IBM tests 4-terabyte solid-state drive tech

>> Saturday, 25 June 2011

IBM said Thursday it is testing a 4-terabyte, high-speed solid-state drive array targeted at the enterprise, as the technology giant gives its imprimatur to flash-memory-based storage.

For years, flash memory cards--the first mass-market SSDs--have been limited to digital cameras and music players like the iPod. But SSDs are now poised to hit technological critical mass in terms of storage capacity, speed, and availability as they find their way into everything ranging from tiny netbooks to massive enterprise storage arrays.

High-performance enterprise storage is where IBM comes in. Engineers and researchers at the IBM Hursley development lab in England and the Almaden Research Center in California have demonstrated performance results that outperform the world's fastest disk storage solution by more than 250 percent, according to IBM.

Under the rubric Project Quicksilver, IBM coupled solid-state drives with its storage virtualization technology to achieve a sustained data transfer rate of more than 1 million input/output per second (IOPS), with a response time of less than one millisecond in a 4.1-terabyte rack of SSD storage. SSDs are being supplied by Fusion-io.

By comparison, Intel is commercially shipping SSDs (X25-E Extreme) that individually achieve random data reads of 35,000 IOPS and random writes of 3,300 IOPS. In a 3.8-terabyte storage array using 120 SSDs, Intel claims 4.2 million IOPS.

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