If you're disappointed with the speeds currently offered by off-the-shelf solid-state drives, perhaps Fusion-IO's latest toy will interest you.

As reported over on Softpedia, the company has announced the ioDrive Octal - a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 card which holds eight of its ioDrives to produce a RAID-alike single device with greatly improved performance over a single drive.

The device, which is aimed at the high performance computing market, has allowed the company to create a system capable of a 1TB/s sustained data transfer rate - yes, that's one terabyte a second - by connecting 220 of the ioDrive Octal cards together using InfiniBand switched fabric technology and Sun's open-source Lustre parallel file system.

While 220 ioDrive Octal cards - which represents a wallet-melting 1,760 individual ioDrive SSDs - might sound like a lot, Fusion-IO believes that in order to get the same throughput from a traditional storage network you would require 55,440 hard disks with 396 Storage Area Network controllers and 792 input-output servers - a total requirement of 132 full-size racks of equipment. The ioDrive-based system takes up less than a twentieth of this space.

Steve Wozniak - yes, that's Apple co-founder Steve Woznaik - chief scientist at the company, says that "IOPS [Input/Output Operations Per Second] are easy," and that "the real power in our architecture was the ability to also scale bandwidth."

Each individual ioDrive Octal card is capable of providing up to 5TB of storage with 6GB/s of bandwidth, and offers 800,000 IOPS based on a 4K packet size.

While the device remains a bespoke system at present, Wozniak has declared the company's intention to create a commercial version in the future to bring "the power of this solid-state storage technology from the world of HPC to the enterprise." After that, of course, we could hope to see something similar start to trickle down to the consumer level.

Does the idea of a PCI-E 16x card filled with SSDs excite you, or is this a technology which is destined to be nothing more than a plaything for government agencies with more money than sense and a real need for rapid data transfer? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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