HP adding solid-state memory to its servers

Signs pact to use flash technology from start-up Fusion-io to boost application performance

Hewlett-Packard Co. and start-up Fusion-io today announced plans to jointly enable the latter's solid-state memory technology to run across HP server products.

The joint effort was announced at the HP Technology Forum & Expo 2008 in Las Vegas. The collaboration will allow a version of Fusion-io's ioDrive NAND product to be plugged into HP server PCI Express slots to add as much as 640GB of flash storage capacity on a single card, said David Flynn, chief technology officer at Salt Lake City-based Fusion-io. He said the capacity will be increased to 1.28TB in 2009.

Flynn declined to disclose pricing plans, product availability dates or packaging information for the joint offering.

Fusion-io's ioDrive NAND product to be plugged into HP server PCI Express slots to add as much as 640GB of flash storage capacity on a single card

Fusion-io's ioDrive NAND product

Fusion's ioDrive was introduced less than a year ago  at the DEMOfall conference. The NAND flash-based storage product offers hundreds of thousands of I/Os per second at very low latency to enhance the speed and performance of read- and write-intensive I/O applications running on servers, said Flynn.

Flynn said adapting Fusion-io's technology to work with the HP technology will allow users to utilize a flash-based storage repository that holds "active" data requiring constant access and changes. HP servers have up to 10 PCI slots on the back of the machines, he noted.

"HP has seen that [solid-state storage] gives them something to use in those PCI Express slots that can actually pump up the performance of applications," said Flynn. He contended that the Fusion-io flash storage technology can boost performance by as much as 40% for some applications.

The race among system vendors to add solid-state technology to servers is heating up. Sun Microsystems Inc. last month confirmed plans to support the diskless technology across its server and storage line by the end of this year. Google Inc. also got into the act, announcing last month plans to roll out solid-state disk drives from Intel Corp. in servers located at its North American headquarters.

To date, however, corporate customers have downplayed their interest in using solid-state storage within IT enterprise environments. They have said that they are waiting until prices for the technology drop and durability concerns are sufficiently addressed.

Last month, EMC Corp. acknowledged  that the price of solid-state technology must drop before it will be widely accepted by corporate users. The company had announced in January plans to offer solid-state technology as an option for its high-end Symmetrix storage arrays.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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