Intel, Hitachi to develop solid-state drives

Intel and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announce plans to jointly develop and deliver solid-state drives for servers, workstations, and storage systems.

Intel will target solid-state drives for server computers in a tie up with Hitachi that was announced Monday night.

Intel solid state drive
Intel solid state drive Intel

Intel and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) said they will "jointly develop and deliver" Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Fibre Channel (FC) solid-state drives (SSDs) for servers, workstations, and storage systems.

While Hitachi is a large supplier of hard disk drives, Intel manufactures and sells consumer and enterprise-class solid-state drives (and the flash memory chips inside the drives). The enterprise-class X25-E Extreme SSDs that Intel offers now are based on Serial ATA (SATA) technology. As are its consumer-class drives.

Solid-state drives are generally faster than hard-disk drives, particularly at reading data.

"The combination of a leading Enterprise drive supplier with a NAND technology and manufacturing leader will produce world-class solutions in terms of reliability, performance and system compatibility," the companies said in a statement.

The agreement is exclusive to the two companies with the first Serial Attached SCSI and Fibre Channel products expected to be available in early 2010. Both Serial Attached SCSI and Fibre Channel are interfaces typically used in servers.

The companies said the SSDs will not replace hard disk drives but complement them. "The new generation of solid-state drive technology complements existing enterprise-class hard disk drives and is intended for use in storage applications that require extremely high Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) performance and power efficiency," according to the two companies.

Hitachi GST said it will continue to provide its customers with both "traditional" hard-disk drives in addition to the SSDs.

The new SSDs will be "branded and exclusively sold and supported by Hitachi GST" and use Intel NAND flash memory and SSD technology.

Hitachi said it will use its expertise in drive firmware, reliability, qualification and system integration in combination with Intel's technology and manufacturing capabilities.

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