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Solid State Seeks Solid Ground

It's been a slow road for solid-state disk, but makers of these high-speed storage systems think the market's picking up speed.

One such vendor, Texas Memory Systems Inc., says one of its OEMs has scored 100 installations (see Texas Memory Awards DSI).

"I think that number will surprise a lot of people," says Woody Hutsell, executive vice president of Texas Memory Systems. "A lot of our success comes from channel sales."

While some folk might indeed be surprised by the 100-mark, it's not clear whether they'll think it's large -- or small. Solid state disk (SSD) has been around a few decades, and by all accounts it still occupies a tiny segment of performance-oriented storage for database applications, particularly in the government and financial sectors.

SSD products use random access memory (RAM), as opposed to traditional magnetic or optical media, to store and access data. As a result, access speeds are much higher than traditional disk: 5 milliseconds for magnetic versus 20 microseconds for solid state, or 250 times faster, according to Hutsell. Backers of this approach also promote it as a way to minimize or eliminate server I/O bottlenecks.

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