STec Cozies Up to Microsoft with SSD Appliance

Mike Vizard

With interest in all things relating to Flash memory on the rise, sTec is looking to make it easier for IT organizations to deploy solid-state drives (SSDs) in Windows environments.

At the Microsoft Tech Ed 2013 conference, sTec today unveiled the sTec 3000 storage appliance, which packages Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012 software running on Intel Xeon processors with up to 96TB of SSD storage per appliance.

While there is considerable debate over what degree primary storage will move into some form of Flash memory, just about everybody agrees that a considerable number of applications will be relying more on SSDs going forward.

According to Ali Zadeh, corporate senior vice president and chief marketing officer, and general manager of the Systems and Software Group, sTec, the price points of SSD storage technology have reached the point where they are more than competitive with hard disk drives. And while the cost of hard disk drive solutions may still fall, Zadeh notes that because SSDs are a lot easier to manage, there are significant intangible benefits to using SSDs for primary storage, not the least of which is significantly greater application performance.

Capable of supporting up to 1.2 IOs per second, Zadeh says that support for Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012 brings software-defined storage management capabilities that are readily available to most IT organizations to an SSD appliance, because sTec is priced on average at about one-third of competing offerings.

The end result, says Zadeh, not only makes SSD storage easier to manage and affordable, but reduces the amount of time it takes, for example, reducing I/O intensive application workloads from days to hours.

While there is a lot of emphasis on the cost per GB of SSD storage these days, the benefits of Flash memory technology compared to hard disks go considerably well beyond pricing. In most instances, making use of Flash memory as primary storage is going to be roughly the equivalent to comparing a modern IT system to one that is dependent on archaic mechanical components. That doesn’t mean that hard disks are going away altogether. But it does mean that as a Tier One storage mechanism for delivering I/O performance, the days of the hard disk drive are coming to a close.

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