The Comay Pluto SC3 is a well-rounded product from an SSD manufacturer with extensive experience and a good reputation. It brings expected performance from a LSI SandForce SSD along with a competitive price point.
LSI SandForce SSDs benefit greatly from compressible workloads, but do suffer some performance loss when dealing with incompressible data. The compression performance characteristics of SandForce SSDs are well suited to most enterprise deployments. We strive for the 'middle ground' by testing with 50% compressible data, but it is important for administrators to know their workload and to adjust their purchasing decisions accordingly.
During our testing, we found that the Pluto SC3 performed within expectations for an SSD powered by the LSI SandForce SF-2481 controller. One of the primary drawbacks we observed was the significant performance variability when dealing with pure random write workloads. In our 4K and 8K random write testing there was significant variability that would likely impact performance in heavy write workloads.
In random read testing we observed solid performance with very little variability, and another strength of the Pluto SC3 is the sequential read and write performance. Here we noted performance at the top of the charts, even matching the SAS powered Optimus in sequential read. The sequential write performance was also good, with speeds that matched the Intel DC S3700.
The Pluto SC3 offers enterprise-class features that are important in demanding environments. The extra parity data provided by RAISE affords an extra line of defense in addition to the enhanced BCH ECC. The bolstered power circuitry of the Pluto SC3 protects from errant voltage from any number of sources, and the capacitor provides power hold up in the event of power loss. The power capacitor is a welcome inclusion, but tantalum arrays of capacitors do have an advantage of not having one point of potential failure.
The Comay Pluto SC3 does not lead the charts in terms of overall performance, but it does provide solid performance at a reasonable price point. One of the greatest attractions for this SSD will be the enhanced enterprise features at a lower price point than other full featured SSDs (roughly $1.85 a GB at the time of writing). The competing SSDs in our tests today fall into a higher price range ($2 per GB and up) than the Pluto SC3, which provides a nice niche for the SC3, as a more value-oriented mainstream enterprise offering.
With features such as power loss protection, enhanced ECC and overload circuitry, the Pluto SC3 is designed with data protection in mind. Coupled with Comay's extensive validation process, there is an expectation for reliability backed up by a three year warranty. We would like to see a longer warranty with this product, as many competing SSDs feature a five year warranty. The lower price structure of the Pluto SC3 may come into play with the warranty period, but with the tried and true LSI SandForce controller and IMFT NAND onboard, we feel that this SSD is composed of quality components that should easily outlive the warranty period.