By Dave Simpson
– Micron today introduced enterprise-class solid-state disk (SSD) drives with 6Gbps SATA interfaces. Most competing SATA SSDs are based on 3Gbps SATA.
Micron's primary competitors are Samsung, STEC and Intel. (Micron partners with Intel at the NAND wafer level, but competes with Intel at the drive/controller level.)
Micron's RealSSD P300 SSDs use single-level cell (SLC) NAND technology and the company's ONFI 2.1 34-nanometer process technology. The 2.5-inch drives are available in 50GB, 100GB and 200GB capacities.
The company claims "empty-drive" read performance of 360MBps and write performance of 275MBps, according to Kevin Dibelius, Micron's enterprise SSD senior product marketing manager. In "steady state" operation, read throughput is still 360MBps while write performance degrades slightly to 255MBps.
Micron also claims 44,000 I/Os per second (IOPS) on reads and 16,000 IOPS on writes.
Micron worked with Calypso Systems to test a 100GB version of the RealSSD P300 SSDs against Intel's 64GB X25-E and Samsung's 100GB SS805 SATA SSDs. However, it's important to note that the test results compare performance of the 6Gbps SATA-based RealSSD P300 SSDs against 3Gbps SATA versions of the Intel and Samsung SSDs.
In terms of endurance (reliability), Micron claims 3.5PB total bytes written for the 200GB version of the SSD, which equates to writing approximately 1.9TB per day for five years, although company officials admit that this is a theoretical calculation. Dibelius specs the SSDs' endurance rating in terms of ten drive fills per day over five years.
Dibelius says that the RealSSD P300 SSD drives are priced at less than $10 per GB in "OEM volumes," although he did not quantify those volumes, noting that drive pricing varies depending on a number of factors. The drives are sampling to OEMs and integrators now, with production shipments expected in October.
In other SSD-related news today, Seagate and Samsung announced an agreement to jointly develop and cross-license enterprise-class SSD controller technology. The deal appears to focus on Samsung's 30-nanometer multi-level cell (MLC) NAND technology. Neither company provided estimates for delivery of the jointly-developed controllers.
IDC predicts that shipments of enterprise SSDs will grow from about 223,000 devices shipped in 2009 to 3.6 million by 2014, a CAGR of 74%. In terms of revenues, the enterprise SSD market is expected to surge from $424 million in 2009 to around $2.5 billion in 2014, a 48% CAGR.