Seagate Refreshes Enterprise SSDs With 3D NAND

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At Flash Memory Summit this week, Seagate is showing off their latest enterprise SSDs and previewing upcoming developments. Seagate is also introducing a new branding strategy to unify their enterprise SSD product lines under one numbering scheme.

The new NVMe SSDs will be branded Nytro 5000 series. In this segment, the old Nytro XM1440 is being replaced by a Nytro 5000 series that brings few hardware changes other than the update to 3D NAND flash. The Nytro 5000 is still a M.2 22110 card with power loss protection and maximum power of 8.25W, roughly the practical limit for M.2 SSDs without extreme cooling. Compared to the Nytro XM1440, the Nytro 5000 series roughly doubles random write performance, but it's still a read-focused product. Capacities now range from 400GB to 1.92TB, providing two write endurance/overprovisioning levels at each of three raw capacity points. The Nytro 5000 is currently sampling and will be in mass production in Q3 of 2017.

The 1200.2 family of SAS SSDs is being replaced by the Nytro 3000 series. With a combination of dual-port SAS support and the higher power limits enabled by the 2.5″ form factor, the Nytro 3000 can offer similar performance to the Nytro 5000, but also provides much higher capacities. The Nytro 3000 series will include capacities from 400GB to 1TB in a 2.5″ 7mm form factor, and capacities up to 15TB in a 15mm thick drive. The Nytro 3000 is also Seagate's first drive to implement Write Streams support for lower write amplification and more consistent performance. The Nytro 3000 will begin sampling in Q4 of 2017 and enter mass production in the first quarter of 2018.

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Seagate's new enterprise SATA SSDs will be the Nytro 1000 series, but they are not being formally announced yet. Instead, Seagate's third new SSD being exhibited here at Flash Memory Summit is a technology demonstration that combines elements of two different demos from last year. Seagate has built an ultra-high capacity 64TB SSD using 3D TLC NAND. Unlike last year's 60TB SSD demo, this won't be constrained by a SAS interface and instead uses a PCIe 3 x16 interface. Internally, the 64TB SSD uses eight M.2 SSDs each with a PCIe 3 x4 link to the drive's built-in PCIe switch. Last year's quad-M.2 demo didn't include a PCIe switch and thus relied on the host to provide a x16 slot that supported bifurcation into four x4 ports. This year with new server CPU platforms offering far more PCIe lanes, that lack of a PCIe switch is less of a limitation, but it still reduces the potential viability as a product. The new 64TB NVMe drive can not only operate in any PCIe x16 slot (even those that are electrically only x8 or narrower), it can come much closer to saturating the x16 link. The M.2 SSDs that make up the 64TB drive cannot saturate their own x4 links, but in aggregate they can deliver sequential read speeds of 13GB/s at QD8 and random reads of 2M IOPS at QD64.

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