Another way of addressing memory life is something called "wear leveling," or the use of software to distribute data more evenly across the silicon so as to not wear out one area faster than another, and thereby prolonging the life of erasable computer storage memory. But wear-leveling software is still in its infancy.
Yet another issue facing SSD adoption is error correction, or the ability to fix errors caused by noise or other impairments during data transmission, which is more difficult to perform on more cost-effective MLC memory. Donatelli said EMC is using more reliable SLC NAND drives and has added a lot of its own intellectual property to the drives to ensure that they are as reliable as the Fibre Channel disk drives used in the Symmetrix arrays today.
"Part of the work we've been doing over this amount of time is working on things like write leveling, working on the algorithms," Donatelli said.
A lot of that work EMC performed on SSD over the past two years encompassed two areas: Symmetrix system changes to make sure the array could take advantage of SSD speed and IOPS capability; and drive reliability, ensuring it is reliable enough for the enterprise. "We've been working on this for two years. This is not simply take a drive off the shelf and plug it into the system and you're done," Donatelli said.