WD releases its first 12Gbps SAS SSDs

New solid-state drives aimed at supporting high-frequency trading and online transaction processing

Western Digital subsidiary HGST today announced the its first solid-state drives (SSD) that sport a 12Gbps serial-attached SCSI (SAS) interface.

The 2.5-in., enterprise-class SSD family ups the SAS interface bandwidth by 2X and boosts throughput by two-and-a-half times from the company's last generation SAS SSD.

The drives range from 200GB to 1TB in capacity.

HGST is not alone in the 12Gbps SSD space.

Last year, Toshiba announced its 2.5-in PX series SSDs, which have either a 6Gbps or 12Gbps SAS interface. Those drives come in capacities that range from 200GB to 1.6GB.

While there aren't any systems shipping that can take advantage of all of the available bandwidth today, HGST believes network interface cards and RAID controllers with native 12Gbps SAS interfaces will begin shipping this summer. Today, products ship with the 6Gbps SAS interface.

"This will play in tier zero applications where it's all about low latency and low response times. It'll probably play a lot in server and storage systems where SAS is prevalent," said Mitch Abbey, a senior enterprise product manager at HGST. "It will also play in some of the read intensive applications. One of the things this product offers is three different endurance points."

SSD vendors often measure endurance by vendors in the number of times a day an enterprise-class drive can be filled to capacity in terms of the number of data writes over a period of five years. Data is deleted from an SSD as new writes are stored.

HGST's multi-level cell (MLC) SAS SSD family includes the Ultrastar SSD800MH, which can sustain up to 25 full drive writes per day for five years, the Ultrastar SSD800MM, which can sustain 10 full drive writes per day and the Ultrastar SSD1000MR, which can sustain two full drive writes per day.

The SSDs are based on HGST's 25-nanometer lithography flash technology.

The Ultrastar 12Gbps SAS SSD family is targeted to achieve a 0.44% annual failure rate (AFR) or two million hour mean-time-between-failure (MTBF).

An industry-wide test of 12Gbps SAS was held last month at the University of New Hampshire, where 19 makers of SAS initiators, expanders and targets were tested for interoperability.

The Ultrastar SSD800MH has a maximum sequential throughput of up to 1,200MB/s for reads and 750MB/s for writes; up to 145,000 read and 100,000 sustained write I/Os per second (IOPS). Abbey said the SSD800MH is aimed at supporting high-frequency trading and online transaction processing.

The new Ultrastar SSD800MM has a sequential throughput of up to 1,200MB/s for reads and 700MB/s for writes; up to 145,000 read and 70,000 sustained write IOPS; up to 800GB capacity. The SSD800MM is aimed at supporting online gaming, big data and cloud computing applications.

The Ultrastar SSD1000MR has a sequential throughput of up to 1,200MB/s read and 700MB/s write; up to 145,000 for read and 20,000 sustained write IOPS and up to 1TB of capacity. The Ultrastar SSD1000MR is aimed at online audio/video streaming, cloud computing and other Internet applications.

HGST is currently qualifying its SSDs with system manufacturuers. Broader qualification samples are now available with channel distribution scheduled in June. HGST did not disclose pricing for the drives.

Ultrastar 12Gbps SAS self-encrypting SSD models will also be available in June.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at  @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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