Future Tech: Intel’s ‘Ruler’ SSD

Solid-state drives (SSDs) have become increasingly popular, and with good reason: replacing the spinning platters and moving heads of traditional hard drives, SSDs offer increased read/write speeds and resistance to mechanical failure. One of the greatest limitations to SSD technology, however, has been limited capacity. Until recently, SSDs were only offered in the sub-terabyte range, making them suitable for workstation system drives or caching but not for mass storage in a RAID or server solution. Even now, SSDs lag behind traditional drives in terms of raw capacity and cost-per-terabyte.

But the future of solid-state mass storage is approaching. Intel unveiled its first ‘ruler’ SSD earlier this year. Named for its slender 12-inch form factor, the ruler SSD is intended to pack as much storage capacity within a 1U server chassis as possible, while granting the reduced power draw, reduced heat generation, and greater performance of SSD technology. The DC P4500 sports a capacity of 32TB and takes up 1/20th of the space traditional drives would, while requiring only 1/10th of the power.

The goal is server storage on a massive scale. According to Intel, 32 of these ruler drives could fit side-by-side within the 1U form factor to deliver 1 petabyte (1000 terabytes!) of storage capacity while requiring half the airflow for cooling currently demanded by traditional drives.

General availability of the new ruler drives is still beyond the horizon, though some major corporate interests such as IBM, Microsoft, and Tencent have begun using them to support data centers and cloud operations.In the meantime, Samsung offers a 4TB standard SSD solution for consumer use as this new media rapidly plays catch-up with traditional drives.

If you have any questions about solid-state drive technology and how it can be deployed at your facility, reach out to Nodal! Engadget has the initial Intel announcement here, as well as Samsung’s release of their 4TB consumer drive here.