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Intel enters the SSD market with its Optane solution

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March 20, 2017

We've learned today that Intel has entered the SSD market, and now offers its Optane line of products targeted to that popular market.

To be sure, the Optane SSD P-4800X will ship by year-end, starting with a 375 GB solution that has impressive computed random read IOPS numbers.

The new product can work as memory or as a storage solution, we are told. Intel says the SSD is built with 3D X-Point media, plus its own memory, controllers, interconnect IP and Intel software.

Intel claims the P-4800X has an industry leading combination of low latency, high endurance, QoS and high throughput.

Intel is pleased with the P-4800X's latency under load, saying it's much better than its previous DC P-3700 SSD.

The ultra endurance claim rests upon the P4800X having a 30 drive writes per day (DWPD) rating compared to a 0.5 to 10 DWPD rating for NAND SSDs. It says the P4800X has up to 2.8x more total bytes written at similar capacity to a DC P3700 SSD with its 17 DWPD for 5 years.

Intel asserts the P4800x has excellent performance at low queue depth and this is relevant because the majority of applications generate low workloads, rather than just relying on raw IOPS.

It therefore says the P-4800X is ideal for critical applications with aggressive latency requirements.

The significant number for us here is the random read IOPS. Previously, and according to a leaked Optane P4800X datasheet, the random read IOPS were up to 550,000.

3D X-Point is certainly fast, the question is, can the controller's firmware provide such a number? The world's best NAND devices provide about one million 4K random reads, at high queue depth loads.

NVMe allows 64K queues each of 64K depth, and to the extent Intel has leveraged that capability, 4.6 million is certainly not out of the question.

How does it compare to competing NVMe SSDs? Samsung's PM1725a NVMe SSD (48-layer 3D TLC NAND) does up to 1,050,00 random read IOPS. The next fastest we could find is Seagate's Nytro XP7200 which does 940,000.

The P-4800X's random read IOPS number is less than 4,600,000. The 70/30 mixed IOPS value for the P-3700 comes from Intel's website and applies to the 400 GB P-3700 unit.

Source: Intel.


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