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More on SSDs as SSTs

12:45 PM -- My friend and fellow Byte and Switch blogger George Crump has certainly been making the case for flash SSDs over the past few weeks, and with the recent announcements from IBM, Sun, HP, and Pillar, flash technology has officially taken the record from data de-duplication as the 21st century's fasted technology to reach universal storage vendor support.

The latest trend is to put the flash chips right on the server's PCI-E bus, eliminating a few microseconds of latency, the cost of all that pesky storage networking kit and the SAS or SATA 3 Mbit/s bottleneck. All of this leads to truly blinding performance at a price of around $50 per Gbyte, which is around what you paid for the Clariion CX500 full of 36-GB, 15,000-rpm drives.

Rather than be topped by Texas Memory, Fusion-io has announced the ioDrive Duo -- taking back the crown of fastest drive alive with a claimed 167,000 write IOPS and 1.5-Gbit/s transfer rate. They even used a 4-KB block size for the IOPS rating, as Oracle and Exchange 2007 do in the real world, rather than the 512 byte I/Os those trying to fudge the benchmark usually do.

They're also pushing the envelope on capacity with a 640-GB model out next month and a 1.28-TB whopper promised for later in the year.

Of course, flash SSDs are just the latest answer to better disk performance. Back in the 1980s, I built a prototype digital special effects system for Orion Pictures that used head-per-track disks to hold a whopping three frames of 4Kx4K scanned motion picture film. Texas Memory has been selling DRAM-based SSDs for years, and those with deep pockets and little patience have found them to be an effective way to make things work faster.

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