Intel puts SSDs firmly into the corporate domain

As the first details of Intel’s SSD 710 series – code-named Lydonville – start to emerge, I welcome news that the solid state drives will use AES encryption and have a mean time between failure (MTBF) measured into the millions of hours.

This is the kind of news that will move SSDs firmly into the corporate domain, where they truly belong.

With data transfer read rates of 270 megabits per second (Mbps) and write speeds of 210 Mbps, together with a MTBF of two million hours, this starts to give the SSD drives – which will reportedly come in 100, 200 and 300 GB sizes – the kind of characteristics that IT managers are looking for in corporate-land.

Whilst SSDs have traditionally attracted a premium over conventional magnetic strata, their sheer flexibility and ability to suck in large volumes of data at high speeds – and disgorge that data at even faster speeds – is highly attractive to IT managers.

News that the more advanced SSD 720 series – known as Ramsdale in development circles – support the PCI Express interface is also a very positive move, as it supports a higher bus throughput with a smaller physical footprint, plus the advantage of a more detailed error detection system.

Taken together, the SSD 720’s specifications look very promising, especially if the rumours of read/write speeds of 2200 and 1800 Mpbs, respectively, are supported in a real-world environment.

With these kinds of premium specifications, the price point at which the Intel units come in at will be closely watched, since the lengthy MTBF levels means the lifetime of the SSD units can be amortised over a lengthy period of time.

With such a lengthy MTBF, you can start to think in terms of a fit-and-forget policy for these SSDs, which significantly reduces the total cost of ownership for drive storage. Add in the possibility of storing less frequently accessed data in the cloud, and you start to reach the prospect of a magnetic drive-free data storage system for a company.

At that point, things really start to get interesting, as you are able to store data – using a mixture of SSDs and cloud resources – with a much lower energy and heat footprint, which in turn is positive news for the longevity and reliability of the rest of a company’s IT systems.

Andy Cordial is MD at Origin Storage. Andy started his computer industry career in 1987 working for tape manufacturer Everex Systems. He moved into computer distribution in 1989 and set up his first computer company ‘XL Distribution’. XL merged with Datrontech in '92 where he worked in Management team. Andy saw Datrontech through flotation on LSE then left to start Upgrade Options in '96. Andy sold upgrade (MBO) in '03 and invested in Origin Storage. Andy built Origin to a £5.2m business and has seen it enter the Times Fast track 100. Andy now owns 100% shareholding of Origin after successful purchase of his partner in 2009.