Hitachi to Use Intel Solid State Drives -

Hitachi to Use Intel Solid State Drives

Hitachi Data Systems said today it will use solid state drives (SSDs) from the joint partnership between Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced two weeks ago (see Intel, Hitachi Make a Splash in Solid State Storage).

The first drives from the Intel-HGST partnership won't be available until early 2010, so Hitachi Data Systems will use SSDs from an unnamed vendor in its high-end Universal Storage Platform V and VM storage arrays starting early next year.

The 73 GB and 146 GB flash-based SSDs will be available in the first quarter of 2009 and will "provide exceptional performance of business-critical applications, with significantly improved utilization, while also reducing power and cooling consumption," Hitachi said in a statement.

Hitachi isn't revealing which vendor is supplying the SSDs, but one possibility is STEC, the same vendor used by EMC (NYSE: EMC) in its arrays (see EMC Goes Solid State).

Roberto Basilio, HDS vice president for storage platform product management, said the company "has a multi-vendor flash-based SSD strategy, similar to traditional hard disk drives. We will offer the Hitachi GST flash-based SSDs when they become available, upon completion of appropriate testing and qualification. ... It is our policy and good business practice to ensure we offer our customers multiple vendors and the best products available."

The market for flash-based SSDs in enterprise storage arrays is a new one, with EMC's January announcement followed by announcements from other storage vendors, including IBM (NYSE: IBM), NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) and HDS partners Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) and HP (NYSE: HPQ).

Basilio described the flash market until now as "very limited, and only now are we seeing it start to warm up. Currently, the user base is for high-end users seeking greater and faster application performance. For example, a credit card provider could process its fraud detection information more quickly, clearing up to six times more transactions in the same amount of time it took to previously process a single transaction."

Jeff Janukowicz, IDC research manager for solid state drives and HDD components, said in a statement that the HDS announcement "validates IDC's prediction that this class of storage will become more viable for mainstream storage as enterprise data environments become more diversified. We forecast SSD adoption to increase more than 70 percent on a compound annual basis through 2012, with enterprise storage applications playing a key role for I/O-intensive applications."

Hitachi says the new drives are "for speeding heavy I/O workload traffic required of high-performance enterprise storage applications," such as online transaction processing, seismic data rendering and currency trading, in the USP's tiered storage environment.

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