God only knows what you'd do with it, but if monster storage clusters are your thing, you could do worse than check out Dynamic Solutions International Corp.'s new solid state disk systems.
Running at what the company says is 250 times the speed of the hard drives, it won't come cheap, but it will be fast. Chicago's Eurex U.S. exchange has just installed one. It uses DRAM memory to store data instead of spinning platter hard drives, giving an access time of just 20 microseconds.
With an electronic trading platform used by 1,800 traders in 700 locations worldwide, and 86 million contracts traded in April (that's 4.3 million a day), the exchange was experiencing disk queuing and wasn't getting the most out of its processors and so switched to backend storage based on a SAN of clustered solid state disks (SSDs).
Traders link to the system over FDDI, T3 or ATM links, and the Eurex back office servers connect via 2Gbit/s Fibre Channel links and switches to the SSDs. The system uses DSI's 3200 solid state disks, with two to eight Fibre Channel ports that can push out 250,000 IOPS -- up to 3Gbit/s -- and contain 16-64 GB of capacity. There are two hot-swappable power supplies and three hot-swappable drives per DSI 3200. Uptime is five-nines -- 99.999 percent.
DSI's Chris Johnson unsurprisingly sees a range of uses for such systems: "Trying to get the general population to think beyond the big RAID systems is our biggest impediment to solid state disk acceptance," he said. "We find that the larger customers gravitate towards the concept because they have done everything possible in conventional terms, i.e. larger servers and faster RAID. The need for faster response times drives them to think outside the industry-created box."
With a stock exchange, the decision -- and cost -- could be justified as response and completion time are absolutely vital to its success. For everyone else though, it's simple a case of admiring the Ferrari of storage systems from afar.