The Micron P400m is Micron's latest SSD in their well-rounded enterprise SSD series. The P400m is the new mainstream enterprise SSD, and Micron offers the P320h as the flagship PCIe solution and the P400e as the entry level SSD.
The new P400m enterprise SSD features Micron 25nm MLC NAND in conjunction with the Marvell 9187 controller. One of the many compelling features of the P400m is its 10 DWPD (Drive Writes per Day) of write endurance, which is guaranteed by Micron's first enterprise SSD five year warranty.
The P400m brings sequential read/write speeds of 380/310MB/s, and random read and write IOPS of 60,000/26,000. While the random write IOPS may seem low to the casual observer, it is important to note that these fall into Micron's' traditionally conservative specifications. Measurements are taken while the SSD is in steady state with full span random writes. This is the most demanding scenario for any storage solution, and many other SSD manufacturers will only advertise FOB (Fresh out of Box) specifications.
Micron's previous enterprise SSD, the P300m, was an SLC SSD that provided the ultimate in write endurance for users. SLC can withstand 100,000 P/E cycles, making it incredibly resilient in heavy write workloads. The progression of time and technology has allowed Micron to extend the same 10DWPD endurance to the MLC P400m. The transformation of the P400m's MLC into a solution with similar endurance to an SLC SSD is quite the feat.
Micron's' eXtended Performance and Enhanced Reliability Technology (XPERT) is a new feature from Micron that makes its debut with the P400m series of SSDs. This suite of hardware and firmware optimizations provide the exponential increase in the longevity and endurance of the 25nm MLC NAND employed in the P400m. XPERT also includes data redundancy in the form of the RAIN (Redundant of Independent NAND) functionality. This data redundancy is an extra layer of protection that will recover user data should the device suffer an uncorrectable data error, or even the loss of a whole page or block of data. We will cover the XPERT suite in more detail on the following page.
Micron uses a custom high quality MLC NAND from their foundry as a key building block for the P400m. Micron manufactures their own components, which allows them to create custom NAND for their products. This custom NAND has its own designation not found on Micron product sheets, and Micron will not be providing resellers with this specific NAND outside of the P400m. Micron also produces their own DRAM and serial NOR which gives them total control of the data media. This inherent knowledge of component design, manufacture, and core characteristics provide Micron with an advantage during the design and integration phases.
Micron utilizes the proven Marvell 9187 controller with the P400m. This popular 8-channel controller delivers its speed via the 6Gb/s SATA port and allows Micron to create their own firmware. This tailor-made firmware is enhanced to work efficiently with the Micron NAND, adjusting the NANDs characteristics as it ages to wring more endurance from the flash.
The P400m is intended for mainstream enterprise use and will perform well in a variety of environments. Financial applications, virtualization appliances, logging, VDI, boot storm, data warehouses and VOD (Video on Demand) applications will all benefit from the Micron P400m. One benefit of the SATA connection is that it allows for a wide variety of applications and deployments. Micron already has a SAS alternative in the works for those who need the functionality provided by SAS.
The SATA space is a good fit for an SSD designed and engineered for mainstream use. With the enterprise SATA SSD market projected to jump from two million units in 2013 to three million units in 2016, the time is ripe for manufacturers with their own foundries to begin churning out mainstream enterprise SSDs en masse.