HP Offers Samsung SSDs as Option in ProLiant Servers

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-09-17

Samsung, which has been competing fiercely with Toshiba for new customers in the enterprise NAND flash drive market, announced a major one Sept. 17 in Hewlett-Packard, which will now use the Korean manufacturer's 60GB and 120GB solid-state drives as an option in its ProLiant G5 and G6 servers.

HP has been offering SSDs as an option in its high-end EVA storage arrays since March 2009. This move marks the first time HP will make the solid-state drives broadly available in its front-line application and Web servers.

Users of HP ProLiants will have the option to replace anywhere from two to 24 hard disks with the new SSDs, depending upon their configurations, business requirements and budget constraints. In this setup, data center administrators will be able to use specific drives for specific type of applications.

Enterprise SSDs, which at this time cost anywhere from five to 10 times more than standard spinning disk drives, are most often used by high-speed, read-intensive transactional applications, such as financial services and Web 2.0 service providers.

Solid-state flash drives enable read/write response times that are about 40 times faster than the current highest-quality hard disk drives. Because they have no moving parts, SSDs also require much less power to run, and mechanical breakdowns are rare.

Controller Firmware Customized for HP Needs

"Using single-level-cell 3G-bps solid-state SATA [serial ATA] drives instead of 10K- and 15K-rpm hard disk drives, ProLiant servers provide performance that can be up to 40 to 50 times faster than a traditional hard drive, depending upon the application and computing workload," Samsung Flash Marketing Manager Brian Beard told eWEEK. 

"We have worked with HP for months to customize the firmware in the controller to HP's requirements. We've added advanced 'write' algorithms and load balancing that moves the data around the disk, to make full use of the disk and help to last longer."

Jimmy Daley, marketing manager for HP's Industry Standard Servers group, told eWEEK that "Samsung came up with the best enterprise feature set" in the search for solid-state disks, and that HP was very pleased with the performance-and power savings-of the SSDs as they worked within the ProLiants.

In ProLiant servers, Samsung SSDs' power consumption is a minuscule 1.9 watts when writing to the drive and 1.5 watts when reading to it (approximately one-fifth that of a conventional enterprise hard drive). Power usage in idle mode is a mere 0.1 watt, Daley said.

Performancewise, Samsung's SSDs execute random read commands at 25,000 input/outputs per second (IOPS) and random writes at 6,000 IOPS. It has a sequential read speed of 230M bps and a sequential write speed of 180M bps, Samsung said.

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