IBM's Got SSD in Its Storage Sights

Big Blue isn't idle while fellow storage tech titans move technology into product lines.
Posted September 3, 2008
By

Judy Mottl


New research from IBM claims the vendor's solid state disk (SSD) storage efforts are attaining greater performance capabilities than competitor's to the tune of a 250 percent increase in input/output per second in current data-transfer rates, while proving more cost efficient.

IBM's (NYSE: IBM) SSD storage research, code-named 'Project QuickSilver' is an "ongoing cross-IBM initiative" for developing integrated information infrastructures, according to a press statement.

"The ultimate benefits of solid state will require software, management and systems capabilities -- with IBM being uniquely positioned, with its deep research and development capabilities and broad product and services experience, to unlock that potential," stated Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM System Storage.

That means faster and cheaper data storage and retrieval as data-access delays associated with hard drives (HDD) are being eliminated, according to IBM. The vendor is investigating how SSDs can be used in middleware, hardware, operating systems and even applications across both the server and storage infrastructure.

IBM's research news comes as storage vendors want new technologies that provide speedier capability for improved system performance. The problem with SSDs is the high price point, however, and that aspect has kept it tied to high-performance computing (HPC) environments in which cost is not a huge issue.

But as SSD prices drop rapidly -- analysts claim as much as 40 to 50 percent annually -- the drives are getting greater attention by both vendors and enterprises. Some vendors, such as Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA), have predicted SSDs will be saturating storage systems as early as next year.

"IBM doesn't see SSD as an be-all or end-all technology," Charles King, principal analyst, Pund-IT, told InternetNews.com. "What they're doing is quantifying how far the technology can be pushed," he said.

IBM is no stranger to SSDs, given its early push on the server side in integrating the technology into its BladeCenter servers in mid-2007. The vendor, which was not available for comment about its research by press time, has not indicated when its SSD storage technology will be ready for commercial launch but called Quicksilver a "significant step forward."

"This is not about replacing today's hard disk drive with a new form factor; this is about having a complete, end-to-end systems approach and that's not something EMC, HP or Sun can match," IBM stated in the release.

IBM describes SSD as having "great potential," but noted it is "still an expensive emerging technology that developers have yet figure out how it can truly provide the business value clients want," in its research release.

"The question remains: How can solid state device technology be implemented and optimized in a cost-effective way that brings value to clients?" IBM stated in its release.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.






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