Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/23/micron_p400m/

WHOMP! Micron drops middle ground server and storage SSD

Outstanding? Well, er...

By Chris Mellor

Posted in Storage, 23rd January 2013 12:22 GMT

Micron has launched the P400M solid state drive targeted at the data centre server and storage array market. With a 7PB written endurance level, it's not an outstanding drive performance-wise, but let's have a look at its overall features.

The P400M is a follow-on to the 2011 vintage P400E, an entry-level enterprise SSD described by Micron as a boot and log SATA drive aimed at cloud and Web 2.0 applications. Like the P400E the "M" uses 25nm MLC NAND and has a 6Gbit/s SATA interface. It comes in 100GB, 200GB and 400GB capacity points and has updated firmware and can endure 10 full drive writes a day for five years.

This endurance number is for the 400GB model and is the equivalent, Micron burbles contentedly, of writing every picture posted to Facebook daily for 311 days straight, about 78 billion photos total1 based on 250 million 90KB photos posted each day.

Here's how the speeds of the "E" and "M" models compare:

P400M

We can categorise the M simply as a performance- and endurance-enhanced E. The M's endurance is down to firmware that Micron brands as XPERT, standing for eXtended Performance and Enhanced Reliability Technology and it better manages the drives flash resources to extend its life and provide consistent performance. There's a PDF describing it here.

Here is a table comparing the performance numbers for mainstream data centre server and storage array SSDs - and it seems that Micron is joining august company. All the numbers are "up to" numbers by the way and assume they apply to the largest capacity model listed.

SATA Datacentre MLC SSDs

A selection of SATA interface data centre MLC SSDs. Click on picture for a larger version that won't hurt your eyes.

What can we glean from the table? First of all, Micron is in the mid-range random read and write IOPS area. It has optimised the product more for reading than writing but that's to be expected. Its sequential read and write performance is below the mid-point for this set of drives. We're left considering the P400M as no performance champion and a product that will earn its spurs from reliability, performance consistency and endurance.

The endurance is okay, with a sample of numbers from the other drives looking like this:

Micron's new drive is on the same high level as other long-lived drives. It's not outstanding but it's up there.

Is all this solid but not outstanding performance and longevity enough? It won't be if other suppliers match Micron's performance consistency, data integrity and endurance, yet have faster out-and-out performance.

Many data centre SSDs use the SAS interface and Micron, we expect, will introduce a SAS version of the P400 later this year. ®