Samsung has many firsts under their belt, with the world's first 3D NAND and 3bit MLC (TLC) products leading the way. Pairing innovative hardware with a new interface technology capitalizes on the performance advantages of flash storage. Samsung also led the NVMe race with the XS1715, the industry's first certified product (5/31/2013) on the UNH-IOL NVMe Test Consortiums Integrators List (IL).
NVMe standardizes interaction with non-volatile memory on the PCIe bus through an optimized register interface, command set, and feature set. We dive in deeper into the details in our Defining NVMe article. Intel brought the first NVMe products to the retail market with the Intel DC P3700, but the XS1715 has been in production behind the OEM curtain for a longer time.
The Samsung XS1715 is a 2.5" NVMe PCIe SSD that comes in 400, 800, and 1.6TB capacities. Performance density is the most impressive aspect of the XS1715, it can deliver 750,000 random read IOPS and 115,000 write IOPS in an amazingly small 2.5" 15mm package. It also offers a beefy 3,000 MB/s in sequential read speed and 1,400 MB/s of write performance. Samsung recently announced mass production of the SM1715 series, an NVMe SSD in the traditional HHHL form factor, and capacities up to 3.2TB courtesy of 3D V-NAND. The V-NAND powered SM1715 delivers a 10DWPD threshold, which is higher than the 5.6 DWPD (1.6TB model) from the XS1715's 20nm-class eMLC Toggle NAND.
Dell currently sells the XS1715 in their popular PowerEdge R920 series as the PowerEdge Express Flash NVMe SSD. The XS1715 connects to a backplane and provides Dual-Port PCIe 3.0 x4 speed via the new SFF-8639 connector. Front bay access increases serviceability and brings hot-swapping capability to the PCIe interface. It also increases the potential number of NVMe drives deployed per server. Dell utilizes PCIe extender adaptors that allow four NVMe devices per motherboard PCIe slot. This maximizes performance and capacity density. Two of these extenders allow utilization of eight NVMe SSDs, and still leaves PCIe slots open for other hardware, such as networking and co-processors.
The extreme performance of the XS1715 is well suited for a number of high performance write-intensive applications, such as HPC, ERP, databases, transactional workloads, OLAP, and virtualized environments. The XS1715 is also bootable with supported UEFI platforms. The performance advantages are clearly evident in the four world records held by the Dell PowerEdge R920.
The 5.6 DWPD for the 800GB and 1.6TB models (7 DWPD for 400GB) is competitive with other similar-capacity PCIe offerings. The warranty period is five years and backed by the 5-year DWPD guarantee, or individual OEM warranty limitations. Dell guarantees the SSD according to the TBW (Total Bytes Written) threshold and offers software-monitoring utilities for easy tracking of remaining endurance. The XS1715 offers full data path protection, an UBER rating of 1 per 10^17, and power loss protection via tantalum capacitors. The XS1715 also features a robust two million hour MTBF.
The PMC 89HF16P04CG3 controller powers the XS1715. This 16-channel PCIe 3.0 x4 programmable flash controller provides Samsung with wide latitude in firmware customizations. The PMC controller interfaces with a wide variety of SLC and MLC NAND with the Toggle or ONFI interface, and it would not be surprising to see V-NAND compatibility with this controller in the future.
NVMe provides better latency and performance in comparison to legacy interfaces used by most SSDs, such as AHCI and SCSI. NVMe also provides a standardized approach that can leverage a common driver, instead of the varying proprietary drivers found in current-gen PCIe SSDs. NVMe's higher performance, and multiple queues, provides enhanced scaling in demanding environments. NVMe is well suited to realize the advantages of SSDs by keeping them as close to the CPU as possible.
The XS1715 provides us with a first look at the new SFF-8639 connector. Let's take a closer look at the Samsung XS1715 and its connection into the server.
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