EMC further embraces in-server flash storage with more memory cards

Just a day after Violin Memory announced a new line of PCI-Express flash memory cards to provide quick-to-access storage inside servers, EMC (s emc) said Tuesday it will offer new PCIe cards of its own.

EMC’s new XtremSF PCIe cards come in a few sizes. Enterprise multi-level-cell models with 550GB and a 2.2TB capacities are now available, and 700GB and 1.4TB models will come in the second quarter of the year. More sizes will follow. Last year EMC introduced two PCIe cards — 350GB and 700GB — under the name VFCache. Those two have joined the XtremSF line alongside the four new cards, said Barry Ader, general manager of EMC’s flash business unit.

EMC and others in the data center storage market have turned nearly 180 degrees from where they were just a few years ago, when they decried in-server flash memory from such companies as Fusion-io (s fio) and sang the praises of separate flash memory arrays instead. Server-side storage eliminates the bottleneck between the processor and storage in separate boxes, decreasing latency.

It’s also a reaction to a fast-growing market, with webscale companies such as Facebook spending for fast-acting server-side flash storage. Fusion-io reported a 43 percent gain in year-to-year revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012, coming in at $120.5 million, according to figures on file with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

With more products coming into the flash PCIe market, prices could fall further, accelerating enterprise adoption. Then again, companies could still find a way to compete in this new market by offering different capabilities, which mean other companies would need to jump in before prices race to the bottom.