Sandisk Skyhawk SSDs swoop down on servers


— 10:00 AM on February 8, 2017

Western Digital is expanding its subsidiary Sandisk's portfolio of SSDs with a pair of massive drives designed for its enterprise customers. Sandisk claims that the new Skyhawk series of drives offer capacities up to 3.84TB and impressive speeds, combined with lower-than-average power consumption. The Skyhawk drives are compliant with the NVMe 1.2 protocol and use four lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity. Unlike most NVMe drives released recently, the Skyhawks come in a 2.5" form factor instead of little M.2 gumsticks.

Sandisk offers the new drives in regular and Ultra flavors. The standard models will arrive in two capacities: 1.92TB and 3.84TB. These drives should be able to hit 1572 MB/s sequential read speeds and 1227 MB/s on sequential writes. Random read speeds ought to reach 250K IOPS, while random writes speeds can go up to 47K IOPS. The Skyhawk Ultra drives have smaller capacities, but purportedly offer lower latency and higher bandwidth. They come in 1.6TB and 3.2TB capacities, and should post 1783 MB/s sequential reads and 1258 MB/s sequential writes. The Ultras should hit 250K IOPS when doing random reads, and 83K on random writes.

Readers with exceptional memories will recall that Western Digital bought a company called Skyera in 2014. At the time, Skyera's primary product was a storage system called skyHawk that purportedly extended NAND life by reducing the electrical charge when writing to cells. It seems that this technology has found a new home in the new Skyhawk drives, as Sandisk claims that they are highly durable and have half the power consumption of comparable 25W PCIe SSDs.

Sandisk will offer five-year warranties on both drives. The company says it's sampling the drives to some of its partners, and expects to make them widely available in the second quarter of 2017.

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