HP Intros SSDs To ProLiant Server Line


While HP has been offering SSDs as an option for its EVA and XP storage arrays, this is the first time it has been making them available with its ProLiant servers, said Jimmy Daley, marketing manager for industry standard servers at HP.

Daley said his organization also is talking to its counterparts involved with HP's Integrity line of Intel Itanium-based family of business-critical servers to extend SSDs to that line as well.

Prior to the introduction of the Samsung SSDs for the ProLiant servers, HP also offered SSDs as a boot drive in blade servers.

All the other major server vendors already have made SSDs a part of their offerings.

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Dell currently offers 25-GB and 50-GB SSDs as an option to its servers, and IBM offers SSDs as an option for a variety of servers.

Sun Microsystems, which is in the process of being acquired by Oracle, has gone farther than most vendors in SSD adoption.

Sun in November introduced its new Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems, also known as Amber Road. Amber Road, which is a series of hybrid server/storage devices, pools all hard drives and SSDs in a new type of RAID configuration that allows quick addition of new drives and fast RAID rebuilds.

Sun also has publicly committed to offer SSD or other solid-state storage technology in all its servers.

HP has chosen to work with 60-GB and 120-GB SSDs from Samsung. The drives feature SLC-type flash memory.

There are two types of SSDs, depending on the technology of the flash memory on which they are built. Some SSDs feature single-level cell (SLC) memory technology, in which one bit of data occupies one cell of the flash memory, making it optimized for performance and data reliability. Other SSDs feature multilevel cell (MLC) technology, in which four bits of data occupy one cell of the flash memory for greater capacity.

"Today, the technology focus is on endurance and performance, and SLC will win on both," Daley said. "We're looking at the best way to bring MLC to enterprise, like cost and capacity points, but we don't feel it has the performance and endurance SLC does."

HP chose Samsung as its supplier because of Samsung's ECC (error correcting code) and its hot-plug capabilities, Daley said.

The Samsung drives fit in HP's universal hot-plug drive trays that are present in all of HP's ProLiant servers, he said.

The new SSDs currently are available from HP.