Solid state drives could soon become a staple in the enterprise sector thanks to a recent commitment from IBM. Big Blue announced plans yesterday to invest $1 billion in the research and development of flash storage to help design and build servers, storage systems and middleware for better flash storage integration.

I've been preaching the benefits of flash storage in desktop and notebook systems for years as the single best upgrade you can perform to boost overall performance and reduce power consumption, noise and heat generation. It's many of these same attributes that IBM will benefit from due to the rise in data use from smartphone and tablet users.

Solid state technology is able to process data much faster and more reliably than traditional hard drives with mechanical internals. IBM systems and technology group general manager Ambuj Goyal said the economics and performance of flash storage are now at a point where the technology can have a revolutionary impact on enterprise, especially with transaction-intensive applications.

In addition to the investment, IBM also launched a new FlashSystem line built with businesses in mind. These systems, based on technology from Texas Memory Systems, use flash storage exclusively with capacities reaching up to 24 terabytes.

Clients running business analytics applications will realize energy reduction up to 85 percent while systems installed in cloud-based data centers will use up to 80 percent less energy. We're told that Sprint Nextel is one of the first companies to sign up with plans to install nine flash-based systems at their data center.