Western Digital Launches HGST Ultrastar SS300 SSDs: 3D NAND for Data Centers


Western Digital has officially introduced its first data center-class SSDs using 3D NAND flash. The new HGST Ultrastar SS300 SSDs are designed for SAS applications with mixed workloads that demand drives with endurance but are not the highest performance possible. The new drives were co-developed with Intel, so they do not have various proprietary SanDisk technologies, such as the Guardian (as some previous-gen Ultrastar SS), but support numerous new features instead.

The Ultrastar SS300 drives use Western Digital’s 64-layer 512/384 Gb 3D TLC/MLC NAND memory as well as a proprietary controller that was presumably co-designed with Intel. HGST does not disclose many details regarding the chip, but it might be the same controller that powers the recently launched Intel SSD DC P4500 and P4600 drives, albeit featuring a different configuration and a different firmware. From the feature set, the Ultrastar SS300 controller supports extended error correction code (ECC with a 1×10^-17 bit error rate) to enable higher performance and data integrity, exclusive-OR (XOR) parity (in case a whole NAND die fails) as well as parity-checked internal data paths. In addition, the Ultrastar SS300 complies with the T10 Data Integrity Field (DIF) standard, which requires all interconnect buses to have parity protection (on the system level), as well as a special power loss data management feature that does not use supercapacitors. Western Digital will offer various Ultrastar SS300 models with features like TCG encryption, TCG+FIPS, and instant secure erase to comply with different security requirements.

The HGST Ultrastar SS300 SSDs are aimed at various market segments, including financial transactions, e-commerce, virtualization, database analytics, etc. that generate read-intensive and mixed-use workloads and thus need both performance and reliability. The new SSDs come in a 2.5”/15 mm form-factor with SAS 12 Gb/s interface and are drop-in compatible with existing servers. Meanwhile, when compared to direct predecessors, the Ultrastar SS200, the new SS300 offer similar capacities — from 400 GB to 7.68 TB, but the new drives excel the ancestors in most possible metrics (endurance, performance, power, etc.).

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When it comes to performance, the HGST Ultrastar SS300 features sequential read speeds of up to 2100 MB/s (+20% vs. the SS200) as well as sequential write speeds of up to 2050 MB/s (3D MLC, +105%) or 1250 MB/s (3D TLC, +25%). Random read performance of the Ultrastar SS300 is up to 400K (+60%), while random write performance is rated at 170-200K for 3D MLC-based performance/endurance-optimized models as well as 115K-130K for capacity-optimized 3D TLC-powered drives. Interestingly, in addition to 9 W and 11 W power envelopes supported by the predecessor, the SS300 also supports a 14 W mode that unlocks “additional performance capabilities” (i.e., IOPS) as well as an ultra-low power setting.

HGST Ultrastar SS300 Series Specifications
Capacities400 GB
800 GB
1,600 GB
3,200 GB
480 GB
960 GB
1,920 GB
3,840 GB
7,680 GB
1,920 GB
3,840 GB
7,680 GB
Form Factor2.5″/15mm
InterfaceSAS 6/12 Gb/s, dual port for 12 Gb/s
NAND64-layer 384 Gb
64-layer 512 Gb
Sequential Read2100 MB/s
Sequential Write2050 MB/s1250 MB/s1200 MB/s
Random Read (4 KB) IOPS400,000
Random Write (4 KB) IOPS200,000170,000120,00080,000
Mixed Random R/W (70:30 R:W, 4KB)
Write Latency 512 B85 msunknown
PowerIdle3.7 W (<3.2 TB) - 4.7 W (>3.2 TB)
Operating9 W, 11 W, 14 W (configurable)
Max. PB400GB: 7PB
800GB: 15PB
1.6TB: 29PB
3.2TB: 59PB
400GB: 2PB
800GB: 4.5PB
1.6TB: 8.5PB
3.2TB: 17.5PB
480GB: 0.9PB
960GB: 1.75PB
1.92TB: 3.5PB
3.84TB: 7PB
7.68TB: 14PB
1.92TB: 1.8PB
3.84TB: 3.5PB
7.68TB: 7PB
EncryptionAES-256 (?)
Power Loss ProtectionYes
MTBF2.5 million hours
WarrantyFive years or max PB written (whichever occurs first)
Legend for Model NumbersH = HGST
U = Ultrastar
S = Standard
MM = NAND type/endurance
(MM=MLC/mainstream endurance, MR=MLC/read-intensive,
TR=TLC/read intensive TV=TLC very read intensive)
32 = Full capacity (3.2TB)
32 = Capacity of this model
(76=7.6TB, 38=3.84TB 32=3.2TB, 19=1.92TB, 16=1.2TB,
96=960GB, 80=800GB, 48=480GB, 40=400GB)
A = Generation code
S = Small form factor (2.5″ SFF)
S2 = Interface, SAS 12Gb/s

x in Model Number denotes Encryption level:
0 = Instant Secure Erase
1 = TCG Encryption
4 = No Encryption, Secure Erase
5 = TCG + FIPS

As for endurance, various versions of the HGST Ultrastar SS300 support 0.5, 1, 3 or 10 writes per day, thus extending addressable markets of the Ultrastar SS-series to applications that require extra endurance at 10 DPWD. All the Ultrastar SS300 SSDs are rated for 2.5 million hours MTBF and are covered with a five-year limited warranty (or the max PB written, whichever occurs first).

Western Digital has already started to ship its SS300 SSDs to select OEM partners, including Oracle. The company does not announce pricing of the drives since they depend on configurations, volume purchasing and other factors.

Gallery: HGST Ultrastar SS300 Data Sheet

Related Reading:

  • Toshiba Demonstrates NVMe SSD With 64-Layer BiCS3 3D NAND
  • Intel Announces New DC P4500 And P4600 Datacenter SSDs
  • NGD Launches Catalina: a 24 TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD with 3D TLC NAND
  • Micron 2017 Roadmap Detailed: 64-layer 3D NAND, GDDR6 Getting Closer, & CEO Retiring
  • Mushkin Announces Helix SSDs: 2.5 GB/s, 3D MLC NAND, SM2260, 2 TB Capacity


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