Intel has introduced the densest high-performance solid state storage drive yet. The new drive, which Intel describes as the size of an old-fashioned 12-inch ruler, can store 32 terabytes of data. The 3D NAND SSD DC P4500 stacks memory cells 64 layers deep.
Ryan Shrout, principal analyst at Shrout Research, says this advancement is significant because the increased density allows data centers and server managers to pack more high-speed storage in a small space. This provides the performance benefits of solid state drives over a high-performance bus without sacrificing the capacity requirements of applications.
“With the new "ruler" form factor Intel can provide solid state storage density that hasn't been possible in the data center previously, removing the need to fit into the legacy sizes and shapes typical of spinning disk hard drives,” he said.
With this new SSD, Intel also has addressed the heat issue common with older disk drives. The announcement explains that because the ruler-shaped SSD can be lined up 32 side-by-side to hold up to a petabyte in a single server slot, it requires just half the airflow to keep cool. Intel claims that the new drive uses just one-tenth the power of typical disk drives and requires one-twentieth the space.
This may be the start of a trend, as other vendors strive to adopt the “ruler” form factor promoted by the Enterprise and Data Center SSD Form Factor Working Group (EDSFF). The group, whose participants include Intel, HPE, Dell EMC, Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung and other technology heavy-hitters, aims to improve the capacity of solid state drives. It also promotes development of SSDs that are hot-pluggable, can fit vertically in 1U, and work well with existing server and storage infrastructure. Its specification focuses on NVMe.
Shrout expects the trend to continue.
“The ruler design brings hot-swap capability, high density and high performance to future data center designs,” he said. “So as the migration from spinning media to solid state continues forward, the Intel design will accelerate the transition.”