infoTECH Feature

October 29, 2010

Working Group Promotes Solid-State Drive Interoperability

Solid-state storage is growing fast. To bring interoperability, scalability, choice, and other benefits to Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) storage drives, a broad coalition of industry-leading IT solutions providers have announced the solid-state drive (SSD) form factor working group. Together, the working group intends to standardize the form factor and interface of future SSD drives for PCIe storage.

The new working group includes promoter members Dell, EMC (News - Alert), Fujitsu, IBM and Intel as well as contributor members Amphenol, Emulex, Fusion-io, IDT, Marvel Semiconductor, Micron Technology, Molex, PLX, QLogic, STEC, SandForce and Smart Modular Technology.

Currently, PCIe-based SSD solutions provide performance, but lack ease-of-use. Industry standardization of form factor and interface is required to offer easy-to-use, compatible, scalable PCIe SSD solutions with lower integration costs, according to the new group.

In a statement, Forrest Norrod, vice president and general manager of Dell (News - Alert) Server Platforms, said, “Dell is pleased to part of this working group because it supports a broader industry effort to reduce complexity and integration issues around PCIe storage drives. By enabling PCIe standards, Dell is delivering breakthrough storage performance to a mainstream audience. We’re taking a leadership position in PCIe storage technology and standardization which will help our customers achieve greater interoperability, scalability and choice.”

Likewise, Intel’s (News - Alert) Tom Macdonald, vice president of Intel Architecture Group and General Manager of Platform Components Group, stated, “Intel sees PCIe continuing to grow in importance as a solid state drive interface driven by native attach points in our enterprise platforms. Intel is looking forward to working with SSD Form Factor Working Group to collectively define the essential building blocks for future generations of non-volatile memory storage solutions.”

Initially, the SSD Form Factor Working Group is focused on advancing standards in three technology areas.  

A connector specification will promote interoperability of several storage protocols, supporting SAS (News - Alert)/SATA 3.0, as well as PCIe 3. While a form factor based upon the current 2.5-inch standard will enable enclosure flexibility with higher performance, plus hot-plug capability.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

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