EMC has announced that it will start selling flash memory drives in a bid to replace some of its slower disk drive arrays. However, although solid state drives are faster and more frugal when it comes to power consumption, they have an astronomically high price per gigabyte.
According to IDM, EMC will use the more reliable, faster, more expensive single-layer flash memory to produce ultra quick 73GB and 146GB arrays that will be positioned at the high end of EMC's product gamut in the form of the Symmetrix DMX-4 storage system.
Due to the fact that they don't require mechanical parts, solid state disks are cooler to run, less prone to mechanical failure and pack even more capacity per cubic metre.
The company says that using SSDs translates into a "98 percent reduction in power consumption in a transaction-per-second comparison".
However, the fact that EMC plans to sell those drives for 30x the price of comparative disk-based entreprise drives might prove to be a major obstacle.
But, as Robin Harris of StorageMojo acknowledges, it could also prove to be a window of opportunity for EMC's rivals - like IBM and Texas Memory Systems - who can push out SSD solutions at a lower price and nibble away EMC's market share.
EMC plans to use solid state drives from a little known manufacturer - STEC.
Northland Securities analyst Richard Shannon agrees that EMC's announcement is also going to give more legitimacy to a technology that has been waiting to blossom in the past two decades or so.