back to article Intel said to feed Google solid state drives

Intel is working its close ties to Google for solid state storage drive sales, according to a report. Sources have told Digitimes that Google plans to test out SSD storage in an effort to lower power consumption at its vast data centers. The ad broker-cum-search engine will turn to Intel for the SSD gear. And, if true, that's …

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Coat

An Oxymoron Shurley?

When does a disk (or disc in ICL parlance) cease being a disk? A disk is round thing that may or may not revolve and may or may not be used to record data magnetically or optically. What a disk is not is RAM, DRAM or any other type of memory.

A new name or acronym is needed to describe this not so new and not very exciting technology - could this mean the return of the Virtual Disk as last seen in IBM 370's? The resulting acronym is pretty unfortunate though.

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Hard disk rename

Perhaps 'off-line storage', or 'hard storage' would be preferable?

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@John and @ Ashlee

Shouldn't SSD be solid state drive, then there's no mention of circular flat things and it accurately describes what it is.

As to it not being exciting, removing one of the few mechanical components remaining in our boxes is very important.

And the continuing advance of storage technologies is key to the instant on computer.

Imagine a computer where there's no distinction between RAM and long term storage. Where powering off doesn't destroy information in the working memory (because the working memory is the same as the long term memory).

It's not quite a paradigm shift, but it's pretty close.

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@Solid State Drive

Solid State Drive isn't really correct, as nothing is being 'driven' (no tape or disc spindle). Unless you count electrons as being 'driven'.

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Unhappy

@Steve

"Imagine a computer where there's no distinction between RAM and long term storage. Where powering off doesn't destroy information in the working memory"...

Oh yes, I can imagine the consequences of that :)

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Coat

good grief

can I suggest we take this discussion down to the pub?

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Paris Hilton

Shift

"Imagine a computer where there's no distinction between RAM and long term storage. Where powering off doesn't destroy information in the working memory"

Imagine a computer that you never have to turn off, because it uses almost no power (and never freezes up, requiring a reboot!), and you can hot-swap the drives.

And the imagine a computer with no off-switch. And then imagine Colossus: The Forbin Project. Erm.

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Joke

Segway's Law

Back in the dark ages, when computer logic was built around vacuum tube technology, the theoretical size limit for a computer system was determined by the number of vacuum tubes, the MTBF of said vacuum tubes, and the speed with which a technician on roller skates could locate and replace a faulty component.

Given that flash memory has a limited life span of only a few thousand writes per location, then if flash is used then will we see a similar formula being developed, updated to replace vacuum tubes with flash memory chips, and roller skates with a Segway?

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Terminology

Probably Solid State Secondary Storage, or better, Solid State Persistent Storage.

SSSS, or SSPS. Neither really cuts it.

Then again, it isn't as if quite outdated terminology isn't still in common use. Core dumps anyone?

As for no distinction between RAM and persistent store, well there has been a lot of work here. The AS400 was IBM's version. Managing the name and type space gets very interesting. Security too. How you handle system crashes is a worry. A reboot simply restores the corrupt system and it crashes again..... The whole idea of what an operating system changes. File systems are the enemy.

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Happy

How about an HRD, or Hard Rectangular Drive,

Commentators may be interested to note Dataslide's developments of a magnetic media based storage with the architecture of RAM.....

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More money than sense

High-end SSDs can run hotter than equivalent disk-based drives, certainly when you take into account the reduced storage density currently possible. Could prove to be about as false economy for Google as "energy saving" lightbulbs in the home... But hey, the laws of physics are no match for damned canny marketing.

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Gates Horns

@Ashley

"Imagine a computer that you never have to turn off, because it uses almost no power (and never freezes up, requiring a reboot!), and you can hot-swap the drives"

Then imagine the frustration and extra man hours of work ceated when the 1st line support person gets the punter to reboot the computer just for it to load up the same state again and again and again.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think we'll keep RAM and storage as completely different entities thank you very much :)

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What shortage ?

What shortage ? , with Intel's newest production facility fab 28 (an older sister plant fab 18 built in 1999 mostly subsidised by the US Tax payer directly and indirectly producing the cheap flash memories we see today) only just about to come on line now , but capable of drinking enough water to feed at least a million thirsty camels at a place called Qiryat Gat(ex philistine city of Gath(wine press) of ye olden biblical times , some one at Intel does indeed have a very wicked sense of humour here) using 45nm technology on 45cm silicon wafers ?

Intel ain't that dumb , when you are number one you think both big and ahead at the same time in order to stay number one !

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Paris Hilton

Why have disks in most of the systems?

Why not just boot from common images held in network storage?

Why spends oodles of cash to replicate the same OS image over and over again?

Paris, because she knows a thing or two about duplicating images.

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SSD costs & longevity

So does this mean the power consumption of SSD is low enough to make it cheaper in the long run than using traditional HD's, despite the absurdly high $/£ per GB of SSD compared to HD?

And what about the SSD write cycle lifetime? I know when the Asus Eee came out there were a lot of people who were worried about the SSD failing within a year or two because of the write cycle lifetime of flash storage - not something I'm worried about with this Eee because it's not a critical device for me that I regularly read/write gigabytes of data to it's drive & SD card, but servers tend to be a bit more harsh in that respect.

I look forward to the day when SSD is cheaper per GB than HD, hopefully Google's interest will push this one step closer.

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What for?

I mean Google should only have harddisk at their storage facilities. For new systems it makes very little sense to hold that on a harddisk of flash. I mean you can easily load the OS from a central server on boot-up and then work with it in RAM.

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Diskless

Diskless would seem the way to go, although I would imagine Google leverages the distributed local hard drives to power their products which leverage the distributed storage capacity. This would seem somewhat of a solution looking for a continued problem.

The rest of us are embracing diskless as an enabler of flexibly repurposing servers without having to move bits to a local hard drive.

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Diskless?

How exactly do you have a diskless data storage centre?

Nowhere in the article did it say that Google was putting these SSDs in as local disks.

When I made my earlier comment about computers with no distinction between long term storage and working memory I was aware that it's been done in the past.

Maybe I should have clarified with imagine it for a users desktop PC.

Obviously reboots wouldn't solve crashes. Maybe some form of 'base configuration' would need to be stored in permanent infrequently accessed storage of some type. In the event of a crash some bios routine would be triggered to refresh the 'working' storage from this image, and up it comes. Then you have the issue of updating that image with installation and configuration data as a user doesn't want to have to reinstall programs everytime they've hard booted the machine. Of course you could also bork this base image, but then you can bork your OS installation at the moment, so nothing new there.

I think that where I'm going with this looks like some for of permanent storage (it could even be spinning bits of metal disk) with your base image on it, but sufficient working memory to take the entire image and hold it in a non-volatile medium. So with the exception of when you needed to do a hard boot you'd be working from and in your very fast non-volatile memory. An FS would still need to exist, one for the boot image and another 'virtual?' one for user data in the working memory (like a RAM disk I suppose).

Most of the time you'd have nearly 0 latency access, instant on programs and instant on and off PC, literally being able to just pull the plug out. Most of the performance issues that every day users perceive are in the opening of programs and the booting of the PC, most of the time of which is used transferring data from the HD to the RAM and processing the startup routines of said program, these would be completely eliminated.

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