Micron's M500DC server SSD mates Marvell controller with 20-nm flash


— 12:20 PM on April 22, 2014

Add another SSD to Micron's stable of enterprise-grade products. The M500DC combines a 6Gbps Marvell controller with Micron's own 20-nm MLC NAND. A handful of server-friendly features are layered on top, including die-level redundancy to compensate for physical flash failures, onboard capacitors to provide power-loss protection, and advanced signal processing techniques to extend the life of the NAND.

The M500DC is available in 2.5" and 1.8" form factors with 120, 240, 480, or 800GB of storage. Here are the official specifications for each model:

Capacity Sequential read/write Random read/write Endurance
120GB 425/200 MB/s 63,000/23,000 IOps 0.5PB
240GB 425/330 MB/s 63,000/33,000 IOps 1.0PB
480GB 425/375 MB/s 63,000/35,000 IOps 1.9PB
800GB 425/375 MB/s 65,000/24,000 IOps 1.9PB

A few things jump out right off the bat. The 120GB model is the runt of the litter, with lower performance and endurance ratings than its higher-capacity peers. The 240GB and 480GB variants have similar performance specs, but the 800GB drive is tagged with a surprisingly low random write speed rating. That drive actually has less overprovisioned spare area than its 480GB sibling, which is the opposite of what usually happens with higher-capacity SSDs. Micron cites customer demand as the motivation behind making the 480GB model the sweet spot in the range.

The 800GB drive's overprovisioning handicap also affects endurance. While the M500DC's endurance spec doubles with each step between 120GB and 480GB, the 480GB and 800GB offerings are both rated for 1.9PB of total writes. We're talking petabytes, though, so that's still a heck of a lot of writes.

Regardless of the capacity, all the members of the M500DC family have five-year warranty coverage. The drive is currently in production, and Micron is selling it directly to server makers. There's no word on whether the M500DC will be available as a standalone product through normal distribution channels, though.

   
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