Intel's answer to our storage woes: Petabyte 'Ruler' SSDs?

Unlike the legacy 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch form factors, the new Intel's 'Ruler' SSDs is based on Intel's 3D NAND technology.

Intel's "ruler" form factor-based SSDs can store up to 300,000 HD movies. Intel

As we consume loads of data in our daily lives, Intel has built a solution to store not any gigabytes or terabytes but a petabyte in a single presence. The chip maker has developed a brand new "ruler" form factor-based solid-state-drives (SSDs) that are just perfect for a one-unit server rack.

Unlike the legacy 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch form factors that you might have seen in your systems today, the new "ruler" form factor is based on Intel's 3D NAND technology which offers a storage space for up to 300,000 HD movies. The ‎Santa Clara, Calif.-headquartered company has also used its Optane technology that bridges between a DRAM and storage to deliver memory-like performance at storage-like capacity.

Notably, the new SSDs are mainly designed to consume physical space but provide more storage. This has become a vital requirement for data centres nowadays. With a ruler-like build, the new drive form factor consumes 1U server rack space -- whereas a set of traditional 3.5-inch hard drives to offer 10TB space would require a larger 4U rack. The conventional setup would also demand increased power supply and cooling units.

"We are in the midst of an era of major data centre transformation, driven by Intel," said Bill Leszinske, vice president for non-volatile memory solutions group, Intel. "Data drives everything we do -- from financial decisions to virtual reality gaming, and from autonomous driving to machine learning -- and Intel storage innovations like these ensure incredibly quick, reliable access to that data."

Intel hasn't revealed any details about the availability of the new form factor. However, the company has also launched dual-port SSDs with new storage technologies and replace existing SAS SSDs and HDDs. These new drives will go on sale starting the third quarter this year.

Market growth flat

According to a recent report by IDC, worldwide enterprise storage market resulted in a flat growth in the first quarterwith a 0.5 percent decline year-over-year in the factory revenue. But total capacity shipments were increased to 50.1 exabytes during the quarter, up 41.4 percent year-over-year, and revenue growth expanded 78.2 percent year-over-year to US$1.2 billion within the group of original design manufacturers that serve the hyperscale data centre space.

Intel is likely to take on market leaders like Dell EMC, Hitachi and IBM with its latest developments. Moreover, the new form factors would disrupt the existing data storage space over time.