Last week Fusion-io raised the bar considerably. While I don't normally quote much from sources, this time I can't resist:
Achieving a 1TB/s sustained bandwidth with existing state-of-the-art storage technologies requires close to 55,440 disk drives, 396 SAN controllers, 792 I/O servers and 132 racks of equipment. Fusion-io can achieve this same bandwidth with a mere 220 ioDrive Octal cards, housed in Infiniband-attached I/O servers running the Lustre parallel file system. This 1TB/s Fusion-io based solution requires only six racks or less than 1/20th the rack space of an equivalent, high-performance, hard disk drive-based storage system.
What's important about this quote is its specificity: .5% of the number of drives, and ancillary gear. The other important point is that Fusion-io adapted their PCIe cards to an external rack. The rackable folk (STEC in particular) won't have as easy a task of taking their drives to the slot. Whether the controller does the job of wear leveling and the like, only time will tell.
And then there's the air of mystery, "two presently undisclosed government organizations" are the buyers. Could it be CIA/NSA doing a real-time database??? Only The Shadow Knows.