Intel Launches DC S3700 SSD For Data Centers, Emphasizes Endurance and High Performance
Predictable performance in a data center is much more important than in the consumer or professional space. In normal workloads, it doesn't matter much if a series of drive operations is faster or slower, provided that the overall level of performance remains steady and the drop-offs aren't a sign of a deeper problem. Data centers, in contrast, absolutely require smooth operation. Performance of an entire disk array can crater if the controller is forced to spend time dealing with a handful of tasks that require a disproportionate amount of attention.
HET improves NAND reliability in two basic ways. The first approach (detailed on the left-hand side of the image above) is that Intel cherry picks the best of its MLC NAND Flash for use in these drives. The benefit there is simple and straightforward -- by using the best chips it can build, Intel starts with a product that supports an inherently larger number of program/erase (P/E) cycles.
The last bit of news out of this announcement is that Intel has returned to the SSD controller space; the DC S3700 has a custom Intel ASIC inside it. Some of you may remember that Intel initially took this route with its early SSDs, but it opted to use LSI's SandForce controllers for the more recent 300 and 500 products. The company has returned to its own silicon for the DC S3700, but hasn't said when, or if, the new chip will make it into consumer hardware. Depending on where Intel focused its efforts, there may not be much call for it, consumer SSDs wouldn't necessarily benefit from Intel HET or the enterprise-grade data protection algorithms the DC S3700 incorporates.