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Intel’s new SSDs could have your customers rethinking their data-center architectures in a big way.

These solid-state drives offer a brand-new form factor for the first time in years. They also pack updated non-volatile memory and a SATA solution for legacy hardware. Get ready for a whole new ballgame.

SATA, introduced back in 2000, quickly became the gold standard for computer bus interfacing. Though the world is now moving on to newer solutions — especially the PCIe/NVMe protocol — many data centers still rely on this turn-of-the-century mainstay.

If your customers fall into that category, they’ll be happy to know that Intel now offers the SSD DC S4500 and S4600 Series. These SATA-connected solid state drives feature a newly developed SATA controller and firmware.

Intel SSD DC S4500 drive

Intel’s 2.5-inch SSD DC S4500 stores up to 3.8TB

Intel’s design also enables data centers to make a smooth transition from older, slower HDDs (hard disk drives) to the latest generation of SSD technology featuring 32-layer 3D NAND memory.

These Intel SSD DC Series drives are currently available with storage capacities of 240GB (under $150) to 3.8TB (just over $2,000).

One SSD to ruler them all

It’s been a long time since someone tried to change the form factor of ubiquitous internal-storage devices. The 3.5-inch desktop drives we use today date back to the late 1980s. That form factor was itself an iteration of earlier floppy drives.

Smaller 2.5-inch drives appeared in the early 2000s, a case of innovation-by-miniaturization. While this form factor enabled OEMs to create a new generation of laptops, there was a tradeoff: The smaller drives offered less performance and storage space for more money — hardly a winning proposition.

Intel’s new form-factor SSD P4500 drive, announced in August, is being referred to as a “ruler” because of its long, thin shape. This dramatically reduced the footprint, enabling users to pack more drives into each server. Plus, each drive has both a higher capacity and a lower power drain and thermal signature than previous drives.

Intel SSD DC P4500 "ruler" drive

Intel’s “ruler” P4500 drive will store up to 1 petabyte

Intel says its new ruler form factor enables up to 1 petabyte (equal to 1,000 TB) of storage in a single 1U server. If you happen to work in the IT department at Netflix, the salient detail here is that 1PB is enough storage space for 300,000 HD movies, or about 70 years of nonstop playback. And on just a single 1U server.

In fact, before Netflix switched to Amazon Web Service, the company reportedly ran more than 4,600 servers. It’s easy to imagine the inherent value of replacing all that with smaller, faster, higher-capacity drives.

2 big impacts

So far, Intel has offered no clue as to the ruler’s pricing or release date other than to say the drive will be available “in the near future.” But it stills bears mentioning that this solution could have a big impact on your customer’s bottom line, and for 2 equally big reasons:

> Packing more data onto fewer drives means a lower price per GB (or TB or PB) of data. It also means fewer physical servers to purchase and maintain.

> Intel says its ruler SSDs will set a new standard in terms of low cooling and power needs. That should also lower costs for data-center utilities and maintenance.

There are times when a brand-new technology must be engineered to breathe life into older technology. Such is the case with Intel’s new SATA SSDs. 


Blog Category: 
Cloud and Data Centers