Toronto -- As flash becomes more pervasive in datacenters, vendors are diversifying their SSD offerings to improve economics and address different workloads. In recent weeks, Micron, SanDisk, and Samsung have all expanded their SSD portfolios.
Micron’s latest enterprise-class M500DC SATA SSD is designed specifically for datacenter storage platforms. Most notable about Micron’s new SSD is that it seeks a balance between read-centric drives and high-end enterprise drives. It uses Micron’s 20nm MLC NAND Flash technology and fifth-generation custom firmware.
Matt Shaine, Micron’s product marketing manager, says one of the critical features enterprises are seeking in SSDs is random write performance for applications such as transactional databases, virtualization, big-data analytics, and on-demand content streaming. They are willing to compromise on endurance so they can have theses performance and features for a competitive price. The M500DC SATA SSD occupies the middle of Micron’s SSD portfolio, with the M550 and M510 at the personal storage end and the P420m and P320h at the other extreme, which can act as IO accelerators.
Gregory Wong, principal analyst at Forward Insights, said enterprises are starting to understand workloads better and that they don’t have to overprovision with more costly high endurance SSDs. (They don’t necessarily need an SSD that supports 10 writes a day.) He said Micron is targeting those enterprises that only require two to five writes a day, which means it can offer a drive at lower price point.
Meanwhile, SanDisk, which just recently expanded its CloudSpeed SATA product family, is following up that announcement with new Optimus and Lightning SAS SSDs, including the Optimus MAX 4TB SAS SSD, which all vary widely in terms of drive writes per day, including one that supports up to 25 drive writes a day.
Brian Cox, senior director of outbound marketing for SanDisk Enterprise Storage Solutions, says at 4TB, the Optimus MAX 4TB SAS SSD is the highest capacity SAS SSD on the market, and the goal is to make it price-competitive with SATA SSDs, as well as enable datacenters using 15K rpm SAS HDDs to continue to use the same SAS drivers.
In total, there are four workload-optimized Optimus SAS SSDs using’s SanDisk 19nm eMLC: the Extreme, for write-intensive application workloads for financial transactions and big-data analytics; the Ultra, also for write-intensive application workloads such as the analysis of large data sets and capable of 25 full drive writes per day; the Ascend for mixed-use application workloads; and the Eco, for mixed-use and read-Intensive application workloads such as OLTP, email/messaging, and financial transactions.
SanDisk also introduced three Lightning Gen. II 12 Gbit/s SAS SSDs: the SLC Ultra for write-intensive application workloads, designed with high endurance for the analysis of large data sets; the eMLC Ascend for mixed-use application workloads; and the eMLC Eco for read-Intensive application workloads.
Cox says the market has reached a point where SSDs are expected to outpace HDD density, and reflects the trend of data storage moving to a chip-based architecture. In the past, SSDs could not compete with the capacity of HDDs, but now the traditional hard drive cannot keep up with speeds required for enterprise applications. While the enterprise storage unit of SanDisk is relatively young, Cox said it is growing quickly.
Samsung is also expanding its SSD product line with the PM853T, a three-bit-NAND-based SSD for servers and datacenters. Available in densities of 240GB, 480GB and 960GB, its uses Samsung’s 10nm-class 3-bit NAND flash components and advanced controller technology. The new drive features a sequential read speed of 530 MB/s, while writing sequentially at 420 MB/s. It also will read data randomly at 90,000 IOPS and handle sustained random writes at 14,000 IOPS.
The company said the new PM853T SSD will enable IT managers to optimize their SSD upgrades at investment levels similar to those of consumer SSDs.
According to market research firm IHS iSuppli, the global SSD market is expected to grow approximately 30% from $9.4 billion in 2013 to $12.4 billion in 2014. The high growth rate is expected to continue over the next several years, reaching up to $20 billion in 2017.