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Hitachi GST ends STEC's monopoly

Fibre Channel SSDs here at last

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Hitachi GST flash drives are hitting the streets and, at last, ending STEC's monopoly in the supply of Fibre Channel interface SSDs.

EMC startled the enterprise storage array world by embracing STEC SSDs (solid state drives) in its arrays last year as a way of dramatically lowering the latency for access to the most important data in the arrays. It has subsequently delivered FAST automated data movement across different tiers of storage in its arrays, ensuring that sysadms don't have to involved in managing data movement at a tedious and time-consuming level.

All other enterprise array suppliers have followed suit, with some supporting SAS-interface SSDs from suppliers like Intel, Micron, Pliant and Samsung. No other SSD supplier has developed a Fibre Channel interface SSD though, apparently believing that the SAS interface will supersede the Fibre Channel drive-level interface inside an array, giving STEC a monopoly supply position, until now.

Hitachi GST's SSD400S family comes in 100GB, 200GB and 400GB capacities, featuring both 2.5-inch 6Gb/s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and 3.5-inch 4Gb/s Fibre Channel interfaces. It uses 34nm single level cell technology and the product was jointly developed with Intel.

Mike Cordano, worldwide sales and marketing exec VP at Hitachi GST, said: "With qualifications now underway, we anticipate volume shipments to commence in the first half of 2011.”

Hitachi GST says the enterprise SSD market is growing at an estimated 73 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2009-2014.

The company says its Ultrastar SSD400S "delivers the industry’s highest sequential throughput [being] the first to reach up to 535MB/s read and 500MB/s write throughput with 6Gbit/s SAS, and 390MB/s read and 340MB/s write throughput with 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel."

It can do up to 46,000 read and 13,000 sustained write IOPS. Hitachi GST says these speeds are 100 times faster than traditional hard drives, meaning better IOPS per watt ratings.

It will be hoping to pick up second source business from STEC's OEMs with these numbers.

The 400GB SSD supports up to 35PB of random writes over its lifetime. Hitachi GST says this is the equivalent of writing 19.2TB/day for five years. The products include data integrity and power loss management technologies tied to industry standards to help compatibility in multi-tiered SSD/HDD system designs.

Broader qualification samples are now available with product ramp scheduled in 2011. The Ultrastar SSD400S family is backed by a five-year limited warranty, or the maximum petabytes written (based on capacity). Xyratex issued a supporting quote, indicating that at least one OEM is feeling positive. ®

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