Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) this week became the latest vendor to add support for flash-based solid-state disk (SSD) drives to its enterprise and midrange storage arrays.

The company announced plans to offer SSDs in 73GB and 146GB capacities for its Universal Storage Platform V (USP V) array and the midrange Universal Storage Platform VM (USP VM) during the first quarter of 2009.

Hitachi’s Storage Command software management suite, which powers the USP V and VM platforms, supports so-called “tier zero” flash-based storage, and allows administrators to replicate, tier, manage and dynamically provision storage using both SSDs and traditional hard disk drives (HDDs).

SSD drives use high-speed flash memory to store and retrieve data, and have no moving parts, making them an attractive, energy-efficient alternative to HDDs for heavy I/O workloads and enterprise storage applications.

According to Roberto Basilio, HDS’ vice president of storage platforms product management, SSDs offer customers the ability to store working data, and move less frequently accessed data to a lower tier of storage, which translates into lower operational costs.

In related news, HDS also announced planned support for the new flash-based drives recently announced by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. Hitachi GST is teaming up with Intel to develop SAS and Fibre Channel SSDs for servers, workstations and storage systems. The first products are expected to be available in early 2010, and will be based on Intel’s NAND flash memory and SSD technology.

International Data Corp. (IDC) predicts flash-based SSD technology will become more viable for mainstream storage as enterprise data environments become more diversified, according to Jeff Janukowicz, research manager, solid state drives and HDD components at IDC. The market research firm forecasts SSD adoption will increase more than 70% on a compound annual basis through 2012.

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