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Is Google trying solid-state disks?

A report suggests Google is making a move into solid-state disks for its servers. But is it taking the plunge or dipping its toes in the water?

Solid-state disks, which use flash memory instead of spinning magnetic platters to store data, may have just won an endorsement from a demanding, high-prestige customer: Google.

According to a Monday report in DigiTimes, Google is using Intel SSD technology combined with Marvell controller chips in servers at the company's headquarters. The technology is due to ship late this quarter, the report said.

SSDs offer energy consumption and performance advantages over conventional drives, but they can't match the earlier technology on capacity so far. Google, with thousands of servers, is very sensitive to all those issues.

Given the increasing maturity of SSDs, it would be surprising if Google weren't testing them. What's unclear is whether the company is planning some broad deployment of the technology. A couple sources I've run this past have suggested the report is off base, though.

It's interesting to note that it appears from the report that Google appears to be buying raw ingredients more than finished products. Google is famous for building and maintaining its own hardware and software.

Google, Intel, and Marvell didn't comment on the report.