Solid-state storage not just a flash in the pan


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Users have generally been skeptical about using SSD for primary storage because its historically high price tag made it difficult to justify the cost. But some users have taken the leap anyway. Mike Brooks, VP of IT infrastructure and technical services at Infor, an Alpharetta, GA-based business software provider, purchased a TMS RamSan-400 to support his company's CRM applications. In the last four years, says Brooks, the company has acquired several other companies, which seriously stressed system performance at times. The RamSan-400 was a fast fix that let Infor quickly alleviate IO bottlenecks; Brooks now plans to use more systems to support the company's other internal finance applications. Still, "it's a much bigger check to write," he says. "Even in a big company when you're telling them 'Yeah, I can improve your IO performance by 400%' they'll ask 'What's that really mean to the desktop?'"

With prices going down, however, SSD seems poised to emerge as an affordable alternative to hard disk at the highest tiers of storage, although analysts and users agree that disk drives won't be completely displaced anytime soon, if ever.

"Disk drives will still have their mass storage potential; it's hard to beat 500GB for $300," says Brooks. "[SSD] will never hit that point but, for a performance environment, I think this will end up being the way everything will eventually go."

--Trina MacDonald

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This was first published in October 2007

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