IBM claims 'Quicksilver' flash sets data-speed record

A project under development from IBM is setting new records for data-transfer speeds using solid-state technology with one million input/outputs per second.

IBM has said its 'Project Quicksilver' is setting new records for data-transfer speeds on solid-state technology, with its tests showing a disk-storage solution hitting one million input/outputs per second (IOPS).

The research project, under way at IBM's Hursley Lab in Hampshire and the Almaden Research Center in California, uses flash solid-state drives (SSDs) coupled with scalable storage virtualization technology.

IBM claims to have achieved a sustained rate of over a million IOPS with a response time of under one millisecond (ms). The company believes this gives Quicksilver an improvement in performance of 250 percent, with "less than a fifth the response time" of existing disk-based storage. For good measure, IBM said, it takes up one-fifth of the space of equivalent conventional drives and uses "only 55 percent of the power and cooling".

While the claims for performance increases are large, IBM has not provided evidence from independent research to back it up at this stage, as this is a research project. But the company said it has been running the technology under test with select IBM BladeCenter customers.

Andy Monshaw, general manager for IBM system storage, said that IBM "is integrating this technology with systems and applications so that companies can achieve real business value from solid-state disk". In a statement, he described Quicksilver as "a significant step forward in this comprehensive systems strategy".

Monshaw went on to say that the strategy is not about replacing today's hard-disk drive, but that the main emphasis is to show IBM's technical superiority over the competition. It is about "having a complete, end-to-end systems approach — and that's not something EMC, HP or Sun can match," he said.