EMC has started sending its Project Lightning PCI-e flash card to customers.
EMC is shipping a 320GB version to beta customers before the card becomes generally available to buy, Pat Gelsinger, EMC's president and chief operating officer, revealed at Oracle OpenWorld on Monday.
Project Lightning, first announced at EMC World in May, is a flash card that connects to server or storage hardware via PCI-e. It can work as a supplement to RAM by bringing data closer to the processor than in typical storage infrastructures and can also be used to tier storage across multiple devices via EMC's Fully Automated Storage Tiering (Fast) technology.
"[It allows us] to move storage closer to the compute farm," Gelsinger said.
One of the potential use cases for the technology is in IT infrastructures running the Hadoop data processing engine, Gelsinger told ZDNet UK, as Hadoop requires "very high bandwidth access to data but the compute load is very modest."
ZDNet UK put it to Gelsinger that the technology also gives EMC a way into becoming more like a server vendor as it can run virtual machines from Project Lightning cards hosted on storage arrays.
"We're not trying to be server guys... it's a mature business in that regard, but we are trying to get the storage hierachy [to be] more flexible in this virtualised cloud-orientated datacentre environment," he said.
One of the early companies to commercialise PCI-e-attached flash cards was Salt Lake City-based Fusion-io. Additionally, Texas Memory Systems has begun aggressively pushing its own flavour of the technology along with other companies such as STEC and Seagate.
Dates of availability and pricing were not disclosed.