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Samsung and Sun make 'ultra-endurance' flash chips

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Samsung and Sun Microsystems say they've found a veritable fountain of youth for data center solid-state drives.

They claim to have jointly developed a single-layer cell (SLC) NAND flash device that provides a "five-fold increase" in data write/erase cycles over standard SLC flash.

Numbers aren't provided — but given current server-grade flash products are normally rated around 10,000 cycles, that puts the technology at a healthy 50,000 read/write lifespan.

According to Samsung, the new flash memory is expected to deliver the highest endurance ever offered in high availability, mission-critical computing. The chip will also allow a 100x increase over conventional hard disk drives in the number of IOPS (Input/Output operations Per Second) per watt.

It apparently didn't take very long work out either. They state its been developed in close cooperation with Sun "over the past several months."

The companies will say the high endurance drives will be a good match for video streaming, high-transaction data processing, search engine operations, and other high-speed server functions. Granted that's the usual gang of high-end SSD customers, but hey, longer life is always good for 'em.

"Sun sees incredible upside to using server grade SLC NAND flash to accelerate customers' applications, and we plan to incorporate this technology into our line of servers and storage," said Michael Cornwell, lead technologist for flash memory at Sun.

That's no big surprise, as Sun plans to roll out a flash storage option across its entire server lineup by 2010.

"'Endurance up, power down' is going to be the mantra of IT innovators at enterprises everywhere, and server grade SLC flash is ideally situated to deliver on that equation," said Jim Elliot, veep of Samsung's memory marketing.

No word if Sun will be getting an exclusive shot at the technology.®

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