A Hybrid to die for!

This Fourth of July will go down in my books as the most memorable Fourth.  On that day, I think that I died and went to heaven, in a manner of speak.  Nearly a week later, as I write this blog, I have yet to wipe the Cheshire-cat grin on my face from taking a Porsche 918 Spyder for a spin.  The adrenaline-pumping, pupil-dilating and terror-inducing power of the Spyder hurtles you down the road from 0 – 60mph in under 2.5 secs every time you floor the pedal. The mind-bending acceleration comes from a pair of electric motors rated at 285hp coupled with a flat-crank, 608-hp 4.6-litre V-8 gasoline engine that deliver a combined 830 ft-lb of torque.  The launch feels like warp speed but even more amazing is the imperceptible transition from electric traction to V-8 power with seemingly unending thrust. It took a moment or two before my brain caught up with reality and out came the expletive-laden exclamations of shock and awe.

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Ensconced in the belly of the beast, as I took in the bevy of electronic sophistication, I was left wondering if heaven would be hard pressed to match the ethereal serenity of the Spyder’s cockpit that was awash in premium leather and carbon fibre.

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Welcome to world of Supercars or should I say the new age of Supercars.  The Porsche 918 is what you call a plug-in hybrid supercar and it’s a hybrid to die for For the uninitiated, you can learn more about the 918 Spyder here or vicariously experience the thrill of driving one by watching this excellent video journal by Chris Harris here.

Before I let your jealousy consume you, let me assure you that I am not in the market for a Spyder – I just can’t afford one (it retails for $845,000 – yes, you read it right!) and I am far from achieving Carl Icahn status.  But, I am lucky enough to have a multi-millionaire cousin who can afford to buy one off the lot and perhaps let me drive his new possession.  He and I spent the better part of the morning of the Fourth test-driving the Spyder.So what our IntelliFlash Array Controllers are supporting currently?

The Spyder is a testament to the ingenuity and engineering prowess of Porsche engineers who have pushed the envelope of automotive hybrid technology to vault the Spyder into a new echelon of performance supercars without compromising drivability or luxury.  It also got me thinking about the evolution of hybrid and related technologies.

Originally developed and used in the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid in 1901 by Ferdinand Porsche, hybrid automotive technology hit mainstream when Toyota released the Prius in 1997. The design goals for the first generation of hybrids (Prius and its competitors) were primarily to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions and less about increasing performance.  The performance-hungry and dare I say, eco-sensitive elitists, gravitated to all-electric cars like Tesla and shunned the hybrid.  The 918 Spyder represents the next-generation of the hybrid car.  With the Spyder, Porsche has proven that a hybrid platform, if designed well, can deliver on all the valuable attributes namely, performance, emissions, economics and range.  I believe that in the long run, hybrid technologies will be the underpinnings of the mainstream market for automobiles because you don’t have to compromise on any of the attributes that you value.

Call me insane, but I see parallels in the enterprise storage market.  Storage vendors have long used different grades of persistent media in their systems but haven’t been able to deliver on the attributes that matter to IT buyers – data management, data protection, I/O performance and storage economics.  It wasn’t until the last few years that hybrid technology vendors like Tegile have radically changed the landscape with flash-enabled storage solutions that offer disruptive economics without compromising data protection and management features.  While the performance-hungry application crowd is clamoring for all-flash array solutions for a small subset of their workloads, the mainstream IT market hungers for a storage platform that seamlessly ties together performance, economics, reliability and longevity across media types.  An enduring storage architecture must seamlessly support rapidly evolving media types (high performance flash, dense flash, dense HDD and persistent RAM) to deliver on the performance and economics required to run business critical application workloads.  In my humble opinion, hybrid storage architectures are the future of enterprise storage.  I’ll talk more about Tegile’s IntelliFlash hybrid flash storage architecture in an upcoming series of blogs.

But getting back to my hybrid car musings, when I go to heaven I will have only two wishes of the Almighty Lord:

  1. A fully paid-for Porsche 918 Spyder and
  2. Miles and miles of twisty, windy roads in heaven.

When you see donuts in the sky, you’ll know who’s tearing it up in a hybrid supercar. :-)


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