Intel Embraces 3D NAND for Enterprise PCIe SSDs

Posted on April 01, 2016 By Pedro Hernandez


As part of its Cloud Day media event this week, Intel unveiled new solid-state drives (SSDs) for data center operators and cloud services providers that are looking to faster performance out of their servers and storage systems.

Among them is the new Intel SSD DC P3320 Series, the chipmaker's first enterprise SSD to employ 3D NAND technology. 3D NAND is a stacked chip microarchitecture – 32 levels in Intel's case – that enables flash providers to pack more capacity into smaller physical spaces.

Intel's DC (for data center) P3320 SSDs also features the NVMe interface, enabling rapid data transfers over PCI Express (PCIe) bus. According to tests conducted by Intel, the drives can deliver 3.45x faster performance under business analytics workloads compared to the company's own SATA S3510 enterprise SSDs.

The SSDs are available both as a half-height, half-length PCIe card and in a 2.5-inch (u.2) version. Capacities range from 450 gigabytes (GB) to 2 TB for the 2.5-inch model, while the PCIe choices boil down to 1.2 TB and 2 TB.

In terms of the performance, the 2 TB versions take the lead with input/output operations per second (IOPs) ratings of up to 365,000 read and 22,000 write (random 4K). Sequential read and write throughput figures are 1.6 GB per second and 1.4 GB per second, respectively.

Intel also teased the DC P3520 Series, which the company claims "will deliver significant performance and latency improvements over the DC P3320." The company is aiming these high-end SSDs at cloud, storage virtualization and Web hosting environments.

In another first for Intel, it announced its DC D3700 and D3600 Series, the first dual-port PCIe SSDs from the company, enabling to connect to two host systems simultaneously. The 2.5-inch NVMe drives are available in capacities of up to 1.6 TB for the high-performance D3700 Series (95,000 IOPs random 4K write) and 2 TB for the D3600 (30,000 IOPs random 4K write).

The new entry-level DC S3100 Series SSDs are Intel's first enterprise triple-level cell (TLC) NAND SATA SSD. The drives are suitable for workloads requiring highly-reliable, low-latency operations. The mid-level endurance drive is designed for edge caching, search indexing, operating system boot-ups and similar applications.

Finally, Intel took the wraps off its E (for embedded) 5400s Series and E 5410s Series SSDs for the burgeoning market for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Offering storage capacities of 48 GB to 180 GB, Intel feels the SSDs will find a home in ATMs and smart signage. E 5410s models feature Power Loss Imminent (PLI) technology to help minimize data loss during power failures.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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