With a half-decent SAN with 15k drives and 4Gbit fibrechannel connections, you can get 1000+ IOPS without the storage system even breaking a sweat. Under load it can easily give 10 times that.
This is something that's everywhere in the business world.
Pair this with a bunch of cores and a few GB of memory, and you can have an RDBMS that chews through impressive amounts of data. Unless, of course, you optimize nothing and swamp it with lame queries that do nothing that table scans. Funny enough, the same people that are fine with doing everything in code are the ones that can't be bothered to think more than one second about what kind of queries they are throwing at the database.