Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has introduced a line of enterprise solid state drives (SSDs) aimed at the growing market for tiered storage in datacentres.
The Hitachi Ultrastar SSD400S family is available in capacities of 100GB, 200GB and 400GB, and is the first range of SAS and Fibre Channel SSDs available from an enterprise storage vendor, according to Hitachi.
Expected to ship in volume to OEMs within three months, the drives are the fruit of a joint project between Hitachi and Intel that combines Intel's 34nm single-level cell (SLC) Nand Flash chips with Hitachi's controller and host interface expertise.
"Intel focused on improving the individual cell performance in its SLC chips, and we focused on the device interface side of the technology," said Manfred Berger, head of product strategy for Hitachi GST in Europe.
The SSD400S drives are designed to fit into existing racks and storage arrays where Hitachi's Ultrastar 10K and 15K hard disks are currently used.
"Our aim is that customers will be able to retro-fit, and even mix and match, hard drives and SSDs as required. So, if you have a rack that's running out of steam, you can add SSDs to give it a step up," said Berger.
To this end, the SSD400S line will ship in two formats: a 2.5in drive with a 6Gbit/s SAS interface, and a 3.5in drive with a 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel.
This is because 2.5in SAS drives are the fastest growing segment of the market, while Fibre Channel deployments represent a gradually shrinking legacy segment, according to Berger.
Hitachi claims that the drives deliver the industry's highest sequential throughput performance, with the SAS models able to reach 535MB/s read and 500MB/s write speeds, while the Fibre Channel drives manage 390MB/s read and 340MB/s write performance.
Reliability is also key for Hitachi, and the firm is offering a warranty for the new drives of five years or up to 35PB of writes. "That's the equivalent of 19.2TB of writes every day for five years," said Berger.
The chief application for the drives is expected to be as the top tier in a storage hierarchy, holding the most regularly accessed or time-critical data.
However, Berger said that video-on-demand delivered from the cloud is one application that would also gain from deploying SSDs in place of hard drives.
"You could serve up to 2,000 customers at the same time with just 15 SSDs, which would require 1,200 hard drives to deliver the same level of performance, " he claimed.
Hitachi expects SSDs to form an increasing part of its business, with shipments predicted to grow 73 per cent year on year.
The entire market for enterprise SSDs could be a $4bn (£2.5bn) industry by 2014, Berger said.
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