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EMC's Solid (State) Start

It will be interesting to see whether EMC's decision to offer solid state disks (SSDs) on its Symmetrix systems will set a trend for other vendors to follow. Certainly, SSD boasts impressive performance figures, compared to traditional disk, and could fit in nicely with the green storage strategies touted by the likes of IBM and HDS.

"I think that this is just the tip of the iceberg here," says IDC research manager Jeff Januckowicz. "I would expect other system OEMs to be looking at SSDs as well.

At least one of EMC's rivals, HDS, is still sitting on the fence. "We're not seeing very many requests from customers to support this technology at the moment," sniffed Roberto Basilio, senior director of enterprise storage product management at HDS, in an email to Byte and Switch. "We believe EMC is really serving the needs of the few here -- however, this is something that we are investigating."

While the performance and power-saving benefits of SSD technology are not in question, a question mark still hangs over the economics of the technology, which can cost up to 40 times more than traditional disk.

Still, IDC analyst Januckowicz thinks that even this should not be a barrier to adoption. "Flash memory drive prices have gone down 50 percent year over year," he says, explaining that this is making the technology much more affordable for enterprises.

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