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Toshiba unveils SAS, NVMe PCIe SSDs at Flash Memory Summit

Count Toshiba among the group of drive makers demonstrating new enterprise PCI Express (PCIe) and SAS SSDs at this week’s Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California.

Toshiba unveiled three families of PCIe SSDs that support the non-volatile memory express (NVMe) protocol – one for notebooks and PCs, another for thin notebooks and tablets, and a third for servers and enterprise storage appliances. The company touted low power consumption with its new enterprise PX04P series, which is due for release in the fourth quarter.

Cameron Brett, director of SSD product marketing for Toshiba’s storage products business unit, claimed the enterprise PX04P drive can deliver more than 650,000 IOPS at 18 watts of power for certain workloads. He said the enterprise NVMe PCIe SSDs are geared for data center, hyperscale and cloud users trying to eke out as much performance as possible while keeping down their power costs.

The PX04P series is Toshiba’s first enterprise NVMe PCIe drive. The product is available in two form factors: 2.5-inch SSD with SFF-8639 connector and half-height half-length (HHHL) add-in card. The drives support up to four lanes of PCIe 3.0 and use Toshiba’s QSBC error-correction technology. Some versions support self encryption, according to Brett.

Brett said the PCIe SSDs are hot swappable if the system supports it. He said a “surprise removal, where everything is up and running and you just yank the drive” must be done with a Toshiba device driver.

PX04P customers have a variety of endurance and capacity options. The base model offers capacities of 800 GB, 1.6 TB and 3.2 TB. But, Brett said users could increase the capacity by altering the endurance level. For instance, with a 3.2 TB drive, the user could change the endurance from 10 drive writes per day (DWPD) to one DWPD to boost the capacity to 4 TB, according to Brett.

Brett said the PX04P NVMe PCIe drives are based on the same controller chip as the PX04S Series of enterprise 12 Gbps SAS SSDs that Toshiba announced last week. He said the same Japan-based development team worked on the SAS and enterprise PCIe NVMe SSDs. Toshiba listed the following endurance choices:

High Endurance (PX04SHB): Supports 25 DWPD with a 100% random workload. (Toshiba noted: “One full drive write per day means the drive can be written and rewritten to full capacity once a day every day for five years, the stated product warranty period.”)
–Capacity options: 200 GB to 1.6 TB
–Target workloads: Write-intensive virtualized data centers, big data analytics and high-performance computing.

Mid-Endurance (PX04SMB): Supports 10 DWPD.
–Capacity options: Up to 3.2 TB.
–Target workloads: online transaction processing (OLTP) and e-commerce.

Value-Endurance (PX04SVB): Supports 3 DWPD.
–Capacity options: Up to 3.84 TB
–Target workloads: Read-intensive applications such as media streaming, data warehousing and web serving.

Read-Intensive (PX04SRB): Supports 1 DWPD.
–Capacity options: Up to 3.84 TB.
–Target workloads: Enterprise and Web-based applications such as video on demand and data warehousing.

“With the SAS drives, we’re going to be offering all the different endurance points as separate models, where with the PCIe, we’re going to offer one base model and then you change the overprovisioning to the capacity and the endurance you need,” said Brett.

Toshiba isn’t the only vendor offering customers a choice of varying endurance and capacity levels. For instance, Seagate this week unveiled NVMe PCIe SSDs with models of differing capacities that are either endurance-optimized/mixed-workload or capacity-optimized/read-intensive. Last week, Seagate teamed with Micron on the launch of new 12 Gbps SAS SSDs that offer four endurances options at various capacity points.

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