Intel shows off new 'Ruler' SSD

Intel wants to transform data center storage with new SSD form factors.

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Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Intel is taking us a step closer to the end of the hard disk drive data center era with three new form factors for server-class SSDs.

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The first is a "Ruler" form factor, which looks more like a spirit level than a ruler, but that's just me being picky. Based on the Enterprise & Datacenter Storage Form Factor (EDSFF), it uses Intel's 3D NAND technology to allow 1PB of storage to be fitted into a single 1U server -- enough storage space for 300,000 HD movies, or, as Intel puts it "about 70 years of nonstop entertainment."

Intel shows off new 'Ruler' SSD

Intel "Ruler" SSD

"The new 'ruler' form factor, so-called for its long, skinny shape, shifts storage from the legacy 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch form factors that follow traditional hard disk drives, and the add-in card form factor, which takes advantage of PCIe card slots, and delivers on the promise of non-volatile storage technologies to eliminate constraints on shape and size."

According to Intel, "Ruler" SSDs based on 3D NAND SSDs and Optane SSDs will be released "in the near future."

Intel also teased two other form factors -- a dual-port SSD designed to "offer critical redundancy and failover, protecting against multiple paths to failure for mission-critical and high-availability applications" which will be available "starting in 2017's third quarter," and a SATA SSD for data centers that will use "new Intel-developed SATA controller, innovative SATA firmware and the industry's highest density 32-layer 3D NAND" and allow for simpler transition from HDDs to SSDs, which are available now.

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