Intel, Dell, EMC, IBM and Fujitsu are linking up to help start a new industry group with the goal of hammering out a common standard for PCI express motherboard cards.
The three main goals of the new SSD Form Factor Working Group are to design a common connector specification, develop a form factor based on 2.5-inch hard drives, and support a hot plug capability, Intel Director of Technology Initiatives Jim Pappas told a conference-call audience on Oct. 27.
PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect express) cards are used in PCs, servers and storage arrays as a motherboard-level interconnect (to link motherboard-mounted peripherals) and as an expansion card interface for add-in boards.
The PCIe standard is designed to replace the older PCI, PCI-X and AGP standards.
PCIe 2.1 is the latest standard for expansion cards that is used on personal computers. This electrical interface is used in a variety of standards, most notably the ExpressCard laptop expansion card interface.
A key difference between PCIe and earlier buses is a topology based on point-to-point serial links, rather than a shared parallel bus architecture.
The SSD Form Factor Working Group comprises five "promoter" members noted above and 11 "contributor" members, which include Amphenol, Emulex, Micron Technology, Molex and Smart Modular Technology.
"We believe that the PCIe Standard Form Factor specification will accelerate the market adoption of PCIe SSDs, offering an electromechanical solution with disk-like handling and true hot-plug capability," Jens-Peter Seick, senior vice president of the Data Centre Systems Product Division at Fujitsu Technology Solutions, said on the call.
Pappas said the new working group plans to have its first-draft specification ready for public discussion in Q1 2011.