Over the last year, the 2.5" performance HDD segment (10K, 15K) has been under assault from datacenter-class SSDs. Several features from 2.5" HDDs have helped them retain some presence in the market; price per GB, capacity, and High-Availability from the SAS interface immediately jump to mind.
The Optimus Eco lowers the ceiling on the price of a top-tier SAS SSD, with the 2TB SSD coming in at an MSRP of $3,999, to roughly $2 a GB. This price projection was made in March, before SanDisk purchased SMART. It makes sense that access to the fab, and volume pricing, could push this price even lower. 10K SAS HDDs are hovering around $1.80 per GB, allowing the Eco to begin encroaching upon the 2.5" performance segment in price.
Adding 2TB of capacity puts the Eco well out of reach of 15K HDD's from a capacity standpoint. In today's shrinking datacenter, density is king; there isn't a spindle solution on the market that can provide the Eco's density in a 2.5" form factor.
Marrying this high capacity and relatively low price point to the SAS interface, with expanded high availability and enhanced management features, really begins to remove key advantages enjoyed by the current crop of performance HDD's.
Endurance, which was once a major concern, is sufficient for the Eco. The fastest 2.5" HDD on the market cannot come close to writing its own capacity with random data in one day; it simply isn't fast enough. The Eco provides three Drive Writes Per Day (DWPD) of random data, exponentially more capacity than an HDD can even write in a day, and still holds the same five-year warranty as an enterprise HDD. The 2.5 million hour MTBF is equally as impressive.
Without even touching on the Eco's performance (which blasts away the fastest of SATA SSDs with ease), or efficiency (which is better than most SAS SSD's and obliterates HDD's), we can come to the easy conclusion that the Eco is going to enjoy massive success in the datacenter. Do we feel that the performance HDD segment is going to disappear? Of course not. However, with solutions like the SanDisk Optimus Eco, there certainly are sharks in the swimming pool. The transition to SSHD's will help stave off the encroachment from SSDs in the performance segment, but we expect the pure HDD performance market to continue to feel pressure from the new breed of high-capacity SSDs.
The Eco makes good gains on lowering the overall power consumption compared to the original Optimus, surely due to the switch to 19nm NAND. Mixing in sequential read speeds above the maximum attainable from any SATA port at 596MB/s, and blistering random read IOPS in the 97,000 IOPS range, guarantees performance beyond competing solutions in the 6Gb/s realm.
The Optimus Eco retains the functionality, and some performance characteristics of the bleeding-edge SAS SSD's, creating a value-market segment for SAS SSD's where one really hasn't existed before. The Eco is a great addition to the SanDisk portfolio, and easily wins our TweakTown Best Value award.