January 22, 2013, 3:06 PM — Micron today announced it is shipping its highest endurance, enterprise-class solid-state drive (SSD) for servers, P400m, which can sustain 10 full drive writes per day for five years, the company said.
The P400m SSD's endurance is the equivalent to writing every picture posted to Facebook daily to the drive for 311 days straight (about 78 billion photos total), Micron said.
By comparison, Micron's entry-level SSDs offer one to three full drive writes per day and a midrange SSD offers about five full drive writes, according to Matt Shaine, Micron's product marketing manager for enterprise SSDs.
Micron's new P400m SATA server SSD.
"Customers have really been asking us for faster speeds, better performance and better reliability, and well be providing that for them with the P400m," Shaine said.
The P400m is a 2.5-in. form factor drive with a serial ATA (SATA) 6Gbps interface. It uses multi-level cell (MLC) 25 nanometer NAND flash, and a Marvell controller with eight channels to the flash chips.
Unlike its most recently released SATA SSD, the Crucial M500, the P400m uses higher quality NAND flash geared for enterprise data center use. It is also the first drive to use Micron's new wear leveling and error correction code firmware that it calls XPERT (extended performance and enhanced reliability technology). As the name implies, XPERT is aimed at extending SSD longevity and enhancing data integrity, the company said.
In addition to its new firmware, the drive also take advantage of generous overprovisioning of NAND flash capacity in order to first arrange data before writing it permanently to the flash; that way fewer program-erase cycles need to be performed, which extends the life of the flash.
"The P400m is over provisioned 71%. The P400m over provisions space to provide enterprise-level endurance, latency, and reliability. Over provisioning provides additional working space in the drive that enables the controller to execute background tasks while foreground tasks (host I/O) run with consistent latency and performance levels," a Micron spokeswoman wrote in an email response to Computerworld. "As Microns first MLC enterprise drive design, Micron took a very conservative and cautious approach: provide performance that bests legacy SLC drives, but provide it reliably, with SLC-equivalent endurance," the spokeswoman continued. "Essentially, they didnt want to turn customers into validation testers. Other vendors may be less conservative with their design philosophy."