Solid State Drives Cheaper, 100 times Faster than SAN Hard Disk Arrays

The Enterprise solid state storage disruption is happening now.

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.

Solid state drive companies want to do to enterprise storage what the Nvidia graphic cards did to the Graphic Workstation companies in the nineties.

How will Fusion-io’s solid-state drives change all of this? “We have the ability to put five and soon 10 terabytes within a standard 4U server,” he said. “In the near future we will be announcing a card which holds two of our I/O memory modules, therefore doubling the capacity but also the performance per slot,” Flynn explained.

“We are not replacing a 15K-rpm disk drive,” Flynn said. (Hard-disk drives spinning at 15,000 revolutions per minute hard disk drives 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.”

Faster IO: Enterprise SSDs process 100 times the number of IOPS per watt as a typical 15K 2.5-inch server hard disk drive.

Enterprises solid-state drives consume less than 25 percent of the power of a 15K hard-disk drive.

Because enterprise solid-state drives are a relatively new technology, reliability is crucial. Fusion-io offers a technology called “Flashback” protection–extra chips that can jump in to take over immediately if there is a failure.

Here are some more specifics Flynn offered. Currently, Fusion-io can achieve just shy of 1 terabyte of storage by using three 320GB cards. “We’re doubling density per module and doubling the number of modules per card so we’re going to have 1.3TB on a single PCI Express card,” he said.

“We’ll be able to address 90 percent of the databases with a single drop-in card. Most databases are less than 1TB in size,” he said.