Vendors Gang Up to Create Solid State Drive Standards
November 1, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In an effort to bring some order to the market for flash-based solid state drives (SSDs), which are increasingly being sprinkled into servers and PCs to boost performance and decrease energy consumption for I/O bandwidth, a slew of interested vendors in the storage and server rackets ganged up last week to create the SSD Form Factor Working Group.
I know, that sounds pretty boring, but it is important, and Intel, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, and IBM are to be commended for sitting down at the table and hammering out SSD interface and form factor specifications to make SSDs as interchangeable and cross-usable as disk drives currently are inside of servers and storage arrays.
The SSDs that plug into PCI-Express slots are all differently shaped, making them hard to handle and difficult to easily and quickly integrate into systems, and ditto for SSDs that are being slid into the same SAS or SATA slots that disk drives are hot-plugged into. And so the group wants to create a connector specification that will allow for interoperability across different machines and supporting the future SAS/SATA 3.0 and PCI-Express 3.0 bus specifications. The group also wants to standardize a 2.5-inch form factor that has a new, common connector definition and with a protective casing (perhaps with heat sinks, I am not clear on that) allowing for the SSDs to run denser and hotter. They also want to make SSDs hot-pluggable in a standard way, just like SAS and some SATA disk drives are today.
Amphenol, Emulex, Fusion-io, IDT, Marvel Semiconductor, Micron Technology, Molex, PLX, QLogic, STEC, SandForce, and Smart Modular Technology have joined up with the SSD Form Factor Working Group to participate in the specs.