In November of last year, Hitachi and Intel collaborated on an Ultrastar SSD400S solid-state drive designed for enterprise. The drive paired a jointly developed flash controller with gobs of SLC NAND, and today it gets a little brother in the Ultrastar SSD400M. That last letter in the model number is important because this new drive swaps SLC NAND for the more common MLC variety.
Lest you think the new Ultrastar is a mere consumer-class SSD, Hitachi tells us that the drive uses “enterprise-grade” NAND from Intel. The memory chips are built on the same 25-nm process as those inside Intel’s 320 Series SSD. However, the enterprise-grade stuff offers higher performance and better write endurance thanks to differences in how the chips are programmed. I suspect there’s quite a bit of binning involved, as well.
According to Hitachi, the 400GB version of the new Ultrastar is capable of writing 4TB of data a day for five years. The 200GB flavor is good for about half that, or 3.7 petabytes in total.
What about performance? The Ultrastar is said to reach maximum sequential transfer rates of 495MB/s with reads and 385MB/s with writes. Random 4KB reads and writes top out at 56,000 and 24,000 IOps, respectively. The SSD400M’s random performance is better than that of its SLC-powered predecessor, but the new drive’s sustained throughput is a little lower.
The Ultrastar is already being qualified by some OEMs, and it’s due to ship in the channel in September. Don’t expect to be able to pop one of these into your desktop rig, though. The SSD400M will only be available with a Serial Attached SCSI interface.