Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Pillar Data Systems will add solid-state drive technology to its Axiom
storage solutions, allowing solution providers to deliver faster, more cost-effective,
highly available solutions for midmarket and enterprise customers.

The introduction of SSD drives into
Pillar’s Axiom chassis allows solution providers to add a fifth tier of storage
capability to the solution, says Bob Maness, vice president of worldwide
marketing at Pillar.

The Axiom solution and management and provisioning software allows solution
providers and customers to create networked, pooled storage out of various
drive types, says Maness. The software can then allocate which data resides on
which type of storage based on quality-of-service requirements, retention and
performance needs, he says.

 “SSD’s high performance and high
availability allow us to use those drives as the ‘premium,’ or highest-tier,
storage band,” Maness says. “And the solution ensures that only the most
mission-critical data is placed on SSDs, while lower tiers of data are stored
on traditional drive types,” he says. As SSD
technology matures and becomes somewhat a commodity, solution providers can
deliver incredibly high service levels for customers at a much lower cost.

Making this all possible is Pillar’s Quality of Service functionality within
its Application-Aware Storage System, which allows a solution provider or
administrator to easily prioritize the data. They simply define the application
type and service need through a simple drop-down menu. The system then
automatically delivers differentiated storage service levels based on the
business priority of each application. Those storage service levels include
determining which disk drive type (SSD,
Fibre Channel or SATA) to write the data to, says Maness.

While there’s some degree of automation involved, Maness says, it’s
important that designating data priority be controlled manually so there’s no
inadvertent disruption of databases that may be fractured or applications that
may not run if certain pieces are moved, he says.

Along with being able to provision storage, the software also gives solution
providers and administrators customized control of the CPU and each of the
drives to ensure optimum performance.

As SSD costs commoditize significantly
and reliability and durability improve, Maness says the market is ripe for
solutions built around SSD technology. The
increasing onslaught of Internet applications, search engines and
database-dependant applications for business intelligence and CRM
will only further the demand for high-performance, high-availability, low-cost
solutions that integrate SSD, he says.

“Any high-speed database-reliant application needs technology like SSD
that has no latency. The drive doesn’t need to spin around until it finds data
that it needs—it’s  instantaneous,” he says.

SSD’s high availability and performance
also means customers can slash upfront storage infrastructure costs, since they
can fit much more data on solid-state drives than on traditional storage media.

“With SSD, you can actually buy less
premium storage. Customers who traditionally buy Fibre Channel storage
technology can get the same performance from one ‘brick’ of SSD
storage that they previously got from five or six Fibre Channel ‘bricks,’”
Maness says.

These benefits make the introduction of SSD
into Pillar’s Axiom ideal for solution providers who are selling into the
midmarket and large enterprise market, Maness says, but the solution is also
applicable for any smaller business running applications that need the
combination of performance, availability and reliability.

“It’s not so much the size of the customer as it is the type of applications
they are running and how critical the data those applications generate,” he
says.

The Axiom solution with integrated SSD is
currently in beta with three solution providers, and Maness says he hopes to
add a couple more within the next few weeks. The solution will be available to
solution providers beginning in June 2009.