EMC plans to introduce a line of solid state drives (SSDs) based on flash memory that will replace some disk drives used in the company's high-end Symmetrix storage arrays.

EMC plans to offer SSDs with capacities of 73GB and 146GB starting from the current quarter, the report said. A Symmetrix storage array equipped with several SSDs, in addition to traditional disk drives, should cost around 10 per cent more than one using only disk drives, it said.

Solid state drives use memory chips instead of magnetic platters to store information. These types of drives are generally faster and consume less power than traditional disk drives, but they are also significantly more expensive.

The Journal indicated EMC plans to use single-cell flash memory in its SSDs, which will allow for higher performance but costs more than multi-cell flash memory.

Single-cell flash memory stores one bit of information in each memory cell, while multi-cell flash memory store two. But multi-cell flash is significantly slower, making single-cell flash more suitable for high-performance applications such as SSDs.

Single-cell flash memory is also more durable that multi-cell flash. Each cell on a multi-cell flash chips is generally good for 10,000 write/erase cycles, while the cells on single-cell chips can last for 100,000 write/erase cycles. The durability of a flash memory chip can be increased with the use of wear leveling, a technology that writes data equally to all of the memory cells on a chip instead of using the same cells repeatedly.

Drives based on magnetic platters are capable of enduring unlimited write/erase cycles, but they have moving parts which can break down. SSDs do not have moving parts.

STEC - the maker of the solid-state drives that EMC plans to offer, said its current line of SSDs, which use wear levelling, last more than two million write/erase cycles. There was no indication of how many write/erase cycles the EMC solid-state drives will be capable of sustaining.