Sun launches SSD solution for servers

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Timothy Prickett Morgan writes at The Register on Sun’s launch of an enterprise SSD product for its midrange servers

The company has already put SSDs in its “Amber Road” storage arrays, launched last November as the not-so-tersely named Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage family. (Yes, they said “storage” twice). And now, the company is adding SSDs to Sun’s “Galaxy” x64 servers, its “Niagara” family of Sparc T series servers (sometimes referred to as the CMT line, short for chip multithreading), and its Sun Blade blade servers, which are based on x64 and Sparc T processors.

While Sun is working with a number of different flash storage vendors on the design of future flash devices – including Intel, Samsung, Marvell, and Toshiba – today’s announcements involve Sun using Intel’s X-25E SATA-compatible flash memory. (These are the same Intel SSDs that server maker Verari Systems put on its storage blades last October).

According to the article the X-25E is based on SLC flash memory (the robust, expensive kind…not what you find in consumer flash drives and netbooks). The X-25E is also pricey, and customers will have to address the challenge of figuring out the right balance between flash and disk for their workload, budget, and performance goals

…To help customers strike the right balance, Fowler says that Sun is putting the finishing touches on a capacity planning tool for SSDs that will allow customers to run the tool on their production systems as they are working and then make suggestions about how much flash to add to their servers and how to moved their files around to improve performance. Having done that, customers can keep running the tool to keep tuning.

The one thing that is clear is that having two orders of magnitude of performance on reads and one magnitude of performance on writes – even with one order of magnitude higher cost – means that SSDs are going to absolutely become standard on servers