Hard drives weren't the only products HGST revealed during its enterprise storage event this morning. The firm also uncorked its first PCI Express SSD family based on the NVMe protocol. The Ultrastar SN100 Series is currently sampling in two flavors: a 2.5" form factor and a half-height, half-length expansion card. The card-based SN150 comes in 1.6TB and 3.2TB capacities, while the 2.5" SN100 matches those sizes and adds an 800GB option for good measure.
Both drives combine an unspecified controller with Toshiba's MLC NAND. Since HGST used the occasion to announce an extension of its longstanding storage partnership with Intel, which has its own NVMe SSD controller, it seems plausible that chip could underpin the SN100 Series.
HGST general manager Mike Gustafson explained that the SN100 line is more than just the sum of its hardware components. Special sauce drawn from the firm's own expertise is drizzled on top, enabling a claimed 2X improvement in performance and endurance in best-case scenarios. As an example, Gustafson described a caching setup in which data is usually written twice—once to the drive and again to the caching index—but can instead be written only once through HGST's proprietary wizardry.
The Ultrastar SN100 is targeted at datacenters and high-performance computing applications. At least for the time being, HGST's solid-state storage efforts remain very much focused on enterprise-class products.
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