OCZ, SanDisk Release Enterprise SSDs

OCZ on Tuesday unveiled its Deneva 2 series SSDs, including the "Commercial" series with mean time between failure of 2 million hours and the "Reliable" series with MTBF of 10 million hours as well as additional enterprise SSD features.

SanDisk on Monday expanded its Lightning enterprise flash drive family with six new 2.5-inch, 6-Gbit SAS models.

In addition to the new drives, both companies are rushing to take advantage of recent acquisitions.

While OCZ's new SSDs use SandForce controllers to add enterprise features, the company plans to start using SSD controller technology from Indilinx, a company it acquired in March, said Alex Mei, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of San Jose, Calif.-based OCZ.

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"We believe we needed our own IP (intellectual property)," Mei said. "We currently use Indilinx at the consumer level, and we plan to do more on the enterprise side. But for now most enterprise SSDs use SandForce, which is very good with compressed files and focused on performance. Indilinx provides an overall lower cost."

SanDisk's new Lightning SSD family was created with technology the company received with its May acquisition of SSD maker Pliant Technology.

A common theme in the release of the new OCZ and SanDisk SSDs, and in several other recent releases, is the ability to use SSD controller technology to take advantage of both MLC and SLC Flash memory technology to build enterprise-class SSDs.

SSDs have been traditionally divided into two primary categories depending on the technology of the Flash memory on which they are built. Some SSDs feature single-level cell (SLC) memory technology, in which one bit of data occupies one cell of the flash memory, making it optimized for performance and data reliability. Other SSDs feature multilevel cell (MLC) technology, in which four bits of data occupy one cell of the Flash memory for greater capacity.

However, new SSD controller technologies are adding increased performance and reliability characteristics to MLC-based SSDs, making them much more acceptable for use in enterprise applications and driving down the cost of enterprise-class SSD storage devices.

OCZ's new "Reliability" series of Deneva 2 SSDs, for instance, are rated for 10 million hours MTBF for MLC-based models, and even higher for SLC-based models, Mei said.

"The reliability comes from the controller and the ability to use tantalum capacitors," he said. "It's funny. Even the guys who come in thinking they need LSC end up using MLC after testing."

The Deneva 2 SSDs offer bandwidth of up to 550 MBs per second for reading data and up to 525 MBs per second for writing data, and perform about 80,000 IOPs (inputs and outputs per second).

System and storage vendors and builders can get the Deneva 2 SSDs in SLC, MLC, eMLC technologies, and can order them with capacities between 64 GBs and 512 GBs in 1.8-inch, 2.5-inch, 3.5-inch, and mSata form factors.

Mei said that certain standard SKUs of the Deneva 2 SSDs, such as a 2.5-inch, MLC-based version of the Commercial series, will be available to the channel through distributors such as Bell Microproducts and D&H.

The drives are currently available.

SanDisk, Milpitas, Calif., on Monday released SLC-based SSDs in its new Lightning family with capacities of 100 GBs, 200 GBs, and 400 GBs, as well as MLC-based SSDs in 200-GB, 400-GB, and 800-GB capacities.

The drives are available in 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch form factors, and are currently available for OEM qualifications. SanDisk also said the drives will be available to the channel in the third quarter.