The term “form factor” is used in the computer industry to describe the shape and size of computer components, like drives, motherboards and power supplies. Intel has unveiled its new “Ruler” SSD form factor as part of their Optane enterprise launch. Designed to revolutionize storage at the enterprise level, Intel’s “Ruler” SSD will be bound for high-density storage racks with up to 1PB (one Petabyte) of data in a 1U server.
Intel’s “Ruler” SSD
“To achieve the same storage with 10TB drives requires a fully-loaded 100-bay 4U server.”
Named after its long, skinny shape, Intel’s new “Ruler” form factor maximizes storage density while using the least amount of power and cooling energy. With the vast majority of SSDs coming in the 2.5-inch form factor rather than the 3.5-inch size, Intel saw an opportunity to experiment with new ways of handling data storage. Intel, in other words, is at the forefront of innovation while the industry shifts to solid state storage.
“New form factors were being made available, such as using PCle add-in cards and the M.2 slot.”
Intel’s Optane and NAND SSD’s
With little to no information on release dates, spec details, or connectors, Intel is merely planting the seeds for the future release of its Optane SSD’s and 3D NAND SSD’s in the “Ruler” form factor. According to a recent TechGage article, “Intel may end up using a standard SATA or U.2 SAS-enabled connector.”
What has been confirmed is Intel’s two all-new SATA-based enterprise SSD’s featuring Dual Port connectors. These SSD’s will feature “drivers that have two SATA connectors in an active/active state for failover between two hosts.” Capable of working with two systems simultaneously, the D4500 and the D4600 drives integrate seamlessly with Intel’s next gen 3D NAND. The newest version has an expected storage capacity of 7.68TB.
The Flash Memory Summit Unveiling
Intel’s Dual Port system will find its way into the all-new Optane enterprise SSD. Unveiled earlier this year at the Flash Memory Summit (2017), the Optane will come equipped with the first memory system that includes PCle add-in cards such as the DC P4800X. With a focus on updated several of its SSDs in the data center as well as replacing enterprise HDDs, Intel will introduce a consumer version coinciding with the launch of Kaby Lake – an M.2 16GB and 32GB ‘catching’ system.
Intel is separating itself from competitors by taking advantage of PCIe slots. The unique shape of its “Ruler” SSD allows for much higher density (up to 1PB in a 1U space). Intel also states that its new dual port drives (including updated DC D4500, D4502 and D4600 Series) will have “lower latency, more IOPS, and higher bandwidth than other SAS SSDs and HDDs that these drives will be replacing.”
The ruler form factor is scheduled to hit the consumer marketplace in the “near future” and the dual port SSDs will be available in the third quarter of this year (2017). Whether it’s scientist using DNA as a medium for storage, IBM breaking its own areal recording density record, or Intel’s breakthrough “Ruler” form factor, the race for greater storage capacity is in full effect. It’s just a matter before one of these developments reach the consumer market.