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EMC saves power with flash drives

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EMC has become the first enterprise storage vendor to integrate flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) into its core product portfolio.

Solid state flash drives utilise flash memory to store and retrieve data, yielding response times that are an order of magnitude faster than the fastest hard disk drives and require dramatically less power to run.
The EMC Symmetrix® DMX-4 storage system is the only enterprise storage system available on the market today to leverage this technology, which has been tested by EMC for the past year, to deliver ultra-high performance for mission-critical applications.
The flash drives for the Symmetrix DMX-4 system have been purpose built to EMC’s exacting specifications and use single-layer cell (SLC) flash technology combined with sophisticated controllers to achieve ultra fast read/write performance, high reliability and data integrity. They have been tested and qualified to withstand the intense workloads of high-end enterprise storage applications.  
Continuing a pace of innovation that has made Symmetrix the market-leading enterprise storage platform for more than a decade, EMC has further optimized the Symmetrix DMX-4 operating software to take advantage of the full power and value that flash storage technology brings to high-performance storage environments, including the ability to easily provision, manage, replicate and move data between flash drives and traditional Fibre Channel and SATA disk drives in the same array.
Because there are no mechanical components in flash drives, they require less power. In a storage array, flash drives can store a terabyte of data using 38% less energy than traditional mechanical disk drives. It would take 30 15 000 RPM Fibre Channel disk drives to deliver the same performance as a single flash drive, which translates into a dramatic 98% reduction in power consumption in a transaction-per-second comparison.
“EMC is the first enterprise infrastructure player to incorporate flash disk into their arrays, which should give them a huge performance advantage at the very sector of the market that always seems to need more and more,” says Steve Duplessie, senior analyst at The Enterprise Strategy Group. “If it creates as big a gap in real life transaction processing shops as it does on paper, this could very well be one of those killer advantages that only appear every 10 to 15 years.”
Flash storage technology is ideally suited to support applications that need to process massive amounts of information very quickly, such as currency exchange and electronic trading systems, real-time data feed processing, mainframe transaction processing, and many others.  Storage systems with enterprise-class flash drives can deliver single-millisecond application response times, up to 10 times faster than those with traditional 15 000 RPM Fibre Channel disk drives.
With flash drive technology in a Symmetrix DMX-4 storage system, a credit card provider, for example, could process its fraud detection information more quickly, clearing up to six times more transactions in the same amount of time it took to previously process a single transaction.
This new solid-state storage tier, “tier zero,” is fully supported by the Symmetrix software management suite, enabling storage administrators to simplify the provisioning of all of their storage tiers with advanced management tools including Dynamic Cache Partitioning, Virtual LUNs, Quality of Service Manager, and now Virtual Provisioning to simplify overall management and application performance.
With new support for one terabyte SATA II disk drives on Symmetrix DMX-4 systems, EMC is further improving storage density while enhancing energy efficiency.  The Symmetrix DMX-4, with support for flash drives, Fibre Channel disk drives and SATA disk drives, offers the broadest range of ‘in the box’ storage tiering options to enable the consolidation of all application tiers within a single system.
By aligning data availability, service level requirements and software functionality with capacity and cost considerations through tiered storage, Symmetrix DMX-4 delivers the best performance, resiliency and energy efficiency available in the industry.
“For years, magnetic disk drive technology has defined performance boundaries for customers’ mission critical storage environments,” says Gerhard van der Merwe, country manager of EMC South Africa.  “With this announcement, EMC has again revolutionised the storage industry.
"The introduction of flash drive technology builds on EMC’s long history of storage industry firsts, including the pioneering use of small form factor disk drives and ATA disk drives in enterprise storage systems. Then, as now, EMC is helping customers gain a competitive advantage and tackle information challenges that no other vendor’s technology can.”