A company called pureSilicon came out of stealth last week at CES with new solid state drives in 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB capacities. The drives, expected to ship this summer, also include a proprietary 32-channel controller architecture that company founder and president Jason Breakstone said has been clocked at 50,000 random read IOPS.
By comparison, the drives EMC Corp. ships today from STEC are 73 GB and 146 GB. Intel’s X-25 E SSDs have 10-channel controllers and are offered in 32 GB and 64 GB capacities, and recently announced enterprise SSDs from Samsung have 8-channel controllers and are offered at 100 GB capacity. This is an already crowded market, but if pureSilicon can do what it says it’s going to do, it’s found some differentiators already.
A 1 TB SSDs might grab enterprise customers’ attention, but the drive is manufactured using multi-level cell (MLC) technology. The 256 GB and 512 GB sizes are single-level cell (SLC) drives, which generally have a longer lifecycle, and are viewed as more reliable than MLC drives because only one layer of data is stored in each Flash cell at a time. For now, pureSilicon offers the 1 TB MLC drives for enterprise applications with a three-year warranty. Breakstone maintains the the bigger the SSD, the more compelling its value proposition for consolidating large numbers of short-stroked hard drives.
On the other side, however, is the expense of SSDs, despite the fact that Flash pricing has declined over the last year. This is part of the reason for smaller capacities for SSDs so far. Breakstone said pricing won’t be set for the new 1 TB behemoth until closer to its release date, but with high capacity and high I/O, “our product can perform at the level of a larger array. If you can achieve the same results using a factor of 10 or 100 fewer drives, it’s a win-win.”