I have a NAS box, and in that NAS box is a couple of 4TB hard drives. Despite being data-hungry, that's still impressive to me... 4,000GB per drive. It seems like not long ago 2TB drives were the cream of the crop, and now, 6TB hard drives exist. It goes without saying that while big drives like these are awesome in the home, they're important in servers, where storage requirements can be monumental.
Of course, though, storage isn't usually the only thing that matters in the enterprise: Speed plays an important role as well. While today's hard drives are certainly the fastest we've ever seen, thanks to their ultra high-density platters, the performance still doesn't come close to an SSD. We're not just talking throughput here, but constant back-and-forths in the form of IOPS - a hard drive might peak at about 100 read or write IOPS, whereas an SSD can have numbers hundreds of times higher.
The solution for those who demand mass storage and top-rate performance? SanDisk's Optimus MAX 4TB SSD, a SAS offering built using 19nm NAND. On paper, this is one impressive drive: When the first 1TBSSD came out, it had a 3.5-inch form-factor, whereas SanDisk's 4TB retains the typical 2.5-inch form-factor.
SanDisk is targeting its Optimus MAX 4TB at customers who need fast read performance but can manage with modest write performance. SanDisk refers to these as 90/10 workloads, where 90% of the I/O access is reads. Common uses would be video-on-demand, and Web-based apps.
At 400MB/s in both directions, this SSD isn't the fastest we've seen, but we wouldn't really expect it to be given what SanDisk has pulled off here. The read IOPS is par for the course, at 75K, whereas the write is a somewhat crippled 15K. I say "somewhat crippled" because when compared to most SSDs, it is, but 15K IOPS is still at least 150x higher than a mechanical hard drive.
Believe it or not, SanDisk is keeping mum on pricing, though it's sure to leak through the cracks at some point. Given what kind of luxury it is to have so much storage in a single 2.5-inch SSD, its price-tag is likely to be just as jaw-dropping. And to think: An 8TB model is planned for next year.
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