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Sun To Start Selling Solid-State Storage This Year

Sun Microsystems on Wednesday said it plans to start selling solid-state disks in storage systems this year.

The Flash memory-based disks would offer companies the option of using storage devices with three times the performance at one-fifth the energy consumption of traditional spinning disk offerings, Sun said. The SSDs would be optimized for the MySQL database and other applications, and work with the Solaris ZFS, which is the file system for Sun's Solaris operating system.

Solid-state drives, which have no moving parts, are being pitched as faster, more reliable devices than traditional drives. Storage vendor EMC, for example, has added flash-based SSDs to its high-end Symmetrix arrays. The drives are being positioned for use in applications such as database backup and replication.

But SSDs carry a steep premium. While a conventional 1 terabyte hard drive costs about $550, an SSD of similar capacity can run more than $10,000.

Other vendors offering SSDs for storage include Fusion-io, a startup that launched its first Flash device in April. The proprietary technology within its IoDrive makes it possible for the device to operate as either local storage or as a storage cache, according to Fusion-io.

Other makers of SSDs for business include Seagate Technology and STEC. Seagate in April filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against STEC over the latter company's SSD technology. STEC characterized Seagate's action as anti-competitive.

Sun's new products are scheduled to ship by the end of the year. The company didn't release details on price or capacity.