Another start-up wanting to take a pot at STEC, the leader in the storage array solid state disk market, has emerged. Pliant Technology is focussing on the SAS interface, leaving Fibre Channel the sole preserve of STEC. STEC dominates what is called the enterprise flash drive (EFD) market, with OEMs such as EMC, HP, IBM and …
Enterprise SSD economics and ROI
Just looked at STEC's website and saw they claim 45,000/35,000 R/W IOPS. Then I saw the numbers on the SPC-1 benchmark (published by IBM) showing that it does less than 6,000 per drive. At street prices of $22,000 per drive, that's $4/IOP, meaning that the STEC costs 4x more per IOP than HDD (and 100x more in cost/GB).
The whole premise of Enterprise SSD is based on the idea that it's ok if SSD costs more per GByte -- because SSD IOPS cost so much LESS than HDD. What's up here?
Right now "Enterprise class" SLC Flash is $4/GByte. The STEC SSDs average $200/GByte (street price). A 50X markup??? Hmmm...maybe all of this Enterprise SSD hype is more about the boatloads of money that EMC and the SAN vendors are making on SSD, and less about any kind of ROI for customers.
For our applications, Enterprise SSD can't deliver an ROI until $/IOPS reach at least 1/10th the price of HDD, roughly $0.20 per SPC-1 IOP. Let's hope Pliant can do it.
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