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Paul Alcorn's Blog

New Unannounced Micron P322h PCIe SSD (possibly NVMe) pops up

I spotted a new unannounced product while surfing the Micron website for drivers last week. The Micron P322h jumped right off the page. We have evaluated the Micron P320h in the past, and its superb performance is delivered via a custom Micron/IDT controller and SLC NAND. The P320h delivers the ultimate in endurance and performance for PCIe SSDs, so understandably news of a P322h piques my interest. Unfortunately, 52 successive clicks confirmed the PDF was locked from view. This forced me to throw my coffee at the monitor, but after some cleanup I reached out to Micron for comment. I was informed:

The P322h is a variant of the P320h. The product is an OEM partnership with some other interesting specifics that we can't share at this time.

Frustration reigned supreme, and over the next few days I continued checking the Micron site (342 times) hoping some tidbits would become available. Soon enough the product documentation was unlocked. Micron is still mum on the details, but the document gives us some specifics and room to make educated guesses. These specifications are contained in a Micron document but aren't officially confirmed. As usual, be warned my blog may contain some wild conjecture.

New Unannounced Micron P322h PCIe SSD (possibly NVMe) pops up |

The most important revelation comes from an innocent reference to the "NVM Express Specification revision 1.0b". This leads us to believe this could be Microns first NVMe SSD. The controller on the SSD is unlisted, but we do know that in the past Micron and IDT have co-developed controllers for the P320h and the P420m.

Adaptec scooped up IDT earlier this year and the Princeton NVMe controller is still making its way to market. There is a possibility the P322h features Princeton or a variant, but Micron has also indicated they are developing their own NVMe silicon in previous investor calls. The functional block diagram appears similar to the standard P320h and P420m, albeit cut back from 32 channels with 64 NAND emplacements, to 24 channels with 48 NAND emplacements.

Continue reading 'New Unannounced Micron P322h PCIe SSD (possibly NVMe) pops up' (full post)

Who let the flash out? Comay with 1.6TB on the BladeDrive E28!

We are just finishing the evaluation of the monster 1.6 TB Comay BladeDrive E28 PCIe SSD, and wanted to share some desktop-background worthy shots of a ton of Toshiba NAND. This is typical 19nm Toshiba MLC Toggle, in concert with 8 x LSI SandForce SF-2581 controllers. This beast is destined for enterprise workloads and there is also a 3.2 TB version available.

So what does 1.6 TB of flash get you? 3,400 MB/s in sequential read, 3,200 MB/s of sequential write, and over 520,000 random read IOPS. Sprinkle in 440,000 random write IOPS and this PCIe SSD can handle the most demanding workloads.

Look to these pages soon for the full evaluation!

Who let the flash out? Comay with 1.6TB on the BladeDrive E28! 01 |
Who let the flash out? Comay with 1.6TB on the BladeDrive E28! 02 |

Continue reading 'Who let the flash out? Comay with 1.6TB on the BladeDrive E28!' (full post)

TweakTown hosts SSD Webinar with SanDisk

Hey guys, we are hosting a free webinar with SanDisk on the SSD Advantage. We hope to educate users on relevant topics of when, how and why they should upgrade to an SSD, along with a Q&A session afterwards.

Hit the link for the totally free sign-up.

Feel free to suggest topics and questions in the comments or via my email; paulalcorn at

TweakTown hosts SSD Webinar with SanDisk |

Feel free to join us for a host of topics and a great Q&A session afterwards!

World's first 6TB Helium HDD --- In the lab, and a few quick tests

It isn't often that the capacity of the hard drive increases, but today we were lucky enough to receive the first 6TB HDD in production. The HGST Ultrastar He6 is a filled with helium to allow for thinner platters and a number of other advancements, including lower power consumption and weight. This is a drive destined for the datacenter, but all technology tends to eventually bleed down to the consumer space.

We took a closer look at the new He6 architecture in this article. Head there for a deeper understanding of the new Ultrastar He6 Helium HDD's.

Its easy to get jaded when you test storage for a living, but this new drive really excites me. We are working on a full evaluation as you read this, but I wanted to show a few quick pics and screenshots of a few basic tests prior to the full write-up, which is now posted here. These are just a few preliminary benchmarks. The Ultrastar He6 is destined for datacenter applications that require the utmost capacity and efficiency and is designed accordingly, so any initial impressions should be taken with a grain of salt.

World's first 6TB Helium HDD --- In the lab, and a few quick tests 101 |
World's first 6TB Helium HDD --- In the lab, and a few quick tests 102 |

Continue reading 'World's first 6TB Helium HDD --- In the lab, and a few quick tests' (full post)

We interview leading innovators at Storage Visions 2014 and CES 2014

After covering both Storage Visions and CES 2014 I have had a bit of time to reflect on the technology and subjects we covered at both shows. I was lucky enough to speak with industry leaders in both enterprise and client applications both shows, and today I bring you a roundup of our conversations. Feel free to click the links for greater insight into each topic.

We interview leading innovators at Storage Visions 2014 and CES 2014 |

SanDisk has made tremendous headway with their SAS Optimus line of SSDs, which are shockingly close to price parity with the high performance SAS HDD segment. SanDisk is also working closely with their partners to usher in the next era of business class SSDs. The burgeoning corporate market is ripe for the picking, and the increased TCO advantage outlined by Tarun Loomba from SanDisk is sure to come into consideration for just about every CIO in the planning stages of new procurement and system upgrades. The looming retirement of Windows XP is a huge factor in the corporate space, and migration to a newer operating system often requires new hardware. With their focus on business-class SSDs, SanDisk is striking while the iron is hot.

Read on for more coverage.....

Continue reading 'We interview leading innovators at Storage Visions 2014 and CES 2014' (full post)

Enterprise SSDs provide more endurance than HDDs in random workloads

Between the Racks takes on SSD v HDD Endurance

The key to a great product evaluation is always going to rely upon comparisons. Coming to conclusions based upon the performance of competing devices is the bread and butter of what I do for a living. Writing a conclusion is elementary, provided you keep it simple. One merely rehashes the stats and chats a bit about the performance of Device A compared to Devices B, C, and D.

One juxtaposition we rarely cover is the comparison of an SSD to an HDD. In most cases, it is unfair to compare the performance of an enterprise-class SSD to an HDD. The performance isn't in the same ballpark, and until lately the price hasn't been either. We tend to keep the comparisons confined to similar devices. Plainly put, SSD vs SSD is a fair fight. It just doesn't seem feasible to prop up an HDD in the ring for a faster and more powerful SSD opponent to pummel to death.

Enterprise SSDs provide more endurance than HDDs in random workloads |

With the continued development of MLC, and even smaller lithographies in the near future, the price-per-GB of enterprise SSDs has fallen into striking range of performance 2.5" SAS HDDs (10K and 15K). The tremendous pressures placed upon the 2.5" performance spindle-based market drags the SSD vs HDD comparison back into light.

In a recent article I was making some basic comparisons of an entry-level SAS SSD and a traditional 2.5" 15K HDD. Aside from the comparisons on price, capacity, and other features, one item really stuck out. While crunching the numbers it occurred to me that endurance isn't quite as clear-cut as one would expect.

Continue reading 'Enterprise SSDs provide more endurance than HDDs in random workloads' (full post)

Between the Racks

I tend to be more of a nuts-and-bolts type of guy than a blogger. Most of the time you can find me in my cramped office, elbow-deep in a server, testing storage products. Luck, some great people, and a bit of hard work have combined to grant me early access to some of the most cutting-edge enterprise storage products on the planet.

Some guys design the engine, while others design the interior, and somewhere an executive smoking a fat cigar rakes in the cash from sales of the vehicle. In between there are a whole host of industry observers, marketers, and what-not. Everyone has their own unique role, and their own unique viewpoint.

Between the Racks |

Of course the enterprise storage industry is much the same, with similar voices all clamoring for your attention. They all want to bestow upon you, dear reader, their own spin.

Personally, if I could ask just one person for their opinion of a new car I would go to the test driver. He's the guy that, in Top Gun parlance, "kicks the tires and lights the fires". How fast does it corner? What's the 0-60, and not the specs please, tell me what you see and actually feel out there on the track. How does it handle?

Continue reading 'Between the Racks' (full post)

Please Note: This blog is not edited by TweakTown staff, and may not represent the thoughts or opinions of TweakTown or its editors.