Siggraph 2005: Texas Memory Systems shows 32 GByte solid state storage system

Los Angeles (CA) - At the annual Siggraph convention held in Los Angeles, Texas Memory Systems demonstrated a solid state (all RAM) storage unit that promises to blow away traditional hard-drives, both in performance and price. The unit dubbed the RamSan-400 holds 32 to 128 GByte of RAM and can sustain 3 GByte per second transfer rates. Starting Price is steep at around $65,000.

According to Texas Memory Systems officials, the unit is a hit with government/military customers and the German Stock Exchange. Customers are seeing a seven to fifty-six times improvement in speed over traditional hard-drives.

"Any application that requires a high number of concurrent users will benefit. Database and batch processes seem to do the best."

Backup mechanisms prevent loss of data if power is cut. First, redundant power is supplied by dual power supplies that are hot-swappable. Second, three batteries will keep the unit running for about five minutes. At the five minute mark, the date on RAM is transferred to a four disk RAID array. When the transfer is complete, the unit shuts down.

Solid-state intermediate storage will probably become more common as databases become larger. Databases must answer multiple queries per second, often in a random fashion. This behavior taxes even the fastest hard-drives and companies are willing to pay a premium to solve the problem.

Solid state storage, however, is becoming more attractive in consumer storage as well. Samsung recently said that it will combine harddrives with Flash memory to increase harddrive performance. For ultimate performance, Gigabyte announced a RAMdisk that can hold up to 4 GByte of DDR1/2 memory - which is likely to offer a pretty close instant-on experience on Windows computers.

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