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Enterprise Storage: 5 Fastest PCIe SSDs Available Now

Enterprise Storage: 5 Fastest PCIe SSDs Available Now

Enterprise applications for PCIe are varied, but generally reserved for workloads that require high IOPS and low latency such as video-on-demand, web accelerators, virtualization, and network appliances. Today we take a closer look at the five fastest enterprise PCIe SSDs available now.

PCI Express or Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) is a relatively new, high-speed serial bus. It is a standards-based, bidirectional, point-to-point serial interconnect that's capable of data transfers of up to 32GB/s. The current PCIe standard is PCI 3.0. PCIe-based devices, like all other forms of SSDs, have no moving parts and can support consumer-based or enterprise-class NAND flash media. You can use PCIe SSDs as storage cache or as primary storage devices.

MORE: 5 Hottest SSDs Available Now

The major features and benefits of PCIe SSDs include:

  • Scalable performance;
  • Better power management;
  • Lower latency data transfers;
  • Lower overhead;
  • Advanced Error Reporting (AER);
  • Maximized interconnect efficiency;
  • Native hot plug capability;
  • High-bandwidth, low pin count implementations;
  • Hardware I/O virtualization;
  • Software compatibility with existing PCI.

This article explores the five fastest PCIe SSDs available now for enterprises and high demand enterprise applications. All drives listed below use enterprise grade, multi-level cell NAND flash-based technology. The vendor list is in alphabetical order. 

Dell PowerEdge Express Flash NVMe PCIe SSD

Dell steps into the PCIe realm in a big way with its NVMe lineup. The NVMe SSDs deliver read I/O up to 3 GB/s and writes up to 1.4 GB/s, comes in 400 GB, 800 GB, and 1.6 TB capacities. For durability, the NVMe offers 5, 10, and 20 PB of drive life.

The NVMe drives excel on applications that are write intensive. You can use these SSDs in blade servers or standard architecture servers. Dell recommends its NVMe drives for video-on-demand systems, web accelerators, and virtualization workloads. This SSD offering from Dell only comes in the 2.5-inch form factor.

HGST s1122 PCIe Accelerator

All HGST s1122 (s1122) PCIe drives are half-height, half-length in size and features capacities at 800 GB, 1 TB, 1.6 TB, and 2 TB. This series boasts consistent performance across all capacities at 1.4 GB/s read and 1.1 GB/s write. The s1122 is also extremely reliable and durable due to its CellCare Technology that provides endurance into the 90 PB range. HGST offers an unlimited endurance option for this drive.

This disk's features make it especially attractive for those who need very high endurance, consistent speeds, and high reliability, for such workloads as virtualized environments and transactional databases.

Micron P420m PCIe SSD

The Micron P420m PCIe drive comes in 2.5-inch and in half-height, half-length format and in 350 GB, 700 GB, and 1.4 TB sizes. The 2.5-inch drive is hot swappable for easy maintenance. Micron markets these high performance drives for video-on-demand, media streaming, data warehousing, and web accelerator workloads. The P420m is also a big seller in the virtualization market.

The half-height, half-length format offers higher bandwidth speeds for your I/O critical workloads of up to 3.3 GB/s read and 630 MB/s write. The read/write latency for all P420m formats and sizes is less than 100μs and less than 15μs, respectively.

OCZ Z-Drive 4500 PCIe SSD

The OCZ 4500 series drives have a new case design for cooler and more stable operation. The 4500's I/O bandwidth numbers are impressive at up to 2.9 GB/s read and up to 2.2 GB/s write. The 4500's target workloads are HPC, VDI, media streaming, Microsoft Exchange, databases, and virtualization. The 4500 drive is designed in a full-height, half-length format supporting 800GB, 1.6TB, and 3.2TB capacities.

OCZ's Z-Drive 4500 features include a more robust, power efficient design, thermal sensing, thermal throttling, and is bootable.

SanDisk / Fusion-io PX600 PCIe SSD

SanDisk acquired Fusion-io earlier this year along with its flash-based product lines. Included in that acquisition is the PX600 PCIe SSD. Not only are the SanDisk/Fusion-io PX600 drives fast, they also have usable capacities that rival those of mechanical disks. The PX600 comes in a variety of large sizes, including 1 TB, 1.3 TB, 2.6 TB, and 5.2 TB. The PX600 PCIe boards come in the low profile format or the full-height, half-length format and use the PCI-Express 2.0 x8 bus interface.

With transfer speeds of 2.7 GB/s read, 1.5 GB/s write and read latency of 92μs and a write latency of 15μs, this drive's uses are for databases and virtualization workloads. Higher write bandwidth is possible with the high power (25W) option.

PCIe SSDs Comparison Matrix

Capacities (GB)
Read GB/sWrite GB/s
Dell PowerEdge Express NVMe     2.5"
HGST s1122
HH/HL800, 1000, 1200, 2000   1.41.1
Micron P420M
2.5" & HH/HL350, 700, 14003.30.630
OCZ Z-Drive 4500
4500 FH/HL 800, 1600, 3200 2.9 2.2
SanDisk / Fusion-io PX600
2.5" & FH/HL1000, 1300, 2600, 52002.71.5

These five drives represent the fastest PCIe SSDs available now for I/O intensive enterprise applications. If you need high speed, endurance, reliability, and large capacity SSDs to unplug the disk-based bottlenecks in your data center, PCIe drives are the answer. All drives listed in this article use enterprise-class MLC NAND flash-based technology. Differences in overall performance and deviations from reported values can be attributed to differences in operating system, controller, form factor, size, application, and operating conditions.