The entry-level is clamoring for value oriented flash solutions to deal with storage system challenges. Strategically placed flash layers within larger HDD ecosystems can benefit administrators in an endless number of scenarios, from data tiering to dealing with VDI boot storms.
For those looking to "right size" their implementations, the P400E provides a lower level of performance that does not bring the higher price range that more expensive SLC products demand. Designed for read-centric applications where high write workloads are not a priority, Micron feels that they have provided the right balance of performance versus price.
With its low price the P400E is intended as a replacement for HDDs. This lower price is realized through employing typical 25nm IMFT MLC NAND. This NAND allows for affordability, but also brings challenges to convert it to a reliable and high-endurance solution. Providing that level of high endurance begins with quality components and integrated enterprise class features on the SSD itself.
The only improvements that I would look for to round this SSD family out a bit more would be the inclusion of power capacitors. While this would create a bit of a higher price, it would be well worth it to protect user data. For the market the P400E addresses, capacitors might just add that extra bit of price that would break the deal. Perhaps a slightly higher priced version of the P400E with integrated capacitors would be in order.
The lack of integrated encryption may be a problem for some, but for the mass audience, real-time encryption is not usually a requirement. While write speeds are admittedly low, these SSDs aren't designed for high write environments.
The setup of five SSDs that we tested here today gives a bit of insight into the performance that can be expected from these enterprise SSDs. Obtaining 234,000 random read IOPS, nearly a quarter of a million, is pretty impressive with five SSDs in this price range. Also equally impressive was an improvement of nearly 30% in random write speed merely by sacrificing 20% of capacity to extra overprovisioning. The low price of these SSDs provides some flexibility for users to sacrifice that bit of capacity for higher write speed.
Many vendors are bringing software-caching solutions to market and these SSDs would perform well in these applications. The overall high read scores illustrate that the P400E would avail itself very well in caching applications with static data sets.
Finally, it comes down to price and that is where Micron really needs to be competitive. The price of MLC is falling rapidly and many consumer drives, which are somewhat of a competitor to this drive, are coming in at low prices right now. Even though pricing on drives can vary, the MSRP for large quantities of the P400E drives is coming in at $100 for 50GB, $175 for 100GB, $330 for 200GB and $655 for 400GB of storage. This pricing is certainly competitive when taken into account the features that these SSDs offer for data security that typical consumer class devices do not. Taking into consideration the price of other enterprise-class SSDs the price becomes much easier to swallow. This line of SSDs is optimized for low TCO and provides a great IOPS-per-Watt and Dollars-per-IOPS ratios for enterprise solutions.
For the low overall price of the setup illustrated here, many users can realize huge application acceleration without the huge price tag to match.
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