New PCIe 4.0 SSDs, 24 Gbps SAS SSDs supply bandwidth boost

Nancy J. Delong

New sound-condition drives that are rolling out from Intel, Kioxia and Western Digital will give enterprises and hyperscalers higher-performing NVMe-primarily based PCIe and SAS flash storage choices for their knowledge centers.

Kioxia (formerly Toshiba Memory Company) took the lead in shifting from 12 Gbps to 24 Gbps in its new PM6 Sequence of SAS SSDs for regular enterprise storage techniques and servers. Kioxia promises the PM6 Sequence could improve random examine and generate overall performance by extra than 140% and sequential generate overall performance up to 54% over its predecessor PM5 Sequence with examine-intensive workloads.

But momentum has been shifting absent from legacy SAS and SATA to more rapidly NVMe SSDs that plug into the server’s PCI Express bus. Intel’s latest D7-P5500 and D7-P5600 NVMe SSDs guidance PCIe 4. to help double the bandwidth over prior PCIe Gen 3 drives. Samsung and Kioxia have also released enterprise PCIe 4. SSDs in the course of the past yr.

The new PCIe 4. SSDs attract awareness to Western Digital’s selection to guidance PCIe Gen in its new Ultrastar DC SN840 NVMe SSD. WD officials stated the business designs to transition to Gen 4 at the “appropriate time” when OEM desire gets more powerful and the broader ecosystem is all set. They claimed most prospects are nonetheless utilizing SAS and SATA SSDs and would get a sizeable 2x to 5x overall performance advantage with a go to NVMe-primarily based PCIe SSDs.

Will need PCIe 4.-compatible processors

But prospects will need servers equipped with PCIe Gen 4-compatible processors to achieve the bandwidth strengthen from the latest NVMe PCIe 4. SSDs from Intel, Kioxia and Samsung. So far, only just one of the two big server CPU producers, AMD, supports PCIe Gen 4. Intel declined to disclose when its processors would guidance PCIe 4..

Joseph Unsworth, a Gartner vice president who tracks semiconductors, NAND flash and SSDs, estimated that only a several million PCIe 4. SSDs have delivered, primarily to fans and avid gamers utilizing techniques with AMD processors. Unsworth predicted PCIe Gen 4 SSDs would not ramp up in volume until the 2nd 50 % of 2021.  

Eric Pike, director of WD’s enterprise OEM segment, stated lots of storage OEMs “aren’t even chatting about Gen 4 for at least yet another yr.” He added that some have mentioned skipping PCIe Gen 4 and heading straight to PCIe Gen five.

“Most of Western Digital’s prospects — and the total market place — do not at the moment have the specialized use situation necessities to warrant the enhance in expense and higher ability usage of PCIe Gen 4 SSDs,” a WD spokeperson stated. “Even for the severe requires of hyperscale cloud environments, PCIe Gen 3 is not the bottleneck for storage today.”

WD elected to concentrate on regularity of latency and overall performance in its new two.five-inch, dual-port PCIe Gen SSD that utilizes the firm’s 96-layer triple-stage cell (TLC) 3D NAND flash. The SN840 ranges from one.six TB to 15.36 TB in capability and supports one to 3 push writes per day (DWPD). WD’s merchandise knowledge sheet lists a greatest sequential throughput of 3.five GBps for reads and 3.3 GBps for writes, IOPS up to 780,000 for random reads and 257,000 for random writes, and latency as low as 139 microseconds.

PCIe Gen 4 vs. PCIe Gen 3

Intel’s single-port D7-5500 and D7-5600 PCIe 4. SSDs claim to produce a 33% overall performance enhancement and forty% lessen latency than its prior technology NVMe PCIe Gen 3 SSDs. The D7-5500 knowledge sheet lists throughput up to seven GBps for sequential reads and 4.3 GBps for writes, greatest IOPS of one million for random reads and a hundred thirty,000 for random writes, and examine latency of seventy eight microseconds. The D7-5600 presents the identical overall performance metrics, with the exception of a greatest IOPS of 260,000 for random writes. 

The new D7-5500 and D7-5600 SSDs use Intel’s 96-layer TLC 3D NAND flash and new PCIe Gen 4 controller and firmware. The two.five-inch D7-5500 SSD ranges in capability from one.ninety two TB to seven.sixty eight TB and supports one DWPD. The D7-5600 can deal with 3 DWPD and has a capability range of one.six TB to six.4 TB.

Intel’s and Samsung’s PCIe 4. SSDs guidance NVMe one.3, whereas Kioxia shifted to NVMe one.4 with its CM6 and CD6 PCIe Gen 4 enterprise drives. Kioxia ranks 3rd in enterprise SSD market place share, guiding Samsung and Intel, in accordance to Gartner.

SAS SSD market place

But Kioxia maintains a substantial existence in the prolonged-tested SAS SSD market place, in which it trails only Samsung. IDC investigation vice president Jeff Janukowicz stated the market place for SAS SSDs carries on to extend, and he expects capability shipments to develop by close to 25% in 2020 in contrast to 2019.

“While NVMe is growing quickly and has develop into the interface of choice for lots of cloud support vendors, SAS is nonetheless preferred by storage and server OEMs,” Janukowicz stated. “In just the storage array market place, SAS SSDs represented over 70% of the capability delivered in 2019.”

Kioxia’s new two.five-inch U.3 PM6 Sequence SSDs use the firm’s 96-layer TLC 3D NAND flash and ranges from 400 GB to 30.72 TB, doubling the greatest capability of the prior PM5 design. The drives guidance single-, extensive- and dual-port configurations and one DWPD for examine-intensive workloads, 3 DWPD for mixed use, and ten DWPD for generate-intensive apps.

Steve Garceau, director of enterprise SSD merchandise promoting at Kioxia, estimated that extra than 90% of Kioxia’s company is one DWPD and 3 DWPD, but he stated the ten DPWD generate-intensive workspace is nonetheless astonishingly well-known.

“I am going to acknowledge it. I experimented with to eliminate the generate-intensive room heading into PM6. But chatting to prospects, there was a cry from beneath that stated, ‘We’ve nonetheless received to have this things,'” Garceau stated.

Will need random-generate overall performance

Garceau stated OEMs have legacy prospects that will need the random-generate overall performance the new SAS SSDs will get by means of the extra overprovisioning that goes into building the drives. He stated the generate overall performance could be two instances to 4 instances higher than what a typical one DWPD delivers and could support in particular with logging in fiscal and quantitative apps.

Kioxia promises the new PM6 also extra than doubles sequential examine overall performance over the PM5, to extra than 4.3 GBps, and improves random examine latency by up to 26%.

Customers frequently get Kioxia’s SAS SSDs by means of server and storage OEMs. Kioxia stated the new 24 Gbps PM6 design is obtainable now for skills and ought to be shipping and delivery in techniques in the fourth quarter.

Samsung, Seagate and Western Digital also make SAS SSDs but do not nevertheless guidance the 24 Gbps SAS specification. Pike stated 24 Gbps SAS SSDs are on the horizon for Western Digital, but the business is at the moment prioritizing NVMe drives.

In other SSD news, Kioxia stated today that it joined forces with a server OEM to reveal the new Company and Datacenter SSD Sort Factor (EDSFF), also regarded as E3, below growth with a Storage Networking Marketplace Association technological work group for servers and storage techniques. Kioxia did not recognize the server associate. The SSD seller claimed the EDSFF E3.Shorter (E3.S) and E3.Lengthy (E3.L) type elements symbolize the long run of PCIe SSD storage for servers and all-flash arrays in cloud and enterprise knowledge centers. The EDSFF choices would split from the constraints of the two.five-inch type aspect with more sizing decisions (including slim, seven.five mm, and thick, 16.eight mm), higher ability choices (up to forty watts), and enhanced sign integrity to help higher overall performance PCIe Gen five. and beyond, in accordance to Kioxia.

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