Can an SSD blush? I haven’t noticed any change of color, but our 9100 PCIe NVMe SSDs do seem to be standing a little bit taller since the product reviews started coming out. It’s hard not to be a little proud about awards like this:
As flattering as those accolades are, their detailed comments were even more complimentary:
“The truth is that I haven’t tested any cards with similar enough performance profiles to make charts that are relevant. What good is a graph comparing the speed of various sedans with a scramjet?” Trevor Pott via The Register
“…Our testing clearly shows that the 9100 MAX is overall the best performing Enterprise SSD to ever grace our test bench.” TweakTown
“We had to bring out the big guns to challenge the 9100, but they fizzled. It is no small feat to beat competing SSDs that have the advantage of multiple FPGAs and ASICs.” Tom’s Hardware
“Micron has certainly knocked our socks off with the performance of their new 9100 MAX Series. … The 9100 MAX can handle random IO faster than [competing drive] can go in a straight line!” PC Perspective
“Simply put the Micron 9100 MAX 2.4TB is the best performing drive we have ever tested.” Myce
Common themes in the various reviews were the 9100’s exceptional random write performance and tight, low latency. To which I say, great! That’s what we were aiming for.
Random write performance is critical to having great speed in real world applications like database and OLTP, email and file serving and virtualization. Reviewer after reviewer found the 9100 MAX 2.4TB exceeded any competing drive in raw performance in these environments and workloads.
Quality of service (QoS) was a popular topic as well, with PC Perspective noting our 99.999% QoS as being 242 times lower than the competition in their random write latency test. Tom’s Hardware explained, “Turning on the jets and racing past the competition is one thing, but accomplishing the task with a strong QoS profile is another task entirely.” We love to talk about performance in terms of IOPS, but savvy technologists know the important role QoS plays in delivering data on time, every time.
So how did we do it? We unleashed NVMe. And I don’t mean, “We used NVMe,” I mean we let it off the leash.
For years, SSDs have been tethered by the constraints of interfaces that were designed for spinning disks. SSDs are a massive improvement over hard drives in just about every way, but even the advantages of flash memory aren’t enough to fully overcome the limitations of these legacy connections. Enter NVMe - which marries the huge bandwidth and low latency of PCIe with a custom protocol tailored for the massive parallelism solid state storage can provide.
NVMe has great potential, yes, but can be held back by design considerations and tradeoffs that don’t give the interface the level of parallel NAND it needs to truly excel. With the 9100 MAX, we said, “What if we gave NVMe everything it needed on the back end to really shine? What if, instead of leaving that controller thirsty, we gave it all the fat pipes to vast pools of memory it could possibly want?”
So we did. And we didn’t break the bank to do it, either. Sure, the 9100 PRO, our read-centric version of this SSD, is priced lower and a bit more modest in its aspirations. But as multiple reviewers pointed out, the 9100 MAX offers tremendous value:
“When looking at the performance it delivers, it is one beast of a SSD, that is for sure, but when looking at it in terms of pricing, that is when it gets even more enticing.” The SSD Review
“The 9100 MAX is priced significantly lower per gigabyte than any similarly configured/performing Enterprise SSD we are aware of.” TweakTown
Tom’s Hardware compared the 9100 MAX to two different multi-controller (significantly higher cost) SSDs and found that for the vast majority of workloads and use cases, the Micron drive still came out on top. As for the 9100’s peers? “The single-ASIC contenders did not stand a chance, and it is clear that crowd has a new king of the hill.”
Please. You’re making our 9100 blush.