HGST, a Western Digital company, has a complete range of storage offerings for the datacenter. The looming merger completion with WD has not had much effect on business for HGST; they have continued to acquire companies with flash-based portfolios and IP. VeloBit, sTec, and Virident have all come under the HGST umbrella to bolster their SSD ranks, and many see this as the bellwether of HGST becoming WD's SSD wing upon merger completion.
A full family of platter-based products solidify the base of HGST's product stack. HGST still collaborates with Intel in a joint development program that leverages Intel's industry leadership in core controller and NAND technologies, and Intel leans on HGST's vast experience with the SAS interface. HGST's NAND supply is guaranteed through a Joint Development Agreement with Intel, though the specifics of that agreement are not public knowledge. However, guaranteed NAND supply of any variety is a big win for HGST, and it provides them a significant advantage during periodic flash shortages.
The mainstream use of MLC has led to stratification in the SSD product stack for the major manufacturers. The Tier-0 Ultrastar family consists of three members to address every performance segment: high endurance, mainstream endurance, and read intensive. The 12GB/s Ultrastar SSD800MH, codenamed Sunset Cove, sets atop of HGST's performance pyramid with class-leading speeds of 145,000/100,000 read/write IOPS. Sequential read speeds of 1,200 MB/s and 750 MB/s write speed leads the current crop of 12Gb/s SSDs.
The high-endurance Ultrastar SSD800MH comes in a 2.5-inch form factor with a 15mm z-height in 200GB, 400GB, and 800GB capacities. The drive can operate in two power envelopes, 9W or 11W, to satisfy requirements for performance hungry applications. Dual-port SAS provides full duplex operation, multipath, and failover High Availability features. The drives feature 512MB, 1024MB, or 2048MB of SDRAM depending upon capacity.
The SSD800MH features end-to-end data protection with T10 Data Integrity Field (DIF) compliance, extended ECC, and Exclusive-OR (XOR) parity for protection from die failure. Parity-checked internal data paths operate without an external write cache, and power loss management is provided by an electrolytic capacitor. These capacitors are more reliable and tolerate heat better than supercapacitor designs. This SSD provides the highest endurance with up to 25 DW/D (Drive Writes per Day) for the toughest workloads, such as HFT and OLTP environments. The 800GB model can tolerate 36.5PB of random writes in its five-year warranty period, or 20TB per day of random writes.
The mainstream endurance SSD800MM, evaluated here, features sequential speeds of 1,200/750 MB/s read/write and 145,000/100,000 read/write IOPS. This drive has an endurance rating of 10 DW/D (Drive Writes per Day).
The Read Intensive Ultrastar SSD1000MR brings up the low-end of the endurance pyramid, and it features sequential speeds of 1,200/700 MB/s read/write and 145,000/70,000 read/write IOPS, respectively. With an endurance rating of 2 DWPD, this SSD is clearly intended for the write-once, read-many class of applications, such as audio/video streaming, cloud computing, and other Internet applications. While the other models top out at a capacity of 800GB, the SSD1000MR offers a larger 1TB capacity point.
Today, we will test the SSD800MH against its mainstream brother, the SSD800MM, and the Toshiba PX02SSF040, the high endurance heavyweight contender from Toshiba.