Storage company Xiotech has added solid-state disks (SSD) to its Magnitude 3D disk drive array product, one of the first to do this.

Magnitude arrays can already have three tiers of hard drive storage: Fibre Channel; economy Fibre Channel; and serial ATA. Adding fast but expensive SSD provides a top-end, fourth tier.

If you have a database or other applications that need the fastest possible performance then it has to be based on SSD. It costs a lot but you get near RAM speed when accessing data. The rest of your data is kept in a separate storage system meaning two separate installations to acquire, maintain and manage.

With Xiotech's announcement you can have one storage device to handle both SSD and hard drive-stored data. It's one box instead of two, one management interface instead of two, one data protection subsystem instead of two, with consequent savings of management effort and time.

It's also fashionably in tune with the information life cycle management (ILM) ideas of our time with different types of data stored on different tiers of disk, defined by access speed, capacity and expense.

Adding an SSD top tier is quite logical in the ILM scheme of things, with the ability to move data onto and off the SSD and other tiers as needed.

There can be 6GB- to 1.2TB of SSD storage, accessed over Fibre Channel, in a Magnitude 3D 3000 array. In single drive random write and read tests, Xiotech has measured the SSD sustained IOPs rate to be as much as 18 times that of a Fibre Channel drive.

Existing customers can add it to their arrays. No pricing information was released and the SSDs will be available later this quarter.