EMC president of information and infrastructure products, Pat Gelsinger, has laid out his company's plans for solid state devices in the enterprise.
Speaking on the launch of the company's VF Flash storage device, Gelsinger said that the likely future of solid state drives (SSD) will be to function as a supplement for hard disk drives rather than an outright replacement.
"The hard disk drive today is 30 to 50 times less expensive per bit, there is no way that Flash can possibly fill that gap," Gelsinger explained.
"If anything, the hard disk industry is outpacing the cost per bit of Flash, we see them tiering for decades to come."
Gelsinger's comments came on the heels of the company's formal unveiling of the VF Flash "Lightning" device. The PCIe-based server card offers an onboard storage space which can be used to dramatically speed up the delivery of data between the server and storage appliances.
The company hopes to further extend the platform later this year when the follow-up to VF Flash hits the market. Dubbed "Thunder," the system will combine a number of VF Flash cards to create a high-speed Flash storage appliance.
When the devices do reach the market, analysts believe that the platforms could hold an appeal beyond traditional high-speed server environments.
IDC analyst Benjamin Woo told V3 that virtual servers in particular could benefit from the high-speed cache.
"While Flash in the server will certainly accelerate specific applications such as databases, Exchange, Sharepoint, Flash can also accelerate virtual environments," Woo said.
"In fact, virtual environments could see the greatest benefits."
The release also puts EMC in competition with Flash pioneer Fusion IO, which has been offering Flash-based server storage systems as large as 10TB.
Woo, however, believes that there will be enough of a market to sustain both firms.
"EMC in many ways is validating the market that Fusion IO has established. FusionIO is certainly the first mover and it's solutions are more mature," the analyst explained.
"Most importantly, there have been a number of clients who have built systems and software solutions for internal consumption around the platform of Fusion IO's ioDrive, ioCache, IO Turbine and VSL layers."
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