Micron Demos PCIe RealSSD P320h, Achieves Over 3GB/s Of Sustained Throughput

Micron has just announced a new line-up of PCI Express-based, enterprise-class solid state drives that the company claims are the “world’s fastest”. The new RealSSD P320h is a Gen 2 PCIe x8, full height, half-length card built around Micron’s 34nm SLC (single level cell) NAND flash and uses a high-end controller with customized firmware to achieve up to 750,000 4K random read IOPs and about 320,000 4K random write IOPS, with over 3GB/s of sustained throughput.

Part of Micron's special sauce with this PCI Express SSD, is the controller ASIC underneath the black heat sink you see below.  We're very familiar with the underlying technology in that ASIC but can't yet disclose that information unfortunately.  Suffice it to say that the engineering and IP behind it, is what makes this PCI Express-based SSD so ridiculously fast.  Specifically, the device is rated for up to 3GB/sec in sequential read throughput and up to 2GB/sec in sequential writes. Talk about blinding speed.

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In the video below, Micron’s Enterprise Product Marketing Manager, Janene Ellefson demos a single RealSSD 320h installed in an off-the shelf server running Windows and the drive is able to hit 650,000 IOPS; apparently the 750,000 IOPS number mentioned on the release was achieved using an optimized Linux installation, which had lower overhead and was able to perform a little better.

We hope to have more details about the Micron RealSSD 320h in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned for additional info (and potentially a full review). For now, the full press release is posted below along with some links back to Micron’s RealSSD 320h product page.


New PCI Express Storage System Boosts Enterprise Efficiency, Accelerates System Responsiveness & Extends Data Integrity

BOISE, Idaho, June 2, 2011 – Micron Technology, Inc. today announced a new portfolio of PCI Express (PCIe) solid-state storage systems, the RealSSD P320h solid-state drive (SSD) series. This new RealSSD P320h series delivers extreme performance and endurance demanded by data-intensive enterprise applications including cloud computing, high-performance computing, data analytics, business intelligence, and video on demand. These new forms of data storing, accessing and sharing are quickly challenging the typical enterprise storage model of spinning disks, presenting great opportunity for PCIe SSDs.

“Micron is defining a whole new category of enterprise-class storage with our P320h PCIe solid-state storage systems,” said Gary Gentry, general manager, enterprise division, Micron’s NAND solutions group. “The P320h provides customers with the most compelling performance solution in the industry.”

The P320h system uses Micron’s proven 34-nanometer (nm) single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory technology, which provides two different user capacities: 350 gigabyte (GB) and 700GB. From the NAND silicon to the controller to the complete system solution, the P320h SSD is designed and developed by Micron.

For performance, the P320h series reaches a new standard among current PCIe systems, more than doubling the sequential read and write speeds compared to the nearest competitor—achieving up to 3GBs of sustained data throughput per second. In terms of input/output operations per second (IOPS), a common method used in the enterprise market for benchmarking relative performance, the P320h series reaches a maximum of 750,000 IOPS read and 341,000 IOPS write speeds.

A tremendous amount of data is read and accessed from cloud computing applications such as YouTube, Facebook and Netflix. According to IDC, the amount of digital content created and replicated throughout 2010 reached 1.2 zettabytes.1 For fast access to this information, an extremely fast backend infrastructure is required, especially from the storage system. A P320h drive (working in a cloud media streaming application) could serve data fast enough to feed 1,500 simultaneous individual HD video streams. 

Other applications that benefit from high-performance PCIe SSDs include Web servers and online transaction processing databases. The high random performance of the P320h system is equivalent to the amount of IOPS an Exchange server would need to support more than 1.5 million Outlook users. 3 Additionally, for a traditional transactional database, such as an online bank operation transferring funds from one type of account to another, the P320h can achieve the same throughput as nearly 5,000 hard drives.4 For more details on the performance advantages of Micron’s P320h systems, visit Micron's website.

The P320h features Micron’s proprietary redundant array of independent NAND (RAIN) management technology that is designed to ensure enterprise-class data protection by replicating data across the NAND flash memory channels. The P320h drive also provides enterprise-class levels of endurance with the 700GB drive able to write 28 terabytes of data every day for five years.

The first products in Micron’s P320h series will be available in a full height, half-length form factor, measuring 111.15mm wide x 167.65mm long x 14.47mm thick. Micron has additional PCIe form factors under development, which we plan to introduce later this year. Micron is now delivering early samples of the P320h, with mass production expected to begin in the third quarter.