Is Google Buying SSDs for Storage?

Is Google willing to use more expensive hardware if it will help lower its electricity bill? That potential trade-off came up in reports around the web today about Google’s interest in solid-state drive (SSD) storage. SSDs are semiconductor-based storage devices with no moving parts, theoretically reducing the risk of mechanical failure and latency. They also come with a higher price tag.

Last week DigiTimes from Taipei filed this interesting tidbit:

Google plans to switch some of its servers over to solid-state drive-based (SSD-based) storage supplied by Intel in order to lower electricity consumption, according to sources at memory makers. The more power efficient SSDs will be installed at servers at Google’s US headquarters. Intel will supply flash chips and Marvell the corresponding controller ICs, the sources detailed. Shipments are slated for late second quarter, they added.

That report was picked up by The Register, which noted that the development could be “great news for Intel, which hopes to make a run at turning SSDs into a big business.”

But The Register’s Ashlee Vance was skeptical at the veracity of the underlying report:

For what it’s worth, our sources tell us that Digitimes report is flat out wrong. Still, it’s interesting to speculate about Google paying for the more expensive SSDs on the data center scale. Like many service providers, Google is finding that lowering energy costs is its top priority.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.