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Memblaze PBlaze3L 1.2TB Enterprise PCIe SSD Review

By: Paul Alcorn | PCIe SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Nov 4, 2014 3:03 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Memblaze

Final Thoughts




Memblaze is working on several new products; including the new NVMe-powered PBlaze4 series of PCIe SSDs. Memblaze also has a new FlashRAID controller family in the works. This PCIe 3.0 controller will aggregate the performance of up to 12 NVMe SSDs into a single storage device with 4TB, 8TB, and 16TB configurations. This flexible configuration will provide global wear-leveling capability to maximize endurance and data protection. Memblaze has already enjoyed tremendous success in overseas markets, and their expansion into the U.S. market will expose them to more competition.


The first key to being competitive lies in product differentiation. The PBlaze3L offers a unique Pianokey architecture that provides almost unlimited capacity customization. This flexible platform minimizes wasted capacity by allowing customers to tailor the size of the device to their needs. Memblaze also provides incredibly granular control and monitoring with their MemSphere management utility. The easy-to-use GUI features real-time endurance statistics and performance monitoring, and the CLI and other management features round out expansive management options.


Memblaze specs their SSD at 80 utilization, and users can configure the PBlaze3L for any level of overprovisioning during the secure erase process. This adds another layer of customization to help tailor performance and endurance for applications. The high-performance mode provides enhanced performance, but comes at the expense of capacity.


In our testing, the 80% utilization (high performance) mode provided stellar performance that rivals the leaders in the PCIe SSD market. In mixed random read the PBlaze3L only trailed the Micron P420m, but that was at the highest 256 OIO. In the middle range from 32-128 OIO, where most real-world workloads reside, the PBlaze3L delivered the highest performance, and an excellent IOPS-to-latency ratio. We did not observe mentionable differences in 100% random read workloads with extra overprovisioning.


The extra overprovisioning kicked in for random write workloads, and the PBlaze3L scored a solid second place. The PBlaze3L also stood out with its stunningly consistent random write performance in low-performance and high-performance mode. The clearest advantage came in mixed random workloads, where the PBlaze3L demonstrated remarkable performance that easily beat the rest of the test pool.


Pure sequential read/write workloads were not as impressive. The PBlzae3L trailed competing SSDs in sequential read performance, but mustered second-place in sequential write performance. The real advantage came in mixed sequential workloads, where the PBlze3L commanded the majority of read/write mixtures. In server workload testing, the PBlaze3L scored a resounding win in OLTP and fileserver tests, but fell to third in the read-only category.


Memblaze utilizes a proprietary suite of optimizations to deliver static performance specifications over a large range of capacities. In many cases, lower capacity results in lower performance, but Memblaze guarantees performance at all capacities. Power-loss protection and a cross-die NAND parity scheme protect data, but the three-year warranty is a bit lacking in a space where five-year warranty periods are the standard. The Memblaze PBlaze3L left us impressed with its range of differentiating features and excellent performance, meriting the TweakTown Best Features Award.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Quality, Design, Build and Warranty90%
General Features94%
Performance Consistency97%
Power Consumption and Efficiency92%
Overall TweakTown Rating94%

The Bottom Line: Memblaze's PBlaze3L PCIe SSD cements its place in the market with a wide range of available capacities and granular management utilities. A suite of proprietary optimizations deliver static performance specifications in all capacities and robust data protection features.

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