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Micron M510DC release focuses on cloud, backup as a service

The Micron M510DC family of SATA drives are aimed at service providers that use flash to handle workloads with heavy read volume, infrequent writes.

Micron Technology today broadened its solid-state drive portfolio with the release of the M510DC series of SATA solid-state drives for enterprise data centers.

With a targeted endurance of one to two drive writes per day, the M510DC drives are intended for read-intensive workloads such as cloud storage, content distribution networks, accelerating virtual desktops and NoSQL database analytics.

Micron M510DC drives come in 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB and 960 GB capacities and are made with Micron’s 16-nanometer multilevel cell NAND flash memory. Micron rates the drives for large data transfers up to 65,000 random read IOPS and 23,000 random write IOPS.

Cloud storage expected to drive demand for SATA SSDs

The vendor said it expects to sell the M510DC drives primarily to service providers selling cloud storage and backup as a service. Sampling with Micron customers started in May.

Micron M510DC drives will compete with other SSDs developed for hyper-scale workloads, including Samsung Electronics Corp.’s TLC-based enterprise 845DC EVO SSDs and Intel’s Intel SSD DC S3700 line.

Even though PCIe has advanced in enterprise data centers, a strong market remains for SATA-based enterprise SSDs that blend performance and midrange endurance, Micron product manager Matt Shaine said.

"The M510DC is designed to be a steady state performance workhorse. While we're targeting the drive for read-centric workloads, we feel our write performance is a good indication of the drive's overall robustness," Shaine said.

Greg Wong, a principal analyst with flash memory consultancy Forward Insights, said service providers are implementing low-cost flash storage to manage applications on which data is frequently read but seldom written.

"When SSDs came out, everybody was concerned about endurance. There's a big movement [lately] toward drives with lower drive writes per day, especially in the hyper-scale data center companies. They're using a cheap drives [with] lower endurance because they have built redundancy into their server architecture. Micron sees that trend and is jumping on the bandwagon," Wong said.

M510DC drives use same hardware, data protection architecture as M500 SSDs

The new SSD family is a complement to the M500DC Enhanced Data Center flash drives Micron released in April 2014 for storage OEMs and enterprise data centers. The M500 drives are architected with Micron’s 20-nanometer MLC NAND and geared for mixed workloads, with top drive capacity of 800 GB.

The M500/M510DC series fits between Micron’s aftermarket BX100 and MX200 SSDs, M600 OEM client drives and PCIe 420M and PCIe 320 IO Accelerator products.

Like the M500, the Micron M510DC Series is equipped with Xpert design architecture for optimizing drive life, SSD performance and data integrity. Xpert is the name for Micron’s firmware features. Features include full data path protection and power loss protection to safeguard both data in flight and data at rest.

Shaine said Micron M510DC drives are the first SATA SSDs to be self-encrypted with the TCG-Enterprise (TCG-E) data security specification, established by the Trusted Computing Group. The TCG-E standard creates a one-to-one relationship between an SSD and its host machine. It prevents unauthorized users from reading an SSD without its authentication key.

The TCG-E standard is an important feature for Micron customers in financial services, health care and other regulated industries, Shaine said.

Next Steps

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Is endurance becoming less of a concern for enterprise SSDs?
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Well, Micron's about to be sold to a Chinese company, so it remains to be seen what will happen to it and its products.
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Micron reportedly has decided against the Tsinghua deal, however. Not sure how it would have affected U.S. in any event though
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