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Micron Puts 64-Layer 3D in Enterprise SSDs

Gary Hilson, Memory and Flash Technologies, EE Times
1/23/2018 03:00 PM EST

Gregory Wong, founder and principal analyst with Forward Insights, said Micron is one of the early entrants to bring 64-layer NAND to the data center. For them, it's a milestone, Wong said.

For the most part, however, the specs are the same for the 5200 SSD as the prior generation. But the MTTF improvement to 3 million compared with 2 million is notable, Wong said. They were able to move to a new technology, maintain the performance, and have an improved MTTF spec,he said, something data center customers will look at positively.

Wong said Micron has been a relatively small player in enterprise SSD market. In 2016, its share was less than 2 percent. The 5100 got them a lot of traction, Wong said. He said the company's share is now more than 5 percent.

In the bigger scheme of things, it's still relatively small," Wong said. "But doubling their share is quite an achievement. The 5200 is supposed to continue that momentum.

There two aspects to the enterprise SSD market the traditional OEMs and the data center. If you look at the enterprise OEMs, a lot of flash going in is replacing high performance drives,said Wong. On the data center cloud side, it's not a replacement, they're using flash for specific reasons.

Enterprise data center deployments are based on budgets, and storage is part of IT costing, Wong said, but for cloud companies such as Google and Facebook, it's about end user experience. The cloud guys can monetize it,he said.

Despite a lot of discussion that this year will see a tipping point in NVMe adoption, there's still a strong demand for SATA SSDs, said Wong, with prices even going up, thanks in part to NAND flash shortages. Even with the price increases, on the enterprise side the total cost of ownership still makes sense,he said.

And although 8TB is now the highest capacity available for SATA SSDs, the mainstream is still using one or two terabyte drives, he said. When you get to four and eight, companies are thinking of moving to NVMe, Wong said.

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