Nimbus Data's ExaDrive DC100 SSD is as roomy as they come


When SSDs started to show up in PC build guides for enthusiasts, the first question on my mind was "why are they 2.5" drives?" As it turns out, SSDs are complex devices and making them physically bigger isn't necessarily going to increase their capacity. There are some exceptions, though, like Nimbus Data's new ExaDrive DC100. The name is informative enough—this drive is a datacenter-focused SSD that holds one hundred terabytes.

If the name Nimbus Data isn't familiar to you, you're probably not in the target market for this product. The company has been peddling its flash-based products for the better part of a decade and made waves during last summer by delivering a 50-TB SSD. Now Nimbus has upped the ante and doubled the capacity of its top-tier offering. The ExaDrive DC100 is a SATA SSD in the 3.5" form factor usually reserved for hard drives.

Nimbus Data claims the DC100 is not only the world's highest-capacity SSD, but also the world's most energy-efficient solid-state drive. The stated 0.1 W/TB number (which we presume is active power consumption) is certainly impressive. Extremely-high-capacity drives like these sometimes have poor performance, but Nimbus says the ExaDrive DC100 can hit 500 MB/s in sequental transfers going either way. More remarkably, Nimbus says the DC100 can reach 100,000 IOPS in both random read and write workloads. That kind of read performance would be impressive for any SATA SSD, but the write performance is especially outstanding.

Enterprise SSDs are often rated for up to 5 drive writes per day (DWPD). Likely owing to the enormous capacity of the DC100, Nimbus Data guarantees the drive for "unlimited" writes over its five year warranty. Because of the SATA interface, you'll peak at around 0.5 DWPD in any case, so the "unlimited" write warranty isn't as crazy as it seems. The big question mark on these drives is their price tag. Nimbus has a whole page of total-cost-of-ownership comparisons, but there are no actual dollar figures. In the market these drives are targeting, though, the no-doubt-precious up-front price will be of little concern.

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