Intel Aims Longer-lasting SSDs at Data Centers

Posted on September 16, 2011 By Stuart J. Johnston

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Intel this week introduced its latest solid-state drive (SSD) series, which uses less-expensive multi-level cell (MLC) technology to replace the single-level cell (SLC) technology used in the company's current SSDs for high-performance datacenter applications.

Dubbed the SSD 710 Series, the new drives are designed to replace Intel's existing X25-E Extreme SSDs.

The difference is that the X25-E Extreme uses generally more reliable single-bit SLC NAND memory technology while the 710 Series uses compute-quality multi-bit MLC 25 nm NAND, according to a company statement. Both product lines use Serial ATA (SATA) interfaces.

The 710 Series also takes advantage of Intel's High Endurance Technology (HET), which it claims provides SLC-quality endurance at MLC costs.

"The Intel SSD 710 Series gives enterprise datacenter and embedded users extreme endurance and performance, enabled by Intel's High Endurance Technology based on Intel 25nm MLC NAND technology," Rob Crooke, vice president and general manager of the Intel Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, said in a statement.

That provides flash endurance that is comparable to SLC NAND SSDs -- up to 1.1 petabytes of random writes -- while supporting larger storage capacities. For instance, the X25-E Extreme SSDs are available in 32 GB and 64 GB capacities, while the new 710 Series is available in 100 GB, 200 GB, and 300 GB capacities.

In contrast, the X25-E supports 1 petabyte of random writes on the 32 GB model and 2 petabytes for the 64 GB model, according to Intel documents.

Additionally, the 710 achieves a 4K random write performance of up to 2,700 input/output operations per second (IOPS) and 4K random read performance of up to 38,500 IOPS, Intel said.

Further, the 710 Series provides updated security and reliability features, such as enhanced power-loss data protection to reduce potential data loss during a power failure, added data security with surplus NAND flash memory to provide system protection in case a NAND die fails, and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 128-bit pre-configured encryption technology to protect the data from an external threat or internal system issues, the statements said.

The Intel SSD 710 Series costs $649 for the 100 GB version, $1,289 for the 200 GB model, and $1,929 for the 300 GB version, in 1,000-unit quantities.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.


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