by Josh Shaman

Micron Announces P420m PCIe Application Accelerator

Micron is announcing the release of their new P420m PCIe accelerator card in both half-height half-length (HHHL) and 2.5" form factors, making it the first MLC NAND PCIe SSD in the 2.5" form factor. The Micron P420m provides high performance and reliability with low latency, with a higher capacity than previously offered with the SLC-based P320h. These features make the P420m optimal for enterprise server, appliance and storage platform deployments geared towards read-heavy applications. For an example of just how capable the P420m is, in MySQL OLTP Sysbench benchmark, it delivered over 3,200 transactions per second. The P420m also increases the performance of applications such as online transaction processing, data warehousing and virtualization.

The Micron P420m features engineering enhancements over the prior SLC-based P320h that enable it to perform under even the most stressful application workloads. The P420m shares the same custom-designed ASIC controller as the P320h, but differentiates itself with the use of MLC NAND and power backup features. Power backup ensures that in-flight data is written even in the event of a power failure. In terms of performance, Micron is gearing the P420m for read-heavy scenarios and listing peak read bandwidth of up to 1.8GB/s for the 2.5" version and 3GB/s for the HHHL card. Random read transfer speeds are claimed to be up to 430k IOPS read for the 2.5" PCIe SSD and up to 750k IOPS for the HHHL model.


Dell PowerEdge R720 12G with ExpressFlash

The Micron P420m also incorporates Extended Performance and Enhanced Reliability Technology (XPERT) architecture, which uses firmware algorithms and hardware enhancements to combine the storage and controller. This enables the P420m to keep latency at a minimum, complete data transfers quicker and deliver more capacity and power efficiency. Micron has additionally included specially designed firmware and drivers, fully involving themselves in the engineering process for maximum quality and efficiency. Write performance details we not included at launch with software improvements still being dialed in.

Micron's two form factors with the P420m suggest that some organizations will want to maintain the HHHL form factor for their rackmount servers, but some others will want the 2.5" version. The 2.5" model is much easier to service with access from the front of the server. With this, administrators won't have to turn off their server to service the drive, minimizing downtime. However, only the HHHL form factor P420m will be offered in the highest 1.4TB capacity. Currently Dell is the only manufacturer to support the 2.5" Micron PCIe SSD, as seen in models such as the PowerEdge R720 12G we reviewed this year, although more compute vendors are expected to pick up the standard this year.

Availability

The Micron P420m is currently being sampled with production expected to begin in June 2013. The 2.5" version will ship in 350GB and 700GB capacities, while the HHHL version will be offered in 700GB and 1.4TB versions.

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