TMS has produced what it claims is the fastest storage in the world, working at more than 600 times the speed of your normal disk drive.

The RamSan solid state disk has been designed to work with InfiniBand clustering technology and provides faster access to data for those working in high-performance computing environments, the company explained.

The low latency and high speed of InfiniBand make it the fastest storage in the world, it claims, and the US government appears to agree, using RamSan for its Echelon spying system.

RamSan data can now be accessed across a 10Gbit/s Infiniband link in both pure Infiniband and mixed Infiniband /Fibre Channel environments. Clustered high performance computing (HPC)environments can now boost I/O speed by replacing hard drives with SSDs which work at near-main memory speed.

Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst of The StorageIO Group, thinks the development could herald data centre upgrades: "The availability of high performance solid state disk with InfiniBand connectivity may encourage more enterprises to upgrade their data centres to address I/O performance bottlenecks."

A RamSan drive has an access time of 15 microseconds, 250 times faster than a hard disk drive. A good hard disk drive provides 250-300 random I/O's per second. InfiniBand-based RamSan drives offer up to 50,000 random IOPS per single-ported controller, 200,000 random IOPS with four controllers.

For HDD applications moving to solid state drives provides an immediate performance boost. The San Diego supercomputer centre speeded up its metadata backup operation by 38 times after converting from hard drives to TMS RamSan SSDs. InfiniBand RamSans are available now from TMS partners.

Single-chip drive

Meanwhile, SimpleTech has produced a single-chip drive with either an IDE or a USB interface and capacity ranging from 128MB to 4GB. It can replace Compact Flash at a lower cost because there is no longer a need for a CF connector on a system board. The product is currently deployed within automotive location devices, networking equipment and point-of-sale terminals.

SimpleTech has extended NAND flash reliability and usability time. There is a built-in ECC engine which can detect up to five-byte errors and correct up to four-byte errors. Wear-leveling algorithms are claimed to guarantee 2,000,000 write/erase cycles.

It's available today in engineering sample form. Mass production is planned for next year and OEM pricing is available upon request.

This product is a reminder of how quickly flash memory drives are developing. Another is the idea of 30GB USB thumb drives carrying entire PC software stacks.