Sandisk Launches PCIe Solid State Accelerators (SSAs)

Subject: Storage | July 2, 2012 - 09:21 PM |
Tagged: ssd, slc, server, sandisk, PCIe SSD, flash, enterprise, caching

Flash storage company Sandisk has recently jumped into the world of enterprise PCI-E caching SSDs – what they are calling Solid State Accelerators. Currently, they are offering a 200GB and 400GB model under the company’s Lightning PCIe series. The SSDs feature a proprietary Sandisk controller driving 24nm SLC NAND flash, a PCI-E 2.0 x4 interface, and maximum power draw of 15 watts.

The Lightning Accelerators use the NAND flash for Sandisk’s own foundry and offer a large performance boost for servers and workstations over hard drives and SATA SSDs. It is capable of 410 MB/s sequential reads or 110,000 IOPS. Further, when using 4KB and 8KB blocks, the drives can reach 23,000 and 17,000 read/write IOPS respectively. Other specifications include an average response time of 245 microseconds, and less than 30 millisecond maximum response times. The Solid State Accelerators also feature sustained read and write latencies as low as 50 microseconds.

 

SandiskSSA.jpg

Sandisk has built the drives so that they can be configured as boot drives, storage drives, or caching drives. The company supports up to 5 drives in a single system, for a maximum of 2TB of flash storage. In addition, Sandisk is offering up its Flashsoft software that allows the Lightning Accelerators to be used as caching drives on Windows-based systems. Unfortunately, that is an additional cost which is not included in the already pricey SSDs (good thing for corporate expense accounts!).

Speaking of pricing, the 200GB LP206M has an MSRP of $1,350 while the 400GB LP406M has an MSRP of $2,350. Both cards have five year warranties and a MTBF rating of 2 million hours. You can find more information on the Sandisk Website.

It will be interesting to see how this Sandisk accelerator stacks up to the likes of the Intel 910 and FusioIO drives! The FusionIO FX, for example, gives you 420GB of QDP MLC NAND for $2,495, which works out such that Sandisk has a slightly lower cost-per-gigabyte value and SLC flash. We will have to wait for some independant reviews to say which drive is actually faster, however.

 

Source: Sandisk

Intel 313 Hawley Creek SRT Caching Drives Now Available

Subject: Storage | April 7, 2012 - 08:15 PM |
Tagged: Intel SRT, Intel, caching, 313, 25nm

Intel is continuing the Intel SRT caching technology with two new Single Level Cell (SLC) SSD drives in both 2.5” SATA and mSATA form factors. The new Intel 313 series SSDs come in 20 GB and 24 GB capacities and are available for purchase now. Intel hopes that vendors will integrate the caching drives into their machines to improve performance while offering lots of storage with a mechanical hard drive.  They further advertise the drives as "ultrabook ready."

SSD-313-series-288x288.png

The specifications can be found in the chart below, but they do seem to be a little strange, in that the larger capacity drive is actually slower in 4K random and sequential reads (which does not seem correct). After all, who would pay extra money for a slower caching drive (and a measly 4GB extra capacity) where read speeds are going to be more important than write speeds as far as general desktop performance.

  Intel 311 Intel 313 20 GB Intel 313 24 GB
Random 4K Read IOPS 37,000 36,000 33,000
Random 4K Write IOPS 3,300 3,300 4,000
Sequential Read 200 MB/s 220 MB/s 160 MB/s
Sequential Write 105 MB/s 100 MB/s 115 MB/s
Manufacturing Process 34nm 25nm 25nm
NAND Type SLC SLC SLC
Price ($USD) 119.99 (retail) 119.99 (retail) 139.99 (retail)

Compared to the previous generation "Larsen Creek" Intel 311 series SSD, the new "Hawley Creek" drives offer faster sequential read and write speeds.  The 24 GB Intel 313 drive does manage to beat both the 20 GB Haswell and previous generation Intel 311 drive on 4K random writes, but otherwise the new drives are equal to, or slower than, the previous generation in 4K random IOPS (input/output per second).  Considering the new drives are retailing for the same or more than the previous generation, the new Intel 313 SSDs really are not looking all that promising, despite the move to a 25nm NAND manufacturing process.

I am personally waiting for reviews to come out on the new Intel 313 drives before making a final decision, but they are nonetheless perplexing.  More information is available here (PDF).

*Edit by Allyn*:

The 'odd' differences in performance are due to the channel routing. The 20GB model has the standard Intel 3Gb/sec controller using 5 of the 10 data channels (similar to the old 40GB X25-V). Each of those channels is routed to a 4GB SLC die. This lays out to 5 TSOP packages with 1 die each. The 24GB model also uses the same controller and channel layout, but those 5 channels are routed to 6x 4GB dies. This is an odd configuration, and assuming Intel kept the same PCB layouts, the 2.5" model has provision for additional mounted TSOPs but the mSATA PCB is too tight on room, meaning they would have had to shift only one of the 5 flash packages to a double stacked configuration. More to follow on that once we see these in the flesh.

Source: Intel