PCIe-hosted, multi-level-cell SSD boosts performance

May 02, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Micron Technology's P420m PCIe SSD (PCI express, solid-state drive) is designed for enterprise applications that require high-performance read workloads.

The PCIe all-flash I/O accelerator improves overall performance in enterprise servers, appliances and storage platforms. The Micron P420m combines consistent performance with the inherent power efficiency of an all-flash system to deliver improved economics for enterprise data centres. The P420m accelerates performance of today’s demanding data centre applications, including online transaction processing (OLTP), data warehousing and virtualisation.

The drive features ultra-low latency performance that enables fast and predictable response times to information frequently used in data centre environments. When tested against competing PCIe solutions in a MySQL server running an OLTP benchmark, the P420m is the fastest and most consistent performer, delivering more than 3,200 web server requests per second.

The P420m is designed using Micron’s custom-designed ASIC controller, advanced 25-nm multilevel cell (MLC) NAND flash technology, DRAM, firmware and drivers to create a truly vertically integrated solution. The vertical integration begins with intimate knowledge of the NAND media and extends all the way to the end-system design, manufacture and drivers, Micron asserts. The P420m uses Micron’s Extended Performance and Enhanced Reliability Technology (XPERT) architecture, which closely incorporates the storage and controller through highly optimised firmware algorithms and hardware enhancements. The end result is a set of market-focused enterprise features that deliver ultra-low latencies, improved data transfer time, power-loss protection and cost-effectiveness, along with higher capacities and power efficiency.

The P420m low-profile accelerator card comes in a half-height, half-length (HHHL) form factor for rackmount servers. It is also the industry’s first MLC PCIe solution available in a 2.5-inch form factor. The 2.5-inch form factor is growing in popularity among IT administrators because of its ease of serviceability and scalability; it allows drive access from the front of the server, which eliminates the need to power down the server for drive service. This hot-swap capability dramatically decreases server downtime and maintenance costs.

The drive will be available in 350GB, 700GB and 1.4TB capacities, with production expected to begin in June 2013.