Vendors look to exploit PCIe for fast storage

Intel, Dell, IBM, EMC and Fujitsu come together to develop new spec

Vendors may shortly be able to introduce SSD products that use PCIe to improve performance speeds. A group of leading vendors have joined forces to develop the standard which is expected to be finalised in the latter half of next year.

Speaking at a teleconference on behalf of the working group, Jim Pappas, director of technology initiatives at Intel, said that he couldn't say when products incorporating the new technology would be ready but hoped that they would follow shortly after the spec was ready.

He said that the working group, which includes Intel, Dell, EMC. Fujitsu, and IBM, was aimed at improving storage performance by using technology. He said that the working group's charter was based on emphasising the serviceability, high-availability, ease of integration, interoperability and scalability of Solid-State Storage.

By connecting direct to PCIe, users would experience a vastly improved performance said Pappas. "PCIe is the closest thing you can get into the computer and memory subsystem, We'd get the highest possible performance and lowest possible latency by attaching direct to PCie," he pointed out. It would offer notably better performance than the SAS and SATA offereings available today.

But, Pappas stressed it was important that the vendors didn't go down a completely new path. He added that a key element to the new standard was it would use the same 2.5 inch form factor that was widely in use today.

The creation of this form factor is one area that the working group is considering. The working group is looking at two other areas: the creation of a connector specification that allows interoperability among a variety of storage protocols, including SAS/SATA 3.0 and PCIe 3 and the provision of hot plug capability to create high-availability and serviceability benefits.

The biggest single omission from the list of vendors in the working group is HP. Pappas said that the other vendors wanted to welcome as many companies as possible on board and would welcome HP - or anyone else - joining.

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Maxwell Cooter

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