The Micron P420m will be available for roughly half the price of the P320h, but packs quite the punch for the lower price point. The addition of several new features, such as remote management, Tantalum capacitors, and the Sanitize command are focused at improving data integrity. Micron also incorporates device-level redundancy with the RAIN technology, and several key aspects of the XPERT suite combine to offer higher endurance, increased error correction capability, and full data path protection.
In read-centric applications, the P420m can provide performance that actually rises above the powerful SLC-based P320h. In both random and sequential read workloads, the MLC-based P420m provided the ultimate in throughput. One of the use cases for the P420m is in webserver applications. In our webserver tests, a read-only test with a mix of different file sizes, the P420m delivered an impressive 2,530 MB/s of random read performance.
The P420m is also well suited for caching applications, where the caching of hot data can provide explosive acceleration to existing infrastructure. Applications with static data sets, or a low write frequency, will benefit from the read speed of the P420m. Media streaming, especially video-on-demand, will also be well served by the P420m. Another important facet of the P420m is the enhanced density provided with its whopping 1.4TB of available space. For dense applications, such as blade servers, the small form factor and resilience to heat provide an attractive solution to performance challenges.
The P420m sacrifices some of the stellar write performance of the P320h with the move to MLC NAND. This is part of the trade-off for a palatable price point, but does not preclude the use of the P420m in the majority of applications. The P420m performed well in our OLTP/Database testing, which features a mixed read/write workload that falls within the endurance specifications of the drive.
The RealSSD manager software is a bonus for users that simplifies management in an easy to use GUI. The majority of PCIe SSDs are still stuck with rudimentary command line interfaces for management, and while the slick GUI is a nice addition, Micron also provides command line functionality to cover all bases.
The P420m is not as expensive as other PCIe solutions, but still provides class-leading enterprise features. One admirable trait of Micron SSDs is the continued focus on data integrity, the continued inclusion of RAIN and the addition of the XPERT suite and tantalum capacitors continues the Micron tradition of ensuring data integrity, above all else.
Sometimes the most important aspect of a storage device is what it is not. The P420m is not as expensive as other PCIe alternatives and is tremendously more economical than HDDs. The explosive performance of the P420m and the lower price point combine to provide an easily accessible product for the mainstream market.