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Intel, Hitachi Launch Enterprise SSD Initiative

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) on Tuesday launched a joint partnership to develop and deliver Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Fibre Channel (FC) enterprise class solid-state drives (SSDs) for servers, workstations, and storage systems. The move is likely to raise the level of performance, capacity, and power efficiency to new heights for enterprise SSDs. It may also transform the way that SSD suppliers manage product development risk in emerging technologies.

"Overall, this seems a logical pairing and an impressive announcement," said Mark Peters, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) . "It signifies a strong 'shot across the bow' in the ensuing and intensifying SSD battleground."

Brendon Collins, Hitachi's vice president of product management, said "One of the biggest requests we have had from our large OEMs in our technology and planning meetings over the last two years has been for SSDs that complement our product offerings utilizing our existing HDD [hard disk drive] architecture. We could do it ourselves or look at acquiring a company or even partnering with someone to share fab expenses. But all of these options cost billions of dollars."

Instead, the Hitachi-Intel SSD venture combines best-of-class core competencies from two major tech vendors, with Hitachi bringing SAS and FC interface technology and a customer base and Intel furnishing 34-nanometer NAND flash memory engineering and manufacturing.

"This deal is an important indicator of things to come," said Arun Taneja, founder of industry analysis and research firm Taneja Group . "The next five years will see use of flash SSDs that is barely imaginable today."

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