High-endurance Micron P400m SSD targets enterprise

Micron has a new SSD for the enterprise crowd. The P400m combines familiar technologies with a few new twists to provide a high-endurance drive that purportedly delivers consistent long-term performance. At the heart of the P400m sits Marvell's 88SS9187 flash controller, which Micron has surrounded with 25-nm NAND pulled from its own production line. Although Micron doesn't make any claims about the endurance of the flash memory, it does say the drive is capable of withstanding 10 full disk writes per day for five years. Do the math, and that works out to about seven petabytes for the 400GB model.

A new suite of features dubbed XPERT—eXtended Performance and Enhanced Reliability Technologies—deserves some of the credit for the P400m's Ironman endurance. This collection of goodies includes read management algorithms that adapt to the state of the NAND, a RAID-like parity scheme that protects against data loss, internal data path protection that combines data with LBA information, and special tuning based on the characteristics of the NAND. Interestingly, Micron pre-cycles the flash to reduce the risk of premature failure; NAND is apparently more prone to errors very early in its lifespan.

A more granular wear-leveling system also falls under the XPERT umbrella. According to Micron, dealing with the drive in smaller chunks improves efficiency, resulting in lower drive latencies. Background operations can be interrupted to service host requests, which is claimed to reduce write latencies and provide more consistent performance.

Speaking of performance, the top 400GB model is rated for 350MB/s sequential reads and 300MB/s writes. The datasheet says the drive can crunch 55k random read IOps and 17k random write IOps. The 200GB model has similar specifications but can only manage 16k random write IOps. Random write performance drops to 14k IOps for the 100GB model, which is also limited to 50k random read IOps and a sequential write speed of only 210MB/s.

All three models share the same 6Gbps Serial ATA interface and 2.5" form factor. The drives are only 7-mm thick, so they should be appropriate for thinner blade servers. They all have onboard power-loss protection, as well. Micron says the P400m is currently selling through its distribution network and directly to OEMs. Unfortunately, the accompanying press materials make no mention of pricing.

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