Shawn Kung, Marvell Technology and Larry Chisvin, PLX Technology
EETimes (8/20/2012 3:38 PM EDT)
Server-side solid state drive (SSD) deployment in the enterprise market is growing by 55% per year and is expected to reach nearly 10 million units annually over the next several years according to Gartner Research. In applications such as transactional processing, data search, and data mining, the higher performance of SSDs offers tangible, real-world benefits. The cost of NAND flash has been moving steadily downward, and the number of companies servicing this market has been increasing. Because of this, differentiation on value (rather than price) is becoming more difficult, but value is the primary mechanism for storage solution providers to win and sustain their business.
Server and storage systems vendors can add value to what they provide to their customers in the form of performance, scalability, and reliability via their software and hardware architecture. In order for these complex systems to function at their peak, however, two of the largest contributors to these added values—the SSD controller and interconnect—need to be matched and tuned. At the most fundamental level, component vendors need to share a common vision of how a system should be designed and deployed. One of the most important decisions is the interconnect used to get the data from storage to host. PCI Express (PCIe) is rapidly becoming a key interconnect in enterprise SSD storage, and is expected to account for more than one-third of the server SSD market by 2015, according to Gartner.
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