Micron 5100-series SSDs make speedy datacenter storage cheaper


— 4:34 PM on December 5, 2016

Being one of the world's leading NAND flash manufacturers, one could say that Micron would like nothing more than to see hard drives go away. The company launched another salvo today with its 5100-series SATA SSDs packed with 3D TLC NAND, aimed at servers and datacenters. Micron says these drives are "cost-optimized" and offer a better value than normal server hard drives. We take that to mean they're affordable, at least as server-grade hardware goes.

The new drives come in three flavors: ECO, PRO, and MAX, with a 93K IOPS random read rating across almost the entire board. The ECO drives are offered as 2.5" drives in capacities up to 8TB and M.2 sticks as large as 2TB. These drives have a fairly low 4K random write IOPS rating, going from 9K in the 8TB drive up to 31K IOPS in the 480GB model (yes, that order is correct). The endurance rating on the ECO model ranges from 0.45PB to 8.4PB of writes, increasing with capacity.  Sequential speeds are 540MB/s for reads and 520MB/s for writes, except for the 480GB unit which writes at a maximum of 380MB/s. Support for TCG Opal and AES encryption is on the menu, too.

The PRO series is, well, a little more serious. The 2.5" models top out at 4TB, while the M.2 versions are available in capacities up to 2TB. Write speeds on these models range from 26K IOPS to 43K IOPS depending on the model. Like the ECO lineup, the faster drives in the series when it comes to random writes are the 480GB capacity models. The bigger drives don't vary much in terms of random writes, around 37K IOPS give or take a thousand. Endurance ratings go from 0.65PB to 17.6PB written. For sequential operations, all drives read at 540MB/s. The 240GB drives can hit 250MB/s during writes, the 480GB model can go as high as 410MB/s, and the remaining models do 520MB/s.

Finally, there's the MAX lineup. Along with superior performance ratings, the MAX drives offers support for FIPS 140-2 cryptography and improved durability. Micron only offers these drives in 2.5" housings with capacities up to 2TB. Random write ratings for the MAX drives range between 74K IOPS and 66K IOPS for the higher-capacity models, and 48K for the smaller 240GB unit. Since these are the premium in the lineup, their endurance ratings start at 2.2PB and go up to 17.6PB of writes. Sequential read speeds are once again 540MB/s across the board. When it comes to sequential writes, the 240GB model can do 310MB/s, the 480GB variant ups the ante to 460MB/s, and the higher-capacity models top out at 520MB/s.

Micron indicates that the 2.5" drives in capacities up to 2TB are in production right now, along with the M.2 variants up to 960GB. Higher-capacity units, meanwhile, are "sampling." For the full specs list, you can check out Micron's datasheet PDF here.

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