Intel takes their SSD reliability to the datacenter

Intel's PCIe-based SSD drives bring extreme reliability to the high-performance datacenter SSD market

Following up on the success of their 300 and 500 series SATA SSD drives for the desktop, which despite having a significant price premium over the competition have carved out significant market share based on improved reliability compared to their competitors, Intel has taken their SSD game to the datacenter. The first Intel datacenter SSD, the 710, is a 6 GB/s SATA SSD available in capacities up to 300 GB that could be used in any environment where a tradition SATA hard drive could be deployed.

But well aware that larger capacities and better performance were necessary for high-performance datacenter deployments Intel today announced their 910 Series of SSD drives. These drives feature a PCIe interface, lower read/write latency, and more than five times the read/write and sustained throughput performance than their own SATA III connected SSD. And they do this while offering the same 5 year warranty that they offer on their desktop SSD (the 710 series comes with only a 3 year warranty). The 910 uses either two or four 200 GB NAND modules, with each module having a dedicated ASIC with a SCSI attached storage storage interface that supports speeds up to 6 GB/s, connecting to an on-chip PCIe to SAS bridge which supports the translation to the PCIe bus.

Despite the significant increase in performance, the 910 requires only an 8x  PCIe 2.0 slot, as an 8-lane PCIe 2 connector can support aggregate throughput up to  4 GB/s (500 MB per lane) and the maximum throughput of the 910 is limited to 2 GB/s. This makes the 910 series compatible with any server likely found in use as PCIe 2 has been the standard for more than 5 years.

Available in 400 GB ($1929) and 800 GB ($3859) capacitities the SSD is currently sampling to datacenter customers. Full commercial availability is expected in mid-2012. More information can be found on the Intel SSD drive page.