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Samsung swaggers in with 100GB SSD

Gain speed, save power

Samsung Semiconductor has launched a 100GB solid state drive for enterprises that can carry out ten times more I/Os per second than a fast hard disk drive and offer a 30X power saving.

The SS805 single level cell (SLC) SSD offers a 230MB/sec sequential read speed and a 180MB/sec sequential write speed. It uses 1.9 watts of power in active mode and 0.6 watts in idle mode. The device has a function that saves data that is being processed and hasn't been stored yet if there is a power outage.

The idea is to replace four 15,000rpm hard drives with one of these 100GB SS805 SSDs which offer 25,000 random read IOPS and 6,000 random write IOPS. Samsung says that a 15K, 146GB, 3.5-inch HDD will cost $0.43 per IOPS, a 76GB 2.5-inch one $0.82/IOPS whilst its SS805 SSD costs $0.05/IOPS.

Another way Samsung looks at this is to compare kilowatt hours per year per 100,000 IOPS. Its new and oh so green SSD offers 2,767 kWh/yr per 100k IOPS whereas, it says, 73 and 146GB 15Krpm Fibre Channel HDDs need 30 times more, 133,493kWhr/yr per 100K IOPS. Get your head around that.

In other words, the new Samsung enterprise SSD for tier zero use in storage arrays probably costs a whole lot more than a fast hard drive but delivers more IOPS and uses a whole lot less power. This has similarities to the double glazing benefit argument: pay lots to install double glazing and save on your heating bills over several years.

Samsung points out that enterprise data centre operators face being sqeezed by power supply limitations, so replacing four short-stroked fast hard drives with one SSD using less power should be appealing. It would be a stronger appeal if most end-user customers weren't strapped for cash and if the power supply squeeze was happening right now for most potential customers rather than being a future threat.

With relatively few storage array suppliers and several flash SSD vendors like Intel, Micron, Seagate, Samsung, STEC and others competing for their business then competition will be intense. STEC, EMC's SSD supplier, uses Samsung NAND chips but these new products are fully-fledged SSDs with an 8-channel controller and Samsung firmware.

In performance terms Samsung's new SSDs are fairly similar to Intel's 64GB X25 E SSD with its 250MB/sec sequential read and 170MB/sec sequential write figures. This device has a 10-channel controller compared to Samsung's 8-channel one. It uses 2.4 watts when active and 0.6 watts when idle.

So Samsung offers higher capacity, lower power needs, a slower sequential read but faster sequential write. These advantages could well appeal to storage array suppliers looking to put tier zero flash into their arrays.

Samsung hasn't released any pricing or interface - SATA, SAS or Fibre Channel - information, but says the new SSDs will be available later this quarter. ®

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