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SMART Optimus 400GB Enterprise SSD Review - Final Thoughts

The SMART Optimus heralds the beginning of a new era for the datacenter, the inclusion of MLC NAND SSDs into roles typically only served via SLC high-endurance SSDs. Providing SLC-like endurance from MLC NAND sounds like a magic trick or marketing hype at its finest.

| SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Dec 13, 2012 12:12 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%      Manufacturer: SMART Storage Systems

Final Thoughts

 

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The SMART Optimus sets a standard with an approach that we expect to see much more of in the future. The future of SSD flash management is going to lean heavily towards adaptive flash interaction and DSP technologies. Dynamically learning from and adjusting the very NAND itself over the lifetime of the SSD brings unbelievable endurance from standard MLC. The exponential endurance gains from this type of technology are sure to be utilized among a wide variety of vendors as time progresses.

 

SMART feels like they are ahead of the game in this respect, helping to pioneer the technology has given them a great position early. Developing IP and already holding several patents in this arena serves to provide them the high ground in the high endurance MLC field.

 

With new higher-endurance versions of the SMART Optimus already in the pipeline, SMART is poised to deliver SLC-like endurance at close to MLC price points. The new Optimus Ultra+ is capable of a shocking 50 Drive Writes Per Day (DWPD) from simple everyday MLC NAND. This is approaching SLC endurance levels, according to our rough math this is nearly 90,000 IOPS from MLC NAND.

 

Providing SLC-like endurance from MLC NAND sounds like a magic trick or marketing hype at its finest. Breaking it down and looking at the various technologies that SMART has developed with the Guardian Technology Platform helps to understand the methods taken to ensure data reliability in the long run. Pairing these ultra-endurance parts with enterprise-class features and performance is important. The SMART Optimus delivers blazing speeds that are remarkably consistent in our test regimen. We observed very little variability in the course of our testing.

 

Dual Port SAS brings deployments into High-Availability environments into the picture, and the active-active dual port functionality provides up to 1GB/s from a single SSD. SAS also brings the advantages of the SCSI command set, which allows seamless use when pairing these SSDs with HBAs and other SCSI devices.

 

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The 10 DWPD endurance offered by the Optimus is backed up with a five year warranty. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that SMART designs their SSDs to operate within 1% of performance variability over the service life of the device.

 

Several sales wins have brought the Optimus into the limelight. RAID, Inc. has recently integrated the Optimus into its EBOD Storage Solution touting 1 million IOPS and X-IO is integrating the SSD into the Hyper ISE 7-Series. Expect SMART to continue to develop the Optimus line extensively into the future. In concert with their extensive Tier-1 OEM customers, the Optimus should enjoy great success in the market.

 

With its innovative new approaches to adaptive flash management and increased endurance, we give the Optimus the TweakTown Editor's Choice Award.

 

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