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Thursday, October 28, 2010
New Working Group Aims to Create SSD PCIe Standard

Looking to promote greater storage efficiencies in the data center, a coalition of IT solutions providers today announced the Solid State Drive (SSD) Form Factor Working Group to advance the benefits of Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) storage drives through standardization.

Together, the working group will focus on enterprise customers who are pushing the storage IO envelope and require high-performance, easy-to-use, cost-effective storage solutions to optimize CPU performance.

The new working group includes Promoter Members Dell, EMC, Fujitsu , IBM and Intel as well as Contributor Members Amphenol, Emulex, Fusion-io, IDT, Marvel Semiconductor, Micron Technology, Molex, PLX, QLogic, STEC, SandForce and Smart Modular Technology.

Currently, PCIe-based SSD solutions provide performance, but lack ease-of-use features. Industry standardization of form factor and interface is required to offer easy-to-use, compatible, scalable PCIe SSD solutions with lower integration costs. The SSD Form Factor Working Group is dedicated to advancing technology standards in three technology areas:

* A connector specification which will promote interoperability of several storage protocols, supporting SAS /SATA 3.0 as well as PCIe 3. This allows greater user choice and flexibility.
* A form factor which builds upon the current 2.5-inch standard to enable enclosure flexibilty while supporting the new connector definition and expanding the power envelope in support of higher performance.
* The support for hot-plug capability to create high-availability and serviceability benefits.

The group hopes that the standard can be used by equipment manufacturers during the second half of 2011, allowing them to offer as much as 2GB/sec throughput between a computer's processor and an SSD. By comparison, SAS and SATA drives offer 6Gbit/sec and 3Gbit/sec throughput, respectively.

"Intel sees PCIe continuing to grow in importance as a solid state drive interface driven by native attach points in our enterprise platforms. Intel is looking forward to working with SSD Form Factor Working Group to collectively define the essential building blocks for future generations of non-volatile memory storage solutions."-Tom Macdonald, Vice President of Intel Architecture Group and General Manager of Platform Components Group at Intel.

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