3D NAND Memories Cross 10TB

At the Flash Memory Summit in Toronto, Micron Technology exhibited their NVM Express or NVMe Solid State Drives that use the company’s 3D NAND technology to achieve capacities over 10 TB.

According to Dan Florence, Micron built the 9200 series of NVMe SSDs from ground up to overcome the restrictions placed by the legacy hard drives. Dan Florence is the SSD product manager for Micron’s Storage Business Unit. The design of the new storage portfolio addresses the data demands that are presently surging, while maximizing the efficiency of data centers. According to Florence, this improves the overall total cost of ownership for customers. The NVMe over Fabric architecture of Micron is way ahead of standard developments, and is the storage foundation for the Micron SolidState Platform.

According to Florence, the 9200 SSDs from Micron can be up to ten times faster than the fastest SATA SSDs. The 9200 SSDs can achieve transfer speeds of 4.6 GB/s with one million read IOPS. This makes them ideal for high-capacity use case performance as application/database acceleration, high frequency computing, and high frequency trading. Regular interfaces were more attuned to spinning media, which allows NVMe several advantages over the traditional interfaces. As the NVMe sits on the PCIe bus, it not only overcomes a huge amount of latency, but also offers higher bandwidth, allowing users to get much higher IOPS.

Traditionally, PCIe has many custom drivers working in iterations, and the NVMe offers better ease of use. This is allowing NVMe SSDs to be adopted faster, as they can be plugged into almost any system and with any operating system.

The earlier generation of NVMe SSDs from Micron was limited in capacity. The 9200 series can go up to 11 TB, almost three times the capacity of the older generation, making then the first monolithic NVMe SSDs to cross the 10 TB boundary. That also makes it easier for the operating system to manage, while allowing for lower power consumption. Additionally, Micron makes the 9200 series in the U.2 form factor, which allows the new SSDs to achieve more density per server.

Micron claims their new NVMe SSDs, in random performance, can outperform the fastest hard drives by 300-1200 times, and the fastest SSDs by three to seven times. Of course, this is dependent upon the use case and configuration. According to Florence, database applications and transaction processing are increasingly using random performance, as they use a random IO access pattern. Moreover, the workload of several data analyses also follow the same pattern, since working with large pipes of data makes sequential handling more important for data ingest. This includes massive amounts of IoT data as well as user-generated content.

Most general applications also use some level of random IO, and the new NVMe SSDs can use most of the bandwidth in the PCIe bus. According to Florence, the value driver lies in the amount of data moved and worked with, which is also applicable to a growing number of applications. The new NVMe SSDs are a clear leader this area, as the dollar per IOPS becomes increasingly more important.