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Hitachi GST flash drives already in sample stage

Reg reader finds top-tier customer FAQ that sheds light on schedule

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A Reg reader pointed us to a Hitachi GST Solid State Drive (SSD) FAQ, which cast more light on the company's SSD intentions and schedule, which is more advanced than we thought.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) are documents created by suppliers to answer, you guessed it, frequently asked questions about their products and services. This one, dated 27 August, says that HGST SSDs are in qualification already with OEMs:

"We have completed our development work and have delivered initial SSD samples to our customers in the first half of 2010. Our primary focus has always been to ship product with the highest performance, endurance and reliability to meet customer demand. To ensure best-in-class products, some of the development took longer than expected as we have added more features and implemented more testing to meet our stringent standards for quality and reliability. We are on track to begin volume shipments in the second half of 2010."

The customers are undisclosed top-tier enterprise global OEMs, which we take to mean one or more of Dell, EMC, HDS, HP and IBM. Others could include BlueArc, Compellent, Data Direct, Fujitsu, Isilon, NetApp, Panasas and Pillar.

HGST says the 6Gbit/s SAS interface SSDs will come in a 2.5-inch form factor while the 4Gbit/s FIbre Channel ones will use the 3.5-inch form factor. Both devices use single-level cell flash and the company says: "The products will offer ultra performance, both in sustained data rate (MB/s) as well as IOPs, while meeting customer needs for data integrity and endurance."

It anticipates that products from one or more of these OEM customers are likely to be available later this year and in the first half of 2011.

The company implies strongly that it is developing multi-level cell flash drives for enterprise-class, read-intensive applications, and suggests that something might be announced in the second half of 2011.

It confirms that it is working with Intel to develop its SSDs and says it alone will brand, market and sell them. ®

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