thursday's announcement did not confirm whether Fusion-io drives would be built into future IBM storage or server products. IBM had previously announced it is integrating solid-state technology into its new systems.

The IBM storage group used a cluster of its high-performance X-servers with Fusion-io drives, modified the code, and created a network array of solid-state drives that IBM touts as outperforming the world's fastest disk storage by 250%.

Fusion-io provided "an interesting angle from a storage controller perspective and IBM has been working closely with Fusion-io over the last few months to help both companies squeeze every last drop of performance out of the low level flash hardware," master inventor Barry Whyte, who works for IBM's systems and technology group based in Hursley, UK, wrote in his blog.

Competing against mechanical disk storage both on cost-effectiveness and capacity, Fusion-io's NAND flash-based ioMemory technology boasts 100 times the capacity density and 10 times the capacity per dollar of DRAM and provides terabytes of near-memory-speed storage within each node.

In June, HP and Fusion-io announced that Fusion-io's ioMemory architecture is expected to be in HP enterprise servers, including the industry-leading HP BladeSystem c-Class system, shipping in 2009.

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