SSDs a bright spot?

In a down economy, with severe belt tightening in the IT sector, some technologies actually have an advantage. And on the storage front, solid-state disk (SSD) drives may be one of them.

In a recent InfoStor QuickVote poll of our site visitors, 9.8% of the respondents said they were currently using solid-state disk (SSD) drives in enterprise storage systems (as opposed to laptops or desktops), while another 26.3% said they plan to use SSDs within the next year. However, 63.9% had no plans to use SSDs. Nevertheless, virtually every storage industry analyst puts SSDs on their list of top technologies for 2009.

Although the shipment numbers may still be low, there are signs that the enterprise SSD market is poised for takeoff this year. For example, STEC has an impressive roster of SSD design wins, including EMC, Sun and another biggie expected soon.

Long-time SSD player (30 years) Texas Memory Systems reports that sales of its RamSan line of SSDs grew 20% in 2008. And the company posted record revenues in the fourth quarter. That’s despite increased competition and the entry of heavyweights such as Intel into the SSD space.

In an article published on infostor.com, “SSDs poised for the enterprise,” Objective Analysis’ Jim Handy predicts that shipments of SSDs are expected to hit 1.7 million units in 2013, representing an average annual growth rate of nearly 150%.

Sure, SSDs are still incredibly expensive if you look at it from a cost-per-GB basis, but if you look at it from a cost-per-IOPS basis they could actually save money over buying loads of spinning disks – not to mention the energy savings. And manufacturers report that the price of materials is declining rapidly.

“We are cautiously optimistic about 2009,” says Woody Hutsell, Texas Memory’s executive vice president. “SSDs are an important part of telecommunications systems, financial exchanges, national defense systems and green IT initiatives, which are likely to benefit from government investment. SSDs can cost-effectively extend the life of existing IT infrastructure, allowing cash-strapped IT managers to postpone major purchases.”

But whether or not SSDs really take off this year will depend in large part on whether manufacturers can meet the expected price decline expectations.

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posted by: Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson, Editor-in-Chief
by Dave Simpson
Editor-in-Chief

Dave Simpson has been the Editor-in-Chief of InfoStor since its inception in 1997. He previously held editorial positions at publications such as Datamation, Systems Integration, and Digital News and Review. He can be contacted at dsimpson@quinstreet.com

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