Intel, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu and IBM are forming a working group to standardise PCIe-based solid state drives SSD, and have a webcast coming out today to discuss it.
Now this is interesting in that just two weeks after Angelbird pre-announces its own PCIe flash based SSD product, now Intel is forming a consortium. Things are heating up, this is now a hot new category and I want to draw your attention to a sentence in this Register article:
By connecting to a server’s PCIe bus, SSDs can pour out their contents faster to the server than by using Fibre Channel or SAS connectivity. The flash is used as a tier of memory below DRAM and cuts out drive array latency when reading and writing data.
This is without a doubt the first instance I have read that there is a belief, even just in the minds of the author of this article, that Fibre Channel and Serial Attached SCSI aren’t fast enough. Who knew PCI Express would be preferable to an old storage interface when it comes to enterprise computing? Lookout world, there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is PCIe SSD. This product category though will be not for the consumer end of the market at least not for this consortium. It is targeting the high margin, high end, data center market where interoperability keeps vendor lock-in from occurring. By choosing interoperability everyone has to gain an advantage not through engineering necessarily but through firmware most likely. If that’s the differentiator than whomever has the best embedded programming team will have the best throughput and the highest rated product. Let’s hope this all eventually finds a market saturation point driving the technology down into the consumer desktop, thus enabling a next big burst in desktop computer performance. I hope PCIe SSD’s become the next storage of choice and that motherboards can be rid of all SATA disk I/O ports and firmware in the near future. We don’t need SATA SSDs, we do need PCIe SSDs.