We’re Flexing Our Quads: Introducing the World’s First QLC solid state drive.

By Eric Endebrock - 2018-05-23

Like bodybuilders tracking the size and definition of their musculature, we admit to a certain amount of vanity in announcing our new Micron® 5210 ION Solid State Drive (SSD). It’s just such a handsome addition to the Micron flash portfolio.

The industry’s first SSD built on groundbreaking quad level cell (QLC) NAND technology, the Micron 5210 ION SSD delivers major value for enterprise and nearline storage. Micron QLC NAND is optimized for read-intensive, performance-sensitive workloads where the drive density and performance outpace a hard disk drive (HDD) of any type. Much like with weight training, it feels great to have the vision become reality!

Here are just a few things we’re preening about with the new 5210 ION SSD.

It’s revolutionary technology, driving a fierce cost-performance ratio.

QLC NAND Density

As the industry’s first data center solid state drive with quad level cell (QLC) NAND technology, the Micron 5210 ION delivers unmatched economics for enterprise storage. By packing 33% more data in every cell compared to triple layer cell (TLC) NAND, the extra storage density and value of QLC SSDs will enable customers to move more enterprise applications to flash storage and enable near-instant access to read-centric data stores.

With QLC NAND, Micron is positioned to lead the industry by offering higher storage density flash and address the storage needs of workloads that require fast and reliable data access. While performance focused, read-centric workloads historically have relied on massive arrays of HDDs to deliver the results that users demand. The Micron 5210 will enable customers to do the same with fewer drives — thereby lowering performance-focused total cost of ownership (TCO).

Foundational to this revolutionary technology, the 5210 ION SSD is built on next-generation 64-layer NAND structure. Micron manufactures some of the best NAND in the industry, which we continue to improve. An example is how we architected our 3D NAND for efficiency and performance some years ago. We introduced “CMOS under the array” or CuA for short, that places the chip logic under the memory, reducing size and power requirements. Our competition does not do this. It’s a key factor in Micron having one of the most dense and efficient GBs per MM^2 available on the market today.

It’s incredibly well read.

Don’t let our quad flexing mislead you; the Micron 5210 QLC SSD has brawn and brains. It’s optimized for read-intensive and performance-sensitive workloads that have traditionally lived on hard disk drives (HDDs), shackled to the slow performance of rotating media technology developed 50 years ago.

In reality, the overwhelming majority of data only needs to be written infrequently and read and analyzed many times. This includes workloads like real-time analytics, Big Data, content delivery, read-intensive AI, machine learning, BI/DSS and large block/active archive storage. These probably represent the most common use cases in your organization’s IT. Well, the Micron 5210 SSD quickly accesses and analyzes read-centric data stores like these that fuel your business.

It serves the under-served end of the flash storage market.

The first SSD solutions for the data center were targeted for high performance, higher endurance models to satisfy mission-critical write-centric needs. To be honest, it’s easier to manufacture for performance than cost efficiency. But those write-centric, high-performance computing use cases are only a part of the market need.

We can now feel pumped about creating right-sized, cost-effective performance for read-centric workloads. Micron’s QLC SSD demonstrates innovation for more fundamental SSD offerings that provide better value and high-capacity storage for specific workloads. With the cost overhead for write-centric flash removed, the Micron QLC SSD opens up a new, more competitive area of the marketplace.

It’s accelerating the changeover point from HDD to flash.

QLC Social

Historically one of the major gating factors in moving workloads to flash (the changeover point) has been the acquisition cost of SSDs compared to HDDs. Semiconductor design keeps improving the TCO for flash when compared to HDDs. The last bastion of the hard drive industry is the slowest and least expensive offering, the 7200 RPM HDD. But now, here’s the Micron 5210 ION SSD with a 7x better TCO than a 7200 RPM HDD for the same performance. Get ready to see the Micron QLC SSD challenge those 7200 nearline HDDs.

Micron QLC 3D NAND is an affordable way to move performance-sensitive enterprise apps to flash. And to make the changeover decision even clearer, we chose a SATA interface for the Micron 5210 ION SSD.

QLC Social

Micron plans to continue innovating with QLC NAND in other interfaces, such as NVMe™, to expand offerings across our product portfolio and offer even greater capacities in the future. Delivering what we’d promised feels great! Watch us flex!

Eric Endebrock

Eric Endebrock

As Vice President of Storage Solutions Marketing for Micron Technology, Eric is responsible for positioning Micron as a world-class enterprise brand for the storage ecosystem.

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