EMC Goes Solid State


EMC is adding solid state drives (SSDs) to its high-end Symmetrix DMX-4 storage systems.

Bob Wambach, EMC's senior director of product marketing for Symmetrix, said it took EMC "a number of years" of software development and reliability testing to make the drives ready for enterprise deployment.

"This is one of the most significant storage announcements we've ever made," said Wambach.

EMC is targeting the drives — which can cost as much as 30 times more than Fibre Channel drives for a response time that is 10 times greater — at transaction processing and IOPS-intensive applications such as automated trading and trade optimization, real-time data feeds, contextual Web advertising, online order processing, credit card validation and fraud detection, and real-time transaction systems.

Banks, for example, say that every millisecond of storage response time they can shave off a stock trading application translates into $100 million in annual profit, making solid state flash drives a relative bargain.

Wambach said SSDs are expected to come down in price more directly than hard disk drives, thanks to Moore's law.

On the low end, EMC also added 1TB SATA drives to the DMX-4, giving users a sophisticated tiered storage approach in a single box, along with thin provisioning, which EMC is calling Virtual Provisioning, to manage it all.

The 73GB and 146GB flash drives were manufactured by STEC and will become available later this quarter.

Wambach said EMC has worked to get the drives' performance characteristics, reliability, data integrity and availability to the point where the company felt comfortable deploying them in its flagship storage array, including highly accelerated lifecycle testing (HALT), and Symmetrix software manages the drives so they will appear as "plug and play" and "fully interoperable" to users.

EMC said the flash drives have been purpose built using single-layer cell (SLC) flash technology combined with sophisticated controllers to achieve ultra-fast read/write performance, high reliability and data integrity and have been tested and qualified to withstand the intense workloads of high-end enterprise storage applications. DMX-4 operating software provisions, manages, replicates and moves data between flash drives and Fibre Channel and SATA disk drives in the same array.

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