Enterprise SSD Reviews
by Kevin OBrien

STEC s840 Enterprise SSD Review

The STEC s840 is a 6Gb/s SAS SSD targeted toward the high performance enterprise market segment. The s840 features a completely designed and developed in-house controller and firmware stack paired with MLC NAND in a 15mm, 2.5" form factor. It comes in 200GB, 400GB and 800GB capacities and offers sustained read throughput of up to 529MB/s, write throughput of 453MB/s and maximum read IOPS of 118,000. As with most enterprise SSDs, STEC is about more than just raw performance though; STEC has a robust portfolio of intellectual property that gives them certain advantages in SSD design, along with a heritage that goes back to 1994.

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by Kevin OBrien

Intel SSD 910 Series Enterprise PCIe Review

The Intel SSD 910 is Intel's first effort at a PCIe-based application accelerator for the enterprise. Pitched by Intel as the ultimate data center SSD, the SSD 910 may be the first effort by Intel in this form factor, but the components used are well known. The controller in the 910 is an Intel/Hitachi collaboration that has been released in a few Hitachi enterprise SSDs (SSD400M, SSD400S.B) and has a history of strong mixed workload performance. Of course Intel's own 25nm MLC NAND and firmware is involved as well, leading to an integrated application accelerator that's full of Intel storage IP. The net result is performance out of the SSD 910 that can reach up to 2GB/s sequential reads and 1GB/s sequential writes in normal mode and writes of up to 1.5GB/s in high performance mode.

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by Kevin OBrien

Micron RealSSD P320h Enterprise PCIe Review

The Micron RealSSD P320h is a half-height, half-length (HHHL) application accelerator that leverages SLC NAND and a PCIe Gen 2 x8 interface to drive quoted performance of 3.2 GB/s sequential read and up to 785,000 random read IOPS. The P320h architecture is a departure from many of the other recent application accelerators we've reviewed that generally RAID together several flash drives. The Micron offering is different, instead using RAIN (redundant array of independent NAND) with custom controller, which is similar to the approach taken by Fusion-io and Virident. This architecture lets Micron boast some heady speed and latency claims while offering a high-level of data security on the drive. In this review, we test a pair of the 700GB cards and will see not only how quick they go on their own, but how the P320h scales in Windows Server 2012.

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by Kevin OBrien

SMART Storage Systems Optimus SAS Enterprise SSD Review

When SMART Storage Systems (now SanDisk) announced the Optimus SAS SSD months ago, their pride in design, build and manufacture was clear, much like a proud parent parading their first-born. The key from SMART's perspective is being able to better understand NAND to drive enterprise-grade endurance out of consumer grade MLC NAND. The Optimus however goes a step further, pressing SMART's engineering skills by leveraging a custom firmware build on top of a custom controller, giving them even more control over the SSD as a system. The results are impressive for a mainstream enterprise SSD - endurance of 10 full random drives writes per day for five years, along with up to 500MB/s sustained read/write throughput. The specs alone don't tell the whole Optimus tale however. In the intro to this review we've already called the Optimus a mainstream enterprise SSD, which is largely based on the NAND profile. That may be a mistake however. While the Optimus may present SLC-like endurance with MLC NAND, it's also capable of presenting SLC-like performance, with MLC NAND. In some cases it even bests SLC drives, which we'll dive into more below.

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by Kevin OBrien

Kingston SSDNow E100 Enterprise SSD Review

The Kingston SSDNow E100 represents Kingston's first SSD offering designed specifically for the burgeoning entry enterprise market that relies on enterprise MLC NAND to offer a lower-cost enterprise drive designed for largely read intensive workloads. Don't let the lower-cost target fool you though, the E100 is very much enterprise-grade throughout. Kingston uses a SandForce SF-2500 enterprise SSD controller to power the drive and Toshiba's eMLC Toggle NAND. The E100 also features power-fail support to ensure data in-flight makes it to the NAND safely and roughly 20% NAND over provisioning which benefits both SSD endurance and performance.

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by Mark Kidd

pureSilicon Kage K1 Enterprise SSD Review

Enterprise SSD solutions that incorporate eMLC NAND memory are an area of active innovation with a variety of players bringing solutions to market. PureSi is looking to carve out an eMLC niche with its new Kage K1, a 2.5-inch SATA 3.0 SSD that will be offered in a variety of capacities from 50GB to 400GB. We’ve been putting a 200GB Kage K1 through its paces for a few weeks in order to see how PureSi’s eMLC solution stacks up to comparables from incumbents Hitachi, Intel, and Samsung.

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by Kevin OBrien

LSI Nytro WarpDrive WLP4-200 Enterprise PCIe Review

The LSI Nytro WarpDrive WLP4-200 represents LSI's second-generation effort in the enterprise PCIe application acceleration space. LSI builds on an extensive history of enterprise storage products with the newly rebranded line of acceleration products dubbed LSI Nytro. The Nytro family includes the PCIe WarpDrive of course, but also encompasses LSI's Nytro XD caching and Nytro MegaRAID products that leverage intelligent caching with on-board flash for acceleration, offering customers an entire suite of options as they evaluate high-performance storage. The Nytro WarpDrive comes in a variety of configurations, including both eMLC and SLC versions, with capacities ranging from 200GB up to 1.6TB.

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by Kevin OBrien

Fusion-io ioDrive Duo Enterprise PCIe Review

As part of StorageReview's continued advancements in both testing protocol and enterprise lab development, we're taking a renewed look at first generation flash drives that we have previously reviewed. These re-reviews of early PCIe flash storage devices gave us the opportunity to refine and re-calibrate our enterprise review process before rolling out new reviews of second generation PCIe storage cards and application accelerators. We have been going through our revised testing methodology over the last several months with first and second-generation cards supplied from industry leaders as we hone in on testing protocols that are more relevant to the enterprise storage buyer. In this review, we're again working with the 640GB Fusion ioDrive Duo - this time using more sophisticated tests across both Windows and Linux.

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by Kevin OBrien

SanDisk Lightning Enterprise SSD Review (LB 406S)

When SanDisk invested $327 million to acquire Pliant one thing was clear; SanDisk saw an opportunity to leverage their expertise in NAND and storage with Pliant's SAS controller knowledge and storage technologies to create class-leading enterprise SSDs that would excel in both performance and reliability. The current result is the SanDisk Lightning enterprise SSD family that includes both MLC and SLC SAS 6Gb SSDs.

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by Kevin OBrien

Hitachi Ultrastar SSD400S.B Enterprise SSD Review

In early February, Hitachi added to their line of enterprise SSDs with the Ultrastar SSD400S.B. Following on the heels of the original SSD400S, the .B is the industry's first to move to 25nm SLC NAND. Structurally, the two drives are nearly identical, it's simply a NAND die change from 34nm SLC to 25nm SLC. Both drives leverage a 6 Gb/s SAS interface and Intel NAND with a Hitachi/Intel co-developed firmware and controller. The SSD400S.B takes over flagship enterprise SSD status for Hitachi and sits alongside their eMLC Ultrastar SSD400M offering.

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