Intel Embraces 3D NAND And NVMe For New Class Of SAS-Killing Dual-Port Enterprise SSDs

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Over the past few years, we’ve seen some pretty amazing advancements in the solid state drive (SSD) space thanks technology like 3D NAND and the NVMe interface. Intel also is banking on the use of 3D NAND to further put pressure on entrenched HDD storage. Over the next four years, Intel expects that the density and efficiency advantages of 3D NAND will move SSDs from being primarily used for hot storage (frequently used data) to warm (infrequently used data) and cold storage (rarely used data).

With this in mind, Intel is launching a new range of SSDs including offerings in the enterprise markets. Starting off at the lower end of the spectrum, there’s the DC P3320 and DC P3520 Series SSDs. The DC P3320 is able to deliver sequential reads and writes of 1600 MB/s and 1400 MB/s respectively. These figures represent 3.2x and 3.1x improvements respectively over the previous generation DC 3510.

Likewise, random 4K reads have jumped to 365K IOPS (a 5x improvement), while random 4K writes have nudged up just a tad to 22K IOPS (1.4x increase). Unfortunately, Intel isn’t quite ready to give us performance stats on the DC P3520, although we do now that it is the higher performing SKU, with Intel noting that it has “significant performance and latency improvements” compared to the DC P3320.

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Both the DC P3320 and P3520 will be available in 2.5-inch and PCIe X4 HHHL form-factors. 450GB capacities will only be available in the 2.5-inch form-factor SSDs, while both form-factors will support the larger capacities SKUs, which come in at 1.2TB and 2TB.

On the higher-end side, Intel has adopted the new DC D3600 and DC D3700 Series SSDs. Intel says that these dual-port PCIe SSDs are easily scalable and perfect for mission critical situations. Having two ports creates two fault domains along with increased availability. A fault that occurs on one port still leaves the second port available to use, increasing reliability and uptime.

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Although Intel doesn’t break out the performance differences between the DC 3700 and DC D3600, the normalized performance of the drives is quite respectable. Sequential reads and writes are listed at 2100 MB/s ad 1500 MB/s respectively, while random 4K reads and writes come in at 470K IOPS and 95K IOPS. Overall, the performance figures for these drives range from 1.8x to 3.9x faster than competing SAS SSDs.

The DC D3600 and DC D3700 Series SSDs are only available in a 2.5-inch form-factor with the former coming in 1TB and 2TB capacities and the latter coming in 800GB and 1.6TB capacities.

Pricing and availability for Intel’s new SSD families are not available at this time.