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Intel SSD Unleashes the True Performance of its CPUs

Great Things Are Expected of the X-25E Extreme SATA Solid State Drive - Now Available

Intel is giddy with delight to be shipping its new high-performance solid state drive (SSD) into the server, workstation and storage markets. So are its customers, who came to testify at its launch Wednesday.

Great things are expected of the X-25E Extreme SATA Solid-State Drive, available immediately in 32GB capacities with 64GB due in Q1.

For one thing, the widget is supposed to make Intel’s Xeon chips and the systems they’re built into shine.

They won’t suffer the usual performance bottlenecks associated with conventional hard drives, which Intel damns for not keeping pace with Moore’s Law the last dozen years – a situation aggravated by the advent of multi-core chips and multi-socket architectures.

The X-25E is supposed to increase systems performance by 100 times over hard disk drives (HDDs) when measured in I/Os Per Second (IOPS), the storage metric posed as the successor to mere gigabytes.

Application performance can finally be as high as the server CPU’s.

The little 2.5-inch wonder is also supposed to slash total infrastructure and, by extension, cooling and energy costs and total cost of ownership by more than five times for enterprise applications.

According to Sun EVP John Fowler, the guy who runs Sun’s systems operations, SSDs “will change the economics of enterprise data centers.”

Sun says one of its four-socket quad-Xeon boxes can do 845,000 IOPS on the server side but only 1,600 IOPS on the storage end with HDDs. With the Intel drive, the storage is good for a performance-balanced 840,000 IOPS.

Rackable estimates that users of one of its container system could save a million dollars over three years.

Intel says the X-25E was designed for intense computing workloads that benefit primarily from high random read-and-write performance.

A 32GB drive is supposed to be good for 35,000 IOPS (4KB random read), 3,300 IOPS (4KB random write) and 75ms read latency. While drawing 2.4W it should deliver up to 14,000 IOPS a watt optimally.

Intel says it can hit up to 250 MB/s sequential read speeds and up to 170 MB/s sequential write speeds.

The drive was designed using 10-channel NAND architecture with Native Command Queuing, a proprietary controller and firmware good at advanced wear-leveling and low write amplification.

The 32GB drive, priced at $695 in quantities of 1,000 – figure $900-$1,000 on the street – is capable of writing up to 4PB of data over three years (3.7TB a day). The anticipated 64GB drive should be good for twice that.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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