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Solid State Goes to War

Solid State Disk (SSD) technology received another boost this week with BitMicro's announcement of a 1.6-Tbyte disk drive, which it claims is tough enough to withstand battlefield conditions.

Unveiled at the WEST 2008 military communications show, the 3.5-inch Ultra320 SCSI drive is aimed at the military, aerospace, and manufacturing sectors. BitMicro also claims that the drive is the world's first to offer up to 1.6 Tbytes of capacity.

Designed to provide storage in hostile environments outside of the traditional data center, the Ultra320 can operate at temperatures between minus 40 and positive 85 degrees, according to BitMicro. The drive can also handle 1,500 Gs of shock, which is equivalent to about a seven-and-a-half foot drop.

"It's the largest [SSD] that I am aware of," says Jeff Janukowicz, research manager at IDC, adding that the drive's ability to withstand battlefield conditions reflects growing demand for specialized storage.

Unlike traditional disk drives, there are no mechanical components within SSDs, which makes them a good fit for extreme conditions. "If you think about what is going on in the military, there is [a lot of] electronics, both in equipment and the kit that people are carrying in the field," explains Janukowicz. "Traditional disk drives dont have the rugged ability."

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