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EMC snuggles Samsung NAND into flash drives

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EMC is using Samsung NAND in its enterprise flash drives, marking its first second source for flash drives alongside STEC.

Traditionally storage array vendors like EMC like to have second sources for technology such as disk drives, hating being dependent on a single vendor. Thus they can use disk drives from Hitachi GST, Seagate, Toshiba or Western Digital. With enterprise flash drives EMC has been dependent on a single vendor, STEC, meaning there is no pricing competition between suppliers and EMC is dependent upon STEC not delivering poor product batches.

EMC has now obtained a second source for flash drives in the shape of Samsung, which is mass-producing 3.5-inch format 100 and 200GB solid state drives (SSDs) with EMC being its first OEM customer. It had been thought that Micron was EMC's second source, but that Boise-based firm has lucked out.

The drives are built on a 40nm process and have a 3Gbit/s SATA interface. Peak random read IOPS are 47,000 and the equivalent write number is 29,000. Samsung says this is 130X and 80X more than a 15,000rpm hard disk drive which can do 350 read or write IOPS. The sequential read bandwidth is 260MB/sec with sequential writes being carried out at 245MB/sec.

Samsung reckons its enterprise SSD prospects are good, quoting Gartner numbers claiming worldwide SSD units and revenues for enterprise application will grow from 324,000 units and U$485m in 2009 to 6.3 million units and U$3.6bn in 2014. ®

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