Sun is predicting that flash is poised to be the next big thing where servers are concerned. Despite the considerably higher cost of solid state drives (SSD), Sun is arguing that they are really cheaper for high-performance I/O intensive applications. As such, it will be releasing a 32GB flash storage drive this year as well as making it available as an option with its servers.
Not surprisingly, beyond access speed, one of the key advantage that is mentioned has to do with its lower power consumption.
"It [SSD] consumes one-fifth the power and is a hundred times faster [than rotating disk drives]," John Fowler, the head of Sun's servers and storage division, said at a press conference in Boston Tuesday. "The fact that it's not the same dollars per gigabyte is perfectly okay."
Of course, it must be cautioned that SSDs is very new to the enterprise. The unspoken question is that no one really knows how well these drives will perform in a high-load write-intensive environment over the long term. This is probably the reason why tier-one hard disk manufacturers like Seagate are dragging their feet instead of plunging head-first into churning-out SSDs.
Still, its advantage in terms of lower power-consumption is real. Google is seriously looking into it, and you should definitely keep an eye on it too. What is your opinion of using SSDs in the enterprise?
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Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.