SSDs, SATA, and SAS drives lumped together in storage pool by Sun servers

The best place for solid state disks (SSDs) to show its benefits compared to a traditional hard drive is in the enterprise market where the increased cost can be more easily offset by the performance gains. In the consumer market, the gains of an SSD in a notebook or desktop computer are often harder to justify.

Sun has announced that it is now adding SSDs to its line of x64 blade servers. Sun uses an approach to integrating SSDs that it claims will provide up to 70% faster response time and up to 98% less power consumption that traditional hard drives. Reduced power consumption in enterprise data centers can save huge sums of money for the enterprise market.

Sun reports that it has qualified its Solaris ZFS software with the SSDs to allow virtual pooling of drives behind the file system. The SSDs that Sun will be using in its server systems are the 32GB Intel X-25E SSDs priced at $1,199 per SSD. The Sun Fire X6250 blade system starts at $3,240.

Sun's Ray Austin said, "Rather than buying new servers or more [hard drives], you can get to the storage requirements [needed by certain applications by adding flash to existing servers]."

Pooling the storage in a tiered format allows the Solaris ZFS file system to pool storage from SSDs, SATA hard drives and SAS drives into a single large storage pool. The hybrid nature of the storage pool allows servers to get the benefit of fast SSDs for high usage web applications and relational databases that are very I/O intensive. At the same time applications like email that aren’t resource intensive and simply need lots of storage space can use the SATA drives that are much cheaper to purchase.

Gene Ruth from Burton Group said, "The integration of solid state disk innovation and servers is a natural fit and promises compellingly price/performance points for customers."

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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