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SSDs Ready For The Enterprise. - 9/5/2009 4:11:49 AM   
astra

 

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Because the storage subsystem is the performance bottleneck for most commercial applications, system designers have sought to speed the flow of data from disk to main memory using a variety of schemes. The latest move relies on solid-state disk technology. Over the past year, flash-memory-based solid-state devices have emerged that deliver data in a few microseconds; are significantly less expensive than RAM on a per-gigabyte basis; and, like disks, store data reliably when powered off.

Enterprise-class flash devices are still pricey--averaging more than $100 per gigabyte. But for those with deep pockets and a real need for speed, these systems can deliver up to 45,000 read I/O operations per second, or 16,000 write IOPS, compared with the 170 IOPS typical of a 15-000 RPM drive. A single mirrored pair of SSDs can outperform 100 spinning disks that would cost several times as much after drive enclosures, array features, software that's licensed by capacity, and other so-called slot costs are figured in. Flash devices also can help you go green because that pair of high-end SSDs will use much less power, and generate less heat that the data center cooling system must remove, compared with a group of 15,000-RPM drives delivering the same IOPS.

Vendors from EMC to Xiotech are debuting innovative SSD technologies suitable for enterprise data centers and branch offices. But there are a few downsides. Long-term reliability is unproven, the bottom-line cost on a per-gigabyte basis could send your CFO into cardiac arrest, and advances in data classification and tiering are still needed to gain maximum benefit.
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