The 10 Coolest Flash Storage And SSD Products Of 2017

Feeding The Need For Speed, And A Whole Lot More

Remember how complicated flash storage seemed back when businesses had a choice of SLC or MLC SSDs? Unlike those simpler times, the choices today are vast, ranging from simple SSDs with SLC, MLC or TLC tech to flash drives featuring NVMe or hybrid storage/memory technologies to several new form factors of both drives and arrays.

Those choices are feeding an insatiable need for flash storage. Research firm IDC in November estimated that total sales of enterprise all-flash storage arrays reached nearly $1.6 billion during the third quarter of 2017, up 38.1 percent over the same period last year. That accounted for nearly 14 percent of the total enterprise storage systems market.

CRN is taking this opportunity to look at 10 of the coolest flash storage devices or systems of 2017, with an emphasis on the latest hardware targeting business users. Prepare to be impressed by what is available.

Get more of CRN's 2017 tech year in review.


Dell EMC, Round Rock, Texas, this year refreshed its SC family of midrange storage arrays with a couple of new all-flash models, the Dell EMC SC5020F and Dell EMC SC7020F. They a 3U form factor with dual active/active controllers, eight-core Intel Xeon processors, and multiprotocol support for 10-GB iSCSI and 16-GB or 32-GB Fibre Channel connectivity. Like all Dell EMC SC-series, the new models include all the software capabilities at no extra change.

The SC5020F features a single processor, up to 128 GB of memory, and capacity of up to 222 flash drives or 2 petabytes of memory per array. The SC7020F features two processors, up to 256 GB of memory, and capacity of up to 500 flash drives or 3 petabytes of memory per array.

E8 Leverages Intel Optane SSDs For Performance, Low Latency

E8 Storage, Santa Clara, Calif., introduced its new E8-X24 centralized NVMe appliance, which takes advantage of dual-port Intel Optane SSDs to provide high-performance storage and low latency for mission-critical applications. The E8-X24 combines Intel’s Optane high-speed, non-volatile solid-state storage and E8 Storage’s high-performance centralized NVMe solution, and is targeted at such high-performance applications as real-time, high-volume trading. It provides up to 10 million read IOPs and 40 GBps of read throughput. The company provides nondisruptive software upgrades, and all hardware parts in the array are easily replaced in the field.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise 3Par 9450

HPE in May introduced its new 3Par 9000-series, which is aimed at bridging midsize and higher-end storage requirements for customers hitting performance and scale limits. New to HPE is the 3Par StoreServ 9450, which provides all-flash performance to scalable and multitenant environments. HPE, Palo Alto, Calif., said the 3Par 9450 offers an 80 percent boost in performance over the previous 3Par midrange systems, with close to 2 million IOPs at less than 1 millisecond of latency. It scales to up to 6 petabytes of capacity.


Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM in 2017 replaced its original DS8888F with three new models, all of which are based on the IBM Power Systems server and feature 99.9999 percent availability along with FICON connectivity for mainframe environments and Fibre Channel connectivity for non-mainframe mission-critical systems. One of those, the DS8884F business-class all-flash array scales from 6.4 TB to 154 TB of flash capacity, and comes with 256 GB of DRAM cache and 32 Fibre Channel and FICON ports.

Intel Intros 'Ruler' SSD Form Factor, Updates Data Center SATA SSDs

Intel this summer introduced its "ruler" SSD form factor. Unlike standard SSDs which feature legacy 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch form factors, the ruler form factor SSDs feature a long, skinny shape the company said makes them easier to plug directly into PCIe card slots. Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., claims the new form factor will allow vendors to build 1U servers with up to a petabyte of all-flash storage capacity. The ruler SSDs use Intel 3-D NAND technology.

Micron 10-TB-plus NVMe SSDs

The new Micron 9200 SSD from Micron, which the Boise, Idaho-based memory developer called one of the first NVMe SSDs on the market with a capacity exceeding 10 TB, is built using 3-D NAND. The SSDs are available in capacity points ranging rom 1.6 TB to 11 TB, and can be ordered in traditional or hot-swappable U.2 form factors. They feature transfer speeds of up to 5.5 GBps and up to 900,000 read IOPS, and come with Micron's Flex Capacity feature that allows users to tune and retune the drive’s capacity to deliver application and workload-optimized performance.

NetApp AFF A700s

NetApp, Sunnyvale, Calif., this year unveiled the AFF A700s, which features an NVMe fabric-ready clustered architecture that runs NetApp ONTAP storage operating system. The AFF A700s scales out to up to 2,592 SSDs for a maximum raw capacity of 39.0 petabytes or, after data reduction, 155.5 petabytes. NetApp claims the AFF A700s performs at just over 2.4 million SPC-1 IOPS at an average response time of 0.69 milliseconds. It provides over 600,000 IOPS and 1 petabyte of capacity in four rack units of space. Customers can also connect the AFF A700s to public clouds including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud.

Pure Storage FlashArray//X

April saw the introduction of Pure Storage's FlashArray//X, a new all-flash array targeting high-performance web-scale applications and data analytics with the latest high-performance, high-density NVMe technology. With the FlashArray//X, Pure Storage, Mountain View, Calif., is introducing a new native NVMe controller, new in-house-designed DirectFlash NVMe flash storage modules, and a new DirectFlash software designed to manage NVMe storage. It is available with 2.2-TB, 9.1-TB or 18.3-TB DirectFlash modules that provide up to 366 TB of raw capacity or up to 1,050 TB of effective capacity.

Seagate Expands Nytro Flash Storage Portfolio

Seagate Technology, Cupertino, Calif., this year unveiled enhanced versions of two of its SSDs: the Nytro 5000 M.2 NVMe SSD and the Nytro 3000 SAS SSD. The Nytro 5000 (pictured) NVMe SSD features 2 TB of capacity with a random write performance of up to 67,000 IOPS, or double the performance of the previous version. The SAS-based Nytro 3000 SDs offer up to 15 TB of capacity with up to 2,200 MBps in sequential read performance through a 12-Gbps SAS interface.

Supermicro 1U Petabyte NVMe Storage System

Supermicro, San Jose, Calif., in 2017 unveiled a new all-flash NVMe-based storage system which utilizes a total of 32 Intel "ruler" format SSDs to support up to a half-petabyte of high-performance capacity in a 1U form factor as the new SSDs are rolled out later this year. The 1U system is expected to support a full petabyte early next year with the planned release of Intel's 32-TB ruler SSDs, the company said.