Toshiba announces its first enterprise-class SSD line

New SSD line claims some of the fastest serial-attached SCSI connected drive speeds on the market today

Toshiba announced its first enterprise-class solid-state drives (SSDs), which boast data transfer rates of up to 510MBps.

While the name of the new SSD line, MKx001GRZB, doesn't roll off the tongue, the drives claim some of the fastest serial-attached SCSI (SAS) connected drive speeds on the market today.

[ A survey this week found solid-state drives are no better than others. | Are your storage requirements out of control? Then start by eliminating data redundancy. InfoWorld contributor Keith Schultz lays it all out in our Deep Dive Report on Data Deduplication. ]

The 2.5-inch form factor drives use 6Gbps. SAS connectivity and single level cell (SLC) NAND using 32-nanometer lithography technology.

The drives will be available in 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB capacities and are being marketed at manufacturers of enterprise-class storage subsystems and high-end servers as a "tier 0" of capacity.

The company said it will begin shipping samples of the new drives for equipment manufacturers to qualify with their products in the first quarter of next year. Volume production is expected to begin in the first half of 2011.

Toshiba said its new SSD line can achieve maximum random sustained read rates of 90,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) and 17,000 write IOPS. The drives have a maximum sequential sustained read rate of up to 510MBps and 230MBps for write throughput.

By comparison, last month Hitachi and Seagate announced the joint development of their own enterprise-class SSD line, the Ultrastar SSD400S family.

That family of drives includes 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB models that feature both 2.5-inch 6Gbps SAS and 3.5-inch 4Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) interfaces with full duplex.

The companies also claimed their new SSDs had a maximum sequential read rate of 535MBps and a 500MBps write rate, with up to 46,000 IOPS using the SAS interface. The drives can reach 390MBps read and 340MBps write rates using the Fibre Channel interface.

Toshiba also stated that its new SSD family has low power requirements and uses only 6.5 watts during read/write operations.

"The performance and energy benefits of SSDs can outweigh the cost difference compared to [hard disk drives], and many organizations will want to use solid state technology for applications that require extremely fast data access," said Joseph Unsworth, research director at market research firm Gartner, in a statement. "However, the total share of the enterprise market that uses SSDs will remain relatively small until at least 2013."

Unsworth also said hardware vendors that can offer both hard disk drives and SSDs as a "unified" product line that includes support and services will have the most success because of the popularity of tiered storage architectures, where data is placed on drives according to its level of criticality.

To that end, Toshiba also announced two new enterprise-class hard disk drive series: the MKx001TRKB and the MKx002TSKB line.

The 7,200-rpm drives come in 1TB and 2TB capacities in a 3.5-inch form factor and 6Gbps SAS3 and 3Gbps Serial ATA (SATA) interfaces. The drives also have from 16MB to 64MB of buffer memory.

Intended for operations that run around the clock, the two new series of drives also include onboard error correction code (ECC).

Toshiba didn't offer suggested pricing for any of its new drive lines.

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 email address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

Read more about storage in Computerworld's Storage Topic Center.

This story, "Toshiba announces its first enterprise-class SSD line" was originally published by Computerworld.

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