Return of the Guru

Solid State Drives Do More With Less

Ara Trembly
Insurance Experts' Forum, August 19, 2010

One of the stickiest problems facing virtually every data-intensive business—and insurance is at the top of the list of such businesses—is where to put the volumes of data we need to keep the lifeblood flowing.

Of course, we have many choices when it comes to data storage, but each of those choices presents its own set of problems. Storage capacity is a daunting issue, with the amount of data that crosses our transoms increasing at an exponential rate from year to year. For that reason, many are turning to the cloud—but some are concerned with the security issues posed by leaving critical applications and critical data “somewhere out there.”

On-site storage solves many of the security issues of the cloud, but hardware and media have more limited capacities, and with so much data flowing in and with massive storage rapidly becoming a necessity to be in compliance with government regulations, enterprises are caught between a rock and a hard place. Clearly, if we’re going to store massive amounts of data on-site, we need physically smaller media and drives that can hold more data than current devices.

Seemingly with this issue in mind, SanDisk Corp. has announced the first product in a new category of embedded solid state drives (SSD) that are smaller than a postage stamp, and offer higher capacities and performance than existing storage solutions.

“The SanDisk integrated SSD (iSSD), the first high-capacity product within this new category, is designed for use in fast-growing mobile computing platforms such as tablet PCs and ultra-thin notebooks,” the company says. 

SanDisk adds that its (iSSD) weighs less than a paper clip and provides “the fastest high capacity embedded storage solution at this physical size.” It is designed for mobile computing platforms, but really, why stop there? The current drive capacities range from 4GB to 64GB; in other words, this little postage stamp device has the same storage capability on the upper end as the hard drive in many desktop computers. I have no doubt that sizes will continue to diminish and capacities to grow as solid-state technology continues to develop.

According to SanDisk, the new drives are already fast enough for use with today’s advanced operating systems, including the very popular Windows 7. Of course, the primary advantage of these tiny but powerful drives is that they involve no moving parts, thus virtually eliminating the chance of mechanical failure.

At the moment, SanDisk is just making the initial drives available to OEMs and selected manufacturers, focusing on portable devices. Don’t be surprised, however, if solid-state technology makes significant inroads into larger and more challenging storage environments. The tiny form factor will be a blessing to insurance, financial services and other enterprises that desperately need a place to store the waves of critical data that keep expanding in size and scope daily.

Ara C. Trembly (www.aratremblytechnology.com) is the founder of Ara Trembly, The Tech Consultant, and a longtime observer of technology in insurance and financial services.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Ara using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at ara@aratremblytechnology.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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