Solidigm D5-P5336 SSD Review: Monster 61TB Data Center Storage

Solidigm's D5-P5336 SSD Offers Massive Capacities Up To 61TB That Shift Storage Paradigm

solidigm d5 p5336 61tb ssd pcb 2

Solidigm SSD D5-P5336: $<0.08 - $0.10 per GB (Estimated)
The new Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 targets read-heavy workloads and features the company's latest QLC NAND flash memory to achieve massive storage capacities up to 61.44TB.

hot flat
  • Massive Capacities
  • Targeting Lower Price Points (per GB)
  • Mulitple Form Factors
  • Competitive Performance
not flat
  • Not Ideal For Write-Heavy Environments

Solidigm is expanding its data center SSD line-up again, with a new series of drives designed to further maximize storage density and reduce TCO. The new Solidigm D5-P5336 series is a lower-cost option that slots in behind the company’s mid-range D5-P5430 series of drives, but the D5-5336 targets more read-heavy environments and ratchets capacities up significantly. In fact, the 61.44TB Solidigm D5-P5336 we've got on hand is the highest-capacity SSD ever released to date.

The Solidigm D5-P5336 series is outfitted with the company's latest 192-Layer (171GiB) QLC NAND flash memory to drive costs down, but capacities up to 61.44TB, to cost-effectively maximize storage density per-server beyond what's possible with HDDs, or other SSD for that matter. The D5-P5336's SSD controller and platform is similar to Solidigm's other D5-series drives, but its NAND configuration and firmware tweaks change the value proposition considerably.

Take a look at the high-level features and specifications below and then we’ll dive in head-first to see how the new Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 performs...

Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 Specifications & Features

solidigm p5 5336 specs
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solidigm p5 5336 form factors

The new Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 series drives we’ll be showing you here will be offered in a variety of form factors, including U.2 (15mm), E1.L (9.5mm), and E3.S (7.5mm), and they will be offered in capacities from 7.68TB all the way on up to a massive 61.44TB (the smaller E3.S 7.5mm drives top out at 30.72TB) -- that's double the capacity of the D5-P5430 series for those keeping track.

solidigm p5 5336 hdd comparison

The Solidigm D5-P5336's highest-capacity drive shifts the paradigm versus traditional hard drives in environments that require gigantic pools of storage. At this point in time, there are no HDDs that come close to the Solidigm D5-P5336's maximum capacity, and they can't compete with SSDs in terms of performance or power either. The comparison above (provided by Solidigm) demonstates how the Solidigm D5-P5336 can impact real-estate, costs, and ultimately TCO. This kind of massive capacity in a solid state drive (SSD) may be a game changer for some clients, especially in the current landscape where AI and ML -- and its huge storage requirements -- become ever more pervasive.

The Solidigm SSD D5-P5336

The specs for the drives vary somewhat between capacities and form factors (up to 1.005M / 43K random IOPS, and sequentials up to 7GB/s reads and 3.3GB/s writes), but the Solidigm website has an easy compare feature available, should you be considering its various form factors.
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At the core of these drives is a proprietary, native, PCIe Gen 4 NVMe controller paired to 192-layer QLC NAND memory, with specifically tuned firmware, to provide improved latency and consistency for read-heavy workloads. Using 192-layer QLC NAND flash memory on these drives not only allows Solidigm to provide high capacities and improve the maximum storage density per server, but it also minimizes power consumption; peak power under load is up to ~25 watts with idle power of less than 5 watts. Solidigm also notes that the new D5-P5336 offers a 4X Indirection Unit (IU) reduction versus the previous generation. The D5-P5336 is a 16KB IU drive, while its predecessor, D5-P5316, is a 64KB IU.
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Inside the aluminum chassis, which is smooth all around and doesn't feature integrated heatsink fins like the D7-series (from both Intel and Solidigm), these drives feature some SKHyniix DRAM cache, in addition to the controller and NAND, and capacitors that enable power-loss protection. Like previous-gen data center drives from Solidigm, the D5-P5336 series offers end-to-end protection from silent data corruption and includes a 5-year warranty, with endurance ratings of .02 - .58 full drive writes per day (up to 65.2 PBW on the 61.44TB drive) depending on the total capacity. These drives also support OCP 2.0 and are FIPS 140-3 Level 2 compliant.

solidigm storage tool

As you’d expect from a data center focused products such as this, Solidigm offers management, update, and maintenance software for the SSD D5-P5336 series, for both Windows and Linux. The Solidigm Storage Tool (for Windows, pictured above) offers a modern GUI, with a few diagnostic and maintenance tools to keep the SSDs performing optimally. This is actually a universal tool that works with any Intel or Solidigm data center SSD (Intel Optane requires the Intel MAS GUI), which gives users the ability perform such operations as updating the firmware, secure erasing drive or sending a TRIM command to the drive with the SSD Optimizer to clean-up cells that are no longer in use.

Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 Test Setup And Benchmarks

Under each test condition, the SSDs tested here were installed as secondary volumes in our testbed, with a separate drive used for the OS and benchmark installations. Our testbed's motherboard was updated with the latest BIOS available at the time of publication and drives were left blank without partitions for some tests, while others required them to be partitioned and formatted. Windows firewall, automatic updates, and screen savers were all disabled before testing and Windows Quiet Hours / Focus Assist was enabled to prevent any potential interruptions.

solidigm d5 p5336 61tb ssd 3

In all test runs, we rebooted the system, ensured all temp and prefetch data was purged, waited several minutes for drive activity to settle and for the system to reach an idle state before invoking a test. All of the drives featured here were tested with their own NVMe drivers installed where possible / available, but the default Microsoft NVMe driver was used when a proprietary driver was unavailable. Also note, we compare of mix of PCIe Gen 4 and Gen 3 drives here to illustrate how the Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 compares to other Solidigm drives we've previously tested and some competing offerings we have on hand.

IOMETER Benchmarks

As we've noted in previous solid state storage articles, though IOMeter is clearly a well-respected industry standard benchmark tool, we're not enamored with it for testing SSDs. The fact of the matter is, though our results with IOMeter scale, it is debatable whether or not certain access patterns, as they are presented to and measured, actually provide a valid example of real-world performance. The access patterns we tested may not reflect your particular workload, for example. That said, we do think IOMeter is a reliable gauge for relative available throughput, latency, and bandwidth with a given storage solution. In addition, there are certain higher-end workloads you can place on a drive with IOMeter, that you can't with most other storage benchmark tools available currently.

In the following tables, we're showing two sets of access patterns; a custom Workstation / Server pattern, with a 128K transfer size, consisting of 80% reads (20% writes) and 80% random (20% sequential) access and a 4K access pattern with a 4K transfer size, comprised of 67% reads (33% writes) and 100% random access. Queue depths from 1 to 32 were tested.

iometer 1 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

iometer 2 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

The Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 finished just behind the D7-series drives at QD1 when testing with the 4K, fully random access pattern, but pulls ahead of all the other drives once the queue depth is increased. With the 128K access pattern test, that features some sequential transfers, the Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 finishes just behind the higher-end D7-series, but is tightly grouped with the PCIe Gen 4 drives, and well ahead of the Gen 3 drives.

iometer 3 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

iometer 4 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

The data presented here is the average bandwidth across all queue depth, with the access patterns we tested. As you can see, the Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 leads the pack with 4K random transfers. In the 128K test, the Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 ends up trailing the higher-end D7-series drive slightly, but it performs similarly to the other Solidigm drives overall.

iometer 5a solidigm p5 5336 performance

iometer 6 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

The Solidigm SSD D5-P5336's latency characteristics are strong across the board. In the 4K, fully random test, only the Intel SSD D7-P5510 offered lower latency at the highest queue depths. In the 128K test, however, the Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 is tightly grouped with the other PCIe Gen 4 drives across all queue depths. 

ATTO Disk Benchmarks: Bandwidth & IOs

ATTO is straightforward disk benchmark that measures transfer speeds across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and graphs them out in an easily interpreted chart. We chose .5KB through 64MB transfer sizes and a queue depth of 4 over a total max volume length of 256MB. ATTO's workloads are sequential in nature and measure bandwidth and IOs, rather than response times, access latency, etc.

atto1 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

atto2 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

The Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 is designed for read-intensive workloads, but this light-duty write tests shows it competing well with the other PCIe Gen 4 drives peaking just above its 3.3GB/s rating. In the read test, the Solidigm SSD D5-P5336's performance tails a bit with transfer sizes in the 16 - 512K range, but it ramps back up and competes with the higher-end D7-series drives with the larger transfer sizes.

atto3 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

atto4 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

Peak IOs across the various transfer sizes show the Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 leading wtih the smallest transfers, but again we see things dropping off somewhat from 16 - 512K in the read test.

SiSoft SANDRA Physical Disk Test

Next we used SiSoft SANDRA, the the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant for some quick tests. Here, we used the Physical Disk test suite and provide the results from our comparison SSDs. The benchmarks were run on clean drives that lacked any partitions. Read and write performance metrics are detailed below.

sandra solidigm d5 p5336 performance

The Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 faltered with this workload and ultimately finished behind the P4510 in the read test, but with writes that trailed the other drives.

AS-SSD Compression Benchmark

Here we ran the Compression Benchmark built-into AS SSD, an SSD specific benchmark being developed by Alex Intelligent Software. This test is interesting because it uses a mix of compressible and non-compressible data and outputs both Read and Write throughput across the drive. We only graphed a small fraction of the data (1% compressible, 50% compressible, and 100% compressible), but the trend is representative of the benchmark’s complete results.

as ssd 1 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

as ssd 2 solidigm d5 p5336 performance

The compressibility of the data being transferred across the Solidigm SSD D5-P5336 has minimal impact on performance. In the read test, transfers are mostly flat, near the top of the charts. In the write tests, there is some variability (likely due to write caching) and the drive lands behind the P5430, but still up at the top of the chart.

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