Home Electronics Intel’s Ruler SSDs Can Cram 1 Petabyte into a Single Server Rack

Intel’s Ruler SSDs Can Cram 1 Petabyte into a Single Server Rack

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A significant chunk of personal computers are shipping with SSDs instead of bulkier spinning drives for your local data. However, a lot of your bytes living in the cloud are probably still stored on spinning drives, which are available in larger capacities at lower prices. Intel is trying to change that with a new form factor for SSDs that could push server capacities into the petabyte range. It’s called the “Ruler” form factor.




Unsurprisingly, Intel’s new SSDs in the Ruler form factor are shaped like a ruler. They’re long and skinny, eschewing the legacy 2.5 and 3.5-inch chassis limits of current consumer SSDs. These drives don’t need to be any particular shape to start with, as they’re just stacked solid state NAND chips inside. A hard drive needs to make room for spinning platters and other mechanical components. So, Intel opted to build the Ruler SSDs to fit into a 1U server rack as efficiently as possible. It’s exactly 1U tall, so they can be slotted in one after the next for incredibly dense server storage.

Intel is being a coy about offering specifics on capacity and interface, but it says that slotting Ruler SSDs into a server can get a 1U server to more than 1 petabyte of space. That’s enough to store 300,000 movies in HD resolution. Not bad for a single rack. Doing that with conventional 10TB hard drives would require a 4U server with 100 drive slots. If you filled an entire 42U rack cage with Ruler drives, you’d have a whopping 42 petabytes of storage. Netflix’s engineers are probably keen to get their hands on Ruler SSDs.

Servers

Ruler SSDs will be available with standard 3D NAND storage or Intel’s new Optane memory technology for improved speeds and efficiency. Either option will be much more efficient in terms of power usage than older spinning drive, though.

So, Intel’s Ruler drives are likely to be a significant improvement when it comes to space and power efficiency. The company is hoping this encourages data center operators to upgrade to what is sure to be a more expensive piece of hardware. Intel hasn’t actually released pricing or availability details yet. All we know is the new drives will be rolling out “in the near future,” but don’t get too excited. They’ll most definitely be outside the price range of users, and it’s not like they’d fit in your computer anyway. Well, unless you build in a server rack.