Intel unveils the “World’s Densest” SSD – What is this thing?

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Intel has unveiled a new Solid State Drive dubbing it as the “World’s Densest, totally silent Solid State Drive”. The SSD is the size of a typical 12-inch ruler but can store a 32 Terabytes of data. The new SSD is certainly going to help improve the performance of data centers significantly.

With the need for faster data processing growing exponentially in data centers, the need for Solid State Drives has drastically gone up. Traditional spinning disk drives are terribly slow and given that a large amount of data is stored in data centers, it’s no surprise why this is a problem. Moreover, these disks are noisy, they can crash unexpectedly and they can overheat causing data centers to also invest in expensive cooling solutions.

The ruler-shaped PCIe-based QLC Intel SSD D5-P4326 can hold up to 32 terabytes. It draws just one-tenth the power of a traditional spinning hard drive. (Credit: Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation)

Therefore, the need for much faster disk drives has always been there. SSDs are much faster and better than spinning disks in all aspects. The only downside to Solid State Drives is that they aren’t many SSDs out there that can store large amounts of data. The price difference between the two types of drives is also significant.

However, Intel created a new form factor which was designed to cram as much storage as possible into a “1U” server form factor while keeping in mind the heat factor. The Intel® SSD D5-P4326 uses this new design and has the same amount of storage as a spinning disk drive while taking up one-twentieth of the space and consuming one-tenth of the power. More on the design:

“The new SSD is Intel’s densest drive ever, and is built on Intel® 3D NAND technology, which stacks memory cells atop each other in multiple extremely thin layers, instead of just one. Memory cells in the D5-P4326 are stacked 64 layers deep.”

Apart from being much faster, the ruler-shaped SSD provides much more benefits. Firms no longer need to have a large amount of space for their disks nor do they need to incur air conditioning expenses to cater to overheating issues. According to Intel, multiple ruler-shaped SSDs can be stacked up together to give one petabyte of storage in a single server slot. That is hugely impressive and what’s more impressive is that this kind of setup requires half the airflow to keep cool.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that large companies such as Microsoft are turning to the  Intel® SSD D5-P4326 because it’s an overall better choice over the traditional hard drive. It’s set to change the way data centers are set up as it looks to solve the lack of storage issues that SSDs would bring with them.

Another important thing to note here is that SSDs are generally more expensive than the spinning disk drives, however, given how Intel’s latest Solid State Drive is much more space and power efficient, the 12-inch SSD is actually much more cost effective than the current drives being used. As SSDs continue to improve, the future is bright for cloud computing and data centers.

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