CNet News ran a feature yesterday about Fusion-IO, about whom we have previously written. Steve Wozniak joined Fusion-IO as its chief scientist recently, at least partly to create the kind of buzz that generates articles at CNet (Woz is a tech hero and a smart guy, and I’m not slighting him in the least). Fusion-IO builds flash-based devices that replace the spinning disks in enterprise (and possibly HPC) servers.
The article offers a quick introduction to Fusion-IO’s value proposition (albeit one sided) and how they expect to grow their market. It’s a useful read if you are trying to map out technologies that may affect us in the future.
Enterprise solid-state drives typically offer much better performance than even the fastest hard-disk drives. Fusion-io claims that its IoDrive improves storage performance by as much as 1,000 times over traditional disk arrays while operating at a fraction of the power and at a tenth of the total cost of ownership.
…”We are not replacing a 15K-rpm disk drive,” Flynn said. (Hard-disk drives spinning at 15,000 revolutions per minute are the highest-performance disk drives used in enterprise servers.) “We are miniaturizing an entire (storage area network) of multiple drives by making it out of silicon. While a 15K-rpm drive may cost $2 to $3 per gigabyte, a high-performance SAN costs $50 per gigabyte and up–built from those same HDDs, mind you,” he said. “Our ioDrives are made up of chips that cost only $2 to $4 per gigabyte, but when we integrate them into a miniaturized silicon SAN, we charge $30 per gigabyte.”
Of course, some of the vendors have offered SSDs on their gear in the past (Cray did, and maybe others), but what’s different now is the potential of a commodity price point, and a heightened sensitivity to power consumption (whether you are an accountant or a tree hugger, it matters now if you are building a large installation).
Do you have experience with any of the current crop of solid-state drives? Leave a comment and let us know about it — or better yet, email me 300 words and I’ll post it on insideHPC. john at insidehpc dot com.