For those that study how flash memory stores bits, Quad Level Cell technology is a tricky thing to pull off in production. You are taking a single NAND Flash cell and change its stored electron count in such a way that you can later discriminate between SIXTEEN different states.
…we're talking a countable number (dozens to hundreds) of electrons making the difference between a stored 0101 or 0110 in a given cell. Pulling that off in production-capable parts is no small feat, and doing so for enterprise usage first is definitely a bold move. Enter Micron:
The 5210 ION line is a SATA product meant for enterprise usages where the workload is primarily reading. This comes in handy for things like real-time data analytics and content delivery systems, where data is infrequently written but needs to be readable at latencies faster than what HDD's can provide.
These are 2.5" 7mm SSDs that will be available from 1.92TB to 7.68TB (yes, 2TB is the *smallest* available capacity for these!). The idea is to enable an easy upgrade path for larger data systems that already employ SATA or SAS (SAS systems are typically cross-compatible with SATA). For backplanes that are designed for slimmer 7mm drives, this can make for some extreme densities.
These are currently being sampled to some big data companies and should see more general availability in a few months time. Press blast from Micron appears after the break.
Micron Ships Industry’s First Quad-Level Cell NAND SSDNew Micron® 5210 ION SSD targets read-intensive cloud workloads, delivering compelling flash performance and economicsNews Highlights
- Industry’s first SSD with quad-level cell (QLC) NAND available and shipping
- Optimized for read-intensive cloud workloads, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, real-time analytics, big data and media streaming
- Built on Micron’s QLC NAND technology with 33 percent higher bit density than current TLC NAND
- Delivers compelling economics for enterprise storage compared to spinning mediaNEW YORK, May. 21, 2018 – Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: MU) has commenced shipments of the industry’s first SSD built on revolutionary quad-level cell (QLC) NAND technology. Unveiled at Micron’s 2018 Analyst and Investor Event, the Micron® 5210 ION SSD provides 33 percent more bit density than triple-level cell (TLC) NAND, addressing segments previously serviced with hard disk drives (HDDs). The introduction of new QLC-based SSDs positions Micron as a leader in providing higher capacity at lower costs to address the read-intensive yet performance-sensitive cloud storage needs of AI, big data, business intelligence, content delivery and database systems.As workloads evolve to meet the ever-increasing demands for real-time data insights and analytics, data centers increasingly need the capacity, speed, reliability and steady state performance that enterprise flash storage provides. Micron QLC NAND — reaching densities of 1 terabit with its next-generation 64-layer 3D NAND structure — is optimized to meet these demands and make SATA SSD performance and capacity more approachable than ever before.“This breakthrough QLC SSD will usher in a new generation of storage products that allows enterprise and cloud customers to experience the benefits of NAND flash across an expanding array of workloads that were previously relegated to slow, power-hungry hard drives,” said Micron Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer, Sumit Sadana. “This innovative solution is another example of Micron’s accelerating momentum in bringing high value solutions to market and creating true value for customers.”“Baidu is pleased to work closely with Micron on the latest innovations in solid-state storage, including Micron’s QLC technology,” said Mr. Liu Chao, general manager of System Technology at Baidu. “This deep technical collaboration helps Baidu to build on our leadership position as the premier AI service and cloud service provider in China, providing an exceptional user experience for our customers."Available in a 2.5-inch form factor, compared to the traditional 3.5-inch HDD, the Micron 5210 ION SSD reduces server sprawl by packing more performance into fewer racks, which allows data centers to save on expensive power and cooling costs. The 5210 ION SSD complements Micron’s existing storage portfolio, offering cloud customers greater performance and capacity options for cost-sensitive, read-dependent applications.“Enterprise datacenters are constantly challenged to deliver faster, cheaper, and higher capacity storage,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research vice president at IDC. "For read-intensive and performance sensitive workloads, QLC enterprise SATA SSDs provide an affordable way to move enterprise applications to flash and have the opportunity to increase the addressable market for flash in the enterprise."The Micron 5210 ION SSD addresses the most stringent customer requirements by delivering the full enterprise feature set of Micron’s SATA SSDs. Leveraging the proven architecture of the 5200 series SATA SSD, the 5210 ION SSD simplifies the qualification process by providing customers with a known design for their data center build-out. Customers will also be able to leverage Micron’s unique Flex Capacity™ feature to custom-configure the drive’s endurance and write performance for workloads that have a higher mix of writes but are still mostly read-intensive.The Micron 5210 ION SSD is now shipping to strategic enablement partners and customers, with broad market availability expected in the fall of 2018. To meet market needs, the Micron 5210 ION SSD will be available in a 2.5-inch (7mm) form factor in capacities ranging from 1.92TB to 7.68TB, enabling more flash capacity per 2U chassis. Micron plans to continue innovating with QLC NAND in other interfaces to expand offerings across its product portfolio and offer even greater capacities in the future.