Micron to launch hyper-fast SSD, touts 1GB/sec throughput

Micron says the technology could extend to consumer systems

Within the next year, Micron technology expects to bring to market a high-end solid-state disk (SSD) drive that could achieve 1GB/sec throughput, according to a Micron executive. The transfer speed is four times that offered by Intel's newest SSD, the X25-E.

In a video on its newly launched blog site, Joe Jeddeloh, director of Micron's Advanced Storage Technology Center, demonstrated the technology using a 2-processor, eight-core Intel Xeon PC and a card with two SSDs and 16 flash channels. A blurry readout showed the SSD reaching 800MB/sec throughput, with Jeddeloh claiming it "will be hitting a bandwidth of 1GB/sec and at least 200,000 IOPS". The card was directly connected to a PCIe slot, bypassing serial ATA (SATA) or serial SCSI (SAS) interfaces that would normally be used to plug SSDs into a server or PC, thereby limiting it to 3Gbit/sec throughput per channel.

Using file transfers ranging from 2KB to 2MB, Jeddeloh demonstrated 150,000 to 160,000 random reads per second in the video. "That's what flash can do when it's managed correctly," Jeddeloh said.

In an interview Wednesday, Dean Klein, vice president of Micron's Solid State Disk Group, said the company is already testing the technology with a few select customers and is looking for more beta testers.

"I wouldn't expect this level of performance going into laptops anytime soon, but for servers, yes," Klein said. "We plan on bringing this to market on a limited basis this coming year and in a more expanded way the year after."

By comparison, Intel's X25-E SSD achieves sustained sequential read rates of up to 250MB/sec and sustained sequential writes of up to 170 MB/sec and 35,000 IOPS.

"We're multiple times faster in terms of bandwidth," Klein said.

Klein said Micron's SSD uses "multiple channels" and was built interleaving 64 NAND chips to achieve its high throughput.

While Micron's SSD technology is aimed at high-end applications, such as transactional databases or streaming video that would run on Fibre Channel SANs, Klein said consumer-grade computers using SSD's directly connected to a PCIe bus with 4 lanes (x4 slots) could soon achieve similar results.

Physical PCIe slots may contain from one to thirty-two lanes of data. Currently, PCIe generation 1 offers 250MB/sec throughput per lane. The second generation of PCIe is expected out next year and will offer twice the throughput or 500MB/sec.

"It really does require a change in computer architecture to go into consumer-type systems, but it can be done," Klein said.

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Lucas Mearian

Computerworld
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