An Upgraded FlashCore Module Helps Speed And Longevity
IBM’s Andy Walls participated in a Moor Insights and Strategy fireside chat recently, revealing how they have improved the performance and lifetime of QLC flash in their FlashSystem 9200 all-flash arrays. A new controller integrated with their FlashCore module is able to determine the health of individual flash cells in real time, and use that to determine which blocks will be written to as data is sent to the drive.
Their tests showed QLC cells lasting up to 16,000 write erase cycles, close to the 18,000 you can expect from TLC and significantly higher than the ~1000 cycles that QLC normally offers. That makes QLC much more attractive for use in high throughput applications as even with the reduced cost of implementing QLC, the failure rate equates to frequent replacement and possible downtime.
There is also a speed increase that comes along with the increase in usable lifetime. As the controller can monitor the health of the flash cells, they can start life as SLC. This does mean reduced storage capacity, however by introducing compression they can ensure the drive can still offer the advertised capacity. As the health of the cells decline they can be redefined as QLC and be fed uncompressed data. Even after the change to QLC, the new controller can still ensure data is fed to the healthiest and fastest cells.
If you drop by The Register you can read about the other topics the fireside chat covered, or follow the link to hear is first hand.
IBM says it has managed to coax TLC-class endurance and performance from cheaper QLC flash chips, with customers of the company's FlashSystem 9200 all-flash arrays getting the benefits.