Pillar Data Systems, which makes highly virtualized storage architecture that runs on commodity servers, revealed March 9 that it will be joining the ranks of network storage providers that are moving to solid-state flash memory.
EMC, Dell, Sun Microsystems and newcomer Fusion-io are among the few companies that currently offer either built-in or optional SSDs in place of spinning disks in their arrays. Pillar will begin making its own SSD available in June 2009.
Pillar's Axiom SSD Bricks will include 12 drives per storage enclosure, which the company claims can deliver major performance gains over traditional Fibre Channel disk drives. The first of the new systems will include the SSDs in the so-called Tier 0 storage layer-the quickest tier to respond to queries and other requests.
It is well known that SSDs have a much faster read/write performance than disk hard drives; some have been tested and benchmarked at up to 100 times faster than the read/write speed of typical SATA (Serial ATA) drives, currently the industry standard.
Pillar's new SSD Bricks will include the company's home-developed distributed RAID file system.
"Because we use an open architecture, we can use the SSDs in either the storage pool or the controller," Pillar Vice President of Marketing Bob Maness told eWEEK. "Right now we'll be making them available for storage pool only, and later in the controller. We're adding them in the premium [Tier 1] layer, where they are best suited.
"These [the SSDs] have tremendous benefits for businesses with a need for fast search and fast read/write, such as Internet retail."
When SSDs are managed and optimized properly, it is clear that they provide compelling performance benefits, said Gartner Research Director Joseph Unsworth, who specializes in the solid-state storage market.
"In order to fully exploit the technology, users need something that will differentiate data type and tier it accordingly," Unsworth said. "Vendors need to provide a turnkey SSD solution that automates the data selection process, which, ultimately, will allow users to prioritize which information is considered mission-critical, and therefore will reduce overall cost and disk space without compromising performance."
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