Micron has announced the P320h PCIe-linked flash product, which is aimed at increasing the performance of applications that require low latency and high access speeds.
The P320h, announced on Thursday, is made of 34nm SLC flash and is available in 350GB and 700GB variants. It is in the test sampling stage and is expected to begin shipping in August. The product will compete with rival PCIe-linked flash products from current sector leaders such as Fusion-io and Texas Memory Systems.
PCIe-linked flash allows flash memory to be linked to servers and storage, speeding up intensive applications by providing an additional storage layer to the server. Facebook uses Fusion-io as an additional fast-access storage tier somewhere between on-server RAM and disk in its datacentres.
Micron is a major force in the flash world and is Intel's long-term partner for research and development on next-generation flash technology.
"We have the Nand, we have the DRAM, we have the controller and we do all the storage mount in-house... it's ultimate traceability," Janene Ellefson, product marketing manager for Micron's PCIe division, said on a conference call. "In essence it gives us 'one throat to choke'."
The P320h is capable of up to 750,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) when reading random 4KB blocks and 298,000 at write. For sequential reads it is capable of 3GBps and can handle sequential writes at 2GBps.
By comparison, Fusion-io's flagship ioDrive product is capable of around 140,000 read IOPS and 135,000 write IOPS. Texas Memory Systems's RamSan-70 is capable of 330,000 sequential read IOPS and 160,000 write IOPS.
The P320h exceeds its competitors on latency, with 25 microsecond latency, compared to a floor of 26 microseconds for the ioDrive and 45 microseconds for the RamSam-70.
The 350GB version can endure 25PB of writes during its lifespan and the 700GB can handle 50PB. In other words, the 350GB could have every byte of its capacity written over 71,429 times before the drive came to the end of its life.
Micron puts the speed of its product partially down to its custom-designed application-specific integrated circuit (Asic), which handles on-chip error correction, requiring less of the I/O between the flash and the server to be taken up with ECC calls to the local processor, Ellefson said.
Pricing was not disclosed. The company has been working on equipment qualifications with two major original equipment manufacturers, but could not give names.
On Friday, Cisco's European business development manager, Kerry Partridge, told ZDNet UK that Cisco could also be about to launch PCIe-linked flash for its Unified Computing System (UCS) servers.
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