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SanDisk Announces CloudSpeed Eco Gen. II SSD For Hyperscale Applications

By - Source: SanDisk

SanDisk is launching the CloudSpeed Eco Gen. II at Computex with the specific intention of gaining market share with ODMs, CSPs (Cloud Service Providers) and hyperscale operators in the APAC region. SanDisk is working closely with several hyperscale and CSPs to address their unique requirements, and its new CloudSpeed Eco Gen. II SSD is the perfect example of this new collaboration.

Cost efficiency is the driving factor to achieve the vaunted goal of cloud economics, and to that end, SanDisk designed the CloudSpeed Eco Gen. II with lower endurance than most datacenter-class SSDs. The SanDisk Eco Gen. II is geared for read-centric workloads (90/10 read/write distribution) such as social networking environments, web servers, content repositories, data warehousing and Video on Demand (VOD) applications. These applications primarily deal with static data sets, so endurance isn't a big concern. This is reflected by the Eco's 7 percent overprovisioning, which results in an endurance rating of 0.3 DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) during the five-year warranty period, and lower cost.

This is a longer warranty period than competing client-class SSDs. The Eco Gen. II also touts a 1.5 million hour MTBF and retains datacenter-class features, such as end-to-end data protection and power loss protection. The CloudSpeed Eco Gen. II leverages the 6 Gbps SATA interface primarily because hyperscale architectures are designed to tolerate the loss of entire servers and they do not require the mission-critical features, or the cost, that SAS brings to the table.

Another key requirement is enhanced density, and the new SanDisk offering comes in large capacities of 480 GB, 960 GB and 1.92 TB of user-addressable capacity. SanDisk is employing its new 15 nm MLC NAND to lower costs, and 15 nm NAND also provides the capability to cram 2 TB of raw flash into the slim 2.5" 7 mm design.

The Eco provides up to 80,000 random read IOPS, but a mere 13,000 random write IOPS. However, the real desire for most CSPs is for predictable sequential performance, which the Eco seeks to satisfy with 530/450 MB/s of sequential read/write speed. Many hyperscale customers began using client-grade SSDs to lower CAPEX, but quickly found that they do not bring the reliable and predictable performance required to meet demanding SLAs. Client SSDs do not deliver their rated sequential read speeds in steady state, but the Eco Gen. II will provide 530 MB/s under any condition. SanDisk isn't revealing architecture specifics, such as the type of controller employed, but it does indicate that the Eco Gen. II has F.R.A.M.E. data protection, which is a hallmark of the Marvell SSD controller design.

For decades, OEMs dictated the type of equipment that was deployed into the datacenter. This led to exorbitant pricing, inefficient architectures and vendor lock-in. The rise of hyperscale operators, and their determination to build their own cost-efficient hardware, changed the dynamic entirely. CSPs have literally redefined the status quo of datacenter architecture through relentless innovation and the OCP (Open Compute Project) movement.

Now hyperscale operators and CSPs are the drivers of new innovative hardware designs, and as Big Iron continues to lose market share they are reluctantly coming along as well. Lately we have seen industry stalwarts, such as HP and EMC, climb aboard the open source bandwagon. This change in philosophy began with server and networking infrastructure, but now it is bleeding down into the component space. In fact, one of the lesser-known facts about Google is that it uses its own SSDs exclusively in its datacenters and has become one of the largest SSD manufacturers in the world. Apple also recently began deploying its own custom SSD controllers, which is an ominous sign for the major SSD vendors.

Intel also recently launched a new high-capacity SATA SSD, the DC S3510, to address this same market segment. However, it tops out at 1.6 TB of user addressable capacity, which gives SanDisk the capacity lead for now. Samsung is the wild card; we did observe some early low-endurance 6 Gbps SATA SSD prototypes at CES 2015, but it has not yet formally announced the products. Details are scarce on the new unannounced Samsung design, but we expect increased competition in the high capacity SATA SSD segment as the year wears on.

The race to the bottom on pricing is well under way, and SanDisk has already validated the drive with leading CSPs and is shipping to select customers. Wider general availability for the SanDisk CloudSpeed Eco Gen. II is slated for later this year.

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