The P320h signifies Micron's entry into the PCIe application accelerator market, and they certainly know how to make a big entrance. The Micron P320h is a dominating high-end SLC product for the most demanding customers at a time when many of Micron's competitors have decided to forgo SLC in favor of cheaper MLC. The SLC NAND on the P320h is uniquely well suited for the enterprise space. Its unbelievable 50PB endurance, resistance to high heat and improved write latency are sought after attributes in the enterprise space.
The custom designed and integrated Micron/IDT controller is a great building block for Micron, allowing them to design a number of devices with the same controller in the future. There is an MLC variant of the P320h already in the works.
The P320h's affinity for heavy workloads is also a compelling reason for users to adopt this platform. With the interrupt coalescence settings, we observed superb performance at higher-than-normal queue depths. This is a very valuable characteristic of this SSD, since the price premium of any SSD storage device demands its full utilization. The P320h can handle heavy loads, and come back for more.
For many administrators one of the key inhibitors to the adoption of flash media is simply that it will wear out quickly. The mind bending 50PB of endurance provided by the Micron P320h allows for an excellent return on the upfront investment required. By delivering extreme endurance, and a means of measuring that endurance and providing a predictable life span through SMART data monitoring, Micron provides customers with a reliable and predictable solution.
The management utilities, and in particular the GUI, are refreshingly easy for users to utilize. Many of the management utilities with competing devices pale in comparison to the Real SSD Manager offered by Micron. There is also the command line utility, which provides additional functionality for those using bare bones server installs. The only area where Micron can improve the management utility is by providing a means of remote management.
The low power draw is, in particular, a great selling point for the P320h. Offering up the industry's highest read IOPS per watt is no small feat. This miserly power consumption of 25w will keep the long-term costs of ownership low. Many forget that the price of powering a storage device over its lifetime can add up to more than the initial investment. Micron keeps this in mind by providing great power consumption figures in conjunction with the high performance. The lack of a requirement for external power is also a great feature that will not necessitate the need for additional cabling.
The P320h does not use host resources to perform any of its drive management routines, alleviating the burden on the host system. This will lend itself very well to multi-card installations and keeps the entire system as efficient as possible, with CPU cycles dedicated to the applications instead of storage infrastructure.
The scaling when under extreme loading is simply a tremendous value-added feature. This resilience and the increased performance under heavy loads will allow users to optimize their systems to truly take advantage of this application accelerator.
The Micron P320h is overall a well-rounded and well thought out device. Its performance is simply unmatched by any of their competitors at this point, and the key sales wins that Micron has enjoyed lately illustrate this point very well. With future versions of the Micron P230h already in the works, expect this robust platform to continue to develop and evolve. With its superb performance and unbelievable endurance, Micron continues their assault on the enterprise SSD space, and we give the P320h the TweakTown Editor's Choice Award.
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