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STEC this out: Flash biz bakes 2TB solid-state drives

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Enterprise-grade flash maker STEC is bringing out two 2TB whoppers: an SAS SSD and a PCIe flash card.

The 2TB s840 is a refresh of an existing enterprise-grade SAS SSD which uses 2-bit MLC flash and has 200GB, 400GB and 800GB capacities. The 2TB model will arrive in February. This s840 delivers up to 75,000 random read IOPS, 11,000 random write IOPS, 500MB/sec in sequential reads and 300MB/sec when sequentially writing. STEC said the s840 can do up to 120,000 non-random read IOPS and up to 104,000 non-random write IOPS but these numbers don't help us compare it with other drives.

If we compare it to last week's Micron P400M enterprise SATA SSD we see that Micron's product does 55,000 random read IOPS, 17,000 random write IOPS, 350MB/sec sequential reads and 300MB/sec sequential writes - and that the STEC drive is optimised for reading.

It has a five-year warranty with endurance rated at ten full drive writes a day, and the usual battery of wear-levelling, flash management, power management and data integrity checks needed in drives of this class.

The second STEC product is the s1120, an up to 2TB PCIe flash card in what used to be called the Kronos line. It comes in 480GB, 960GB and the 2TB capacity point, using MLC flash. There is a faster and smaller 240GB SLC version. We're not given random read and write IOPS numbers for the MLC product but are told it does 1.4GB/sec in sequential reads and 600MB/sec sequentially writing; that's quite a bit quicker than the s840 SAS drive. As a comparison Fusion-io's 1.28TB MLC ioDrive Duo does 1.5GB/sec sequential reads and 1.1GB/sec sequential writes.

STEC said the SLC 240GB s1120 does 135,000 random read IOPS, 165,000 random write IOPS, and the same 1.4GB/sec sequential read rate and 1.1GB/sec sequential writing. It draws under 25 watts when operating.

The company has also refreshed its EnhanceIO drive-agnostic caching software and added non-disruptive write-back caching to improve "performance while reducing latency with improved data integrity". STEC has also added usability improvements and a GUI through which users can view stats and analytics.

STEC's 2TB products should ship in February. Both the SSD and PCI card products are available in unlimited write versions, according to STEC, a logical impossibility according to others. The 2TB s840 prices start from $7,995 and the 2TB s1120 from $9,425. The EnhanceIO cache software costs $295 for Linux and $495 for Windows. It's available now and you can download it from here. ®

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