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SSD Storage

Intel expects hard drives to be replaced by SSDs and cloud storage

Intel’s master plan involves replacing local storage with Optane and putting “bulk storage” SSDs into the cloud. Intel plans to hit the hard drive harder with its one-two punch of Optane and NAND SSDs this year: The goal is to knock local storage entirely out of the PC, and into the cloud.

Intel certainly has plans for its SSD business, including adding 1TB and even 2TB capacity points to products like its 760P SSD. But so does everyone else. The more interesting question is what Intel will do with its nearly unique Optane technology, and how it will convince users that it’s worth the investment.

Optane occupies a unique niche between a hard drive and DRAM, and originally served as a caching technology for hard drives or SSDs. The first Optane memory gave way to larger, bootable Optane-powered SSDs like the 900P SSD, at 280GB and 480GB capacities. Quick SSDs have become a preferred upgrade for notebook PCs, but Intel has yet to make Optane mainstream.

Intel hopes to begin changing that with the launch of products like the Optane 800P, a rather small 58GB/118GB M.2 Optane SSD announced at CES. It will begin shipping this month, according to Rob Crooke, who oversees nonvolatile storage products for Intel. In the future, Intel could even combine Optane memory and SSD. This year, Intel will release Optane within a DRAM form factor for the data center, Crooke said, a signal that Optane as a memory technology will eventually make its way into client PCs. Continue reading